I have come to terms with the fact that we will probably always be the people who set fires in the driveway. We have burned boxes, old wood and the flammable remains of an old RV (yes we are those people). That last one was an accident, but all of those incidents led to a bonfire on the gravel at one point or another.
Recently I ate at a franchise chain restaurant which was absolutely delicious, and — due to my sensitivity to food additives like MSG — absolutely poisoned me. On that note, it’s probably best if I just stay home and learn to put those random driveway fires to good use.
With the exception of some amazing privately-owned restaurants that truly make their own wholesome dishes, I need to return to cooking more of my own food. I used to be an adequate to downright good cook. When you have a family to feed, is there really any other option? I’m always amazed when someone claims they can’t cook.
Really? You can’t figure out how to cook up some meat in a pan, pop in a roast, make a baked potato? Look, we all know it’s not rocket science. My family tends to request my chili, chicken pot pie and pierogies and sausage, among other dishes. I am “famous” among extended family for a specific orange cream gelatin “salad.” It’s a Midwestern thing.
I absolutely can cook from scratch, and my love of leftovers is legendary. These days I have found that since I am reverting back to “cooking for two,” I’ve tried to pass off some truly terrible concoctions as dinner. Too often I sprinkle my endless rotation of “fix it and forget it” meat and potatoes with such culinary delights as cereal and salads. I needed to revisit some of our old family favorites.
This week I managed to make tacos for the first time in years. That used to be a staple of our dinner rotation. This time around, I forgot we were out of sour cream, and I couldn’t find the hot sauce at all. I actually misplaced an entire bottle of hot sauce. Our kitchen is not that big. We also had beans but alas, no rice.
I may have simply lost the will to cook. I am starting to understand why my mother steadfastly adhered to her two great meals of chili and green pepper steak, respectively. She memorized the takeout menus and daily specials of a variety of eateries for off days. Cooking for two is tedious.
She also has famously said, “I made a pie … once.” I was too young to recall that auspicious occasion, but I am told it exploded. Or maybe that was her baked potatoes? In any case, I do not come from a “just like mom used to make” home. Grandma? Yes. Mom? Not so much.
Now retired, she is an amazing cook! She regularly shares with me her menu plans of glazed meats, roasted sides and sautees. It’s impressive. After all this time her secret is out. It wasn’t that she couldn’t cook — she simply chose not to.
I feel like for years we had a steady rotation of tacos, pasta, roasts, chicken pot pie, chicken and dumplings, sausage and pierogies, stir fry and so on. Keeping tradition alive, I dutifully typed up and passed down a binder full of family recipes as Christmas gifts to the “kids” this year.
I don’t know if I believe they are really going to use it, or if I just wanted it on record that I used to cook these things. I even provided photos as evidence. “Here you are with some cookies I made in 2008.”
It’s odd to me that someone who clearly likes to eat as much as I do is not more inspired to cook. It’s just so … endless. I like to cook every once in a while when the urge strikes. Unfortunately, the urge to eat strikes far more than the urge to prepare meals does for me.
GirlWonder and her FabFiance recently received the gift of a Blackstone Griddle. I cannot tell you how exciting it is to have a plethora of items such as this given to a couple who reside in an apartment the size of a placemat. Their place is adorable. What it isn’t is spacious. The “big stuff” is at our place.
The first week, they came home to whip up homemade Philly cheesesteaks on the grill. The day after they brought all the breakfast fixings. We enjoyed pancakes, sausage and eggs. I deeply enjoyed not having to plan or prepare a single bit of it. This is bliss. I don’t know how affordable a live-in chef might be, but that’s definitely added to my shopping list.
STAY INFORMED. SIGN UP!
Up-to-date agriculture news in your inbox!