Dinner for the Babysitter

When we first started to go out and use our current babysitter, I began making dinner for her and the girls before we left.  My initial intention in making her dinner was to keep her focused on the kids instead of the stove and/or oven and run the risk of forgetting to turn either off.  Now that I know her well, I know she could handle making a meal, but I’ve set a precedent which I would feel awkward about de-escalting.   And, if I’m being honest, I also started to make dinner for her because I wanted her to like us and I thought I was putting political capital with the babysitter in the bank.  In the event of a double-booking, I assumed she would choose to take the job with us, the family who takes care of dinner before her arrival.  I say that without knowing what the standard rules of engagement are with babysitters and dinner; does everyone make dinner before leaving?

But, making dinner for an 18-year old girl whose diet you know little about does have some challenges.  She says she eats everything, thank God.  If she were a vegetarian or a vegan, I think I would just make tabouli every time she came over, which would get boring for everyone.  Since I don’t know a lot about what she eats at home, I’ve been sticking to pretty basic rotation.  I’ve made her a roast chicken with potatoes, ham and cheese in puff pastry with dijon (which is really just a ham and cheese sandwich) and pasta.  Last night, I made Cook’s Illustrated’s Spagetti with Meatballs from “The New Best Recipe Cookbook”.  I love Cook’s Illustrated and this recipe in particular, but I do make some tweaks.  Once, when I was out of parsley, I added a half teaspoon of Herbs de Provence and like it so much I always do that know instead of the parsley.  And I bake the meatballs instead of pan frying them before adding them to the sauce.  Pan frying them always made such a mess and several of the meatballs would break apart in the pan frying process.

There’s another benefit to making dinner for the babysitter.  After an obligatory work outing with standard banquet food, there’s nothing better than coming home and  making a drink, taking your uncomfortable shoes off and standing in your kitchen eating a meatball in a cocktail dress.


  1. […] no strangers to meatballs, as seen here and here, but I’ve been struggling to find a meatball dinner that doesn’t need pasta or polenta […]

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