What’s Cookin’?

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I’ve never liked the day-to-day drudgery of cooking. I worked full-time, all the time, when my kids were small, brought home the bacon and cooked it too. I know, I know – kids need fresh, nutritious food. But sometimes it’s just easier to bung some chicken nuggets in the oven. My kids were picky eaters, too, particularly my older lad. Rather than make mealtimes a battle, I’d often just throw up my hands and give him things I knew he would eat. If I didn’t, there was a pretty good chance he wouldn’t eat anything at all. Eat something v. eat nothing. That’s where I was with him. He was (and is) every bit as stubborn as his mum.

So, I got fed up with cooking for a while. It became a chore, like taking out the garbage and doing the laundry. I was commuting daily for several years, and ate fast food in my car a lot. Often by the time I got in the door after a long day at work, and did the two-different-daycares dance, I was completely done in.

Also, what do you do on a date with someone with whom you are alarmed to find you have less and less in common? You go out for dinner. Everybody eats, right?

Food is a comfort, as well, and for me, overeating went hand-in-hand with periods of depression. Chocolate is always satisfying, chips never let you down.

I wasn’t brought up to appreciate and enjoy cooking, either. My mother also worked full time, with three kids instead of two, and (bless you Mum, I miss you) really wasn’t a super cook either. My only dalliance with cooking as a child was begging for an Easybake Oven, which I never got. Mum said if I wanted to cook, she’d show me. I just wasn’t that interested. In fairness, my mother did teach me to sew, knit, crochet, embroider and, oh yeah – READ; all skills which I enjoy to this day.

So, between quitting smoking, being overworked, commuting and watching my perfect fairytale romance fall apart at the seams – I gained a lot of weight. Like, eighty pounds.

The only time I enjoyed cooking was on holiday in Whistler. When my partner went skiing, I’d run over to the market, see what looked fresh and nice, and plan a meal around it. I had plenty of leisure time to dice, and chop and prepare. By the time he got back to the townhouse, he was usually ravenously hungry, so he really appreciated a good meal.

I’m on holiday this week, so I’ve got lots of time. Also, I love the internet. I can just type in “chicken lentils spinach” and come up with a great recipe, already tested and critiqued. It makes it so much easier. Rather than saying “what the hell am I going to make for dinner?”, I can just type in a couple of main ingredients that I have on hand and come up with something awesome.

So, I’ve found out that I don’t really hate cooking. I quite like cooking. With my new commitment to clean eating, my produce drawer is always full. I often joke that I’m a lousy cook, but really, given time, ingredients and a newfound interest in good food, my cooking is quite passable.

Just don’t let anyone know you’re good at something, or they’ll expect you to do it all time.

And I still like going OUT for dinner.

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