My relationship with cooking is a lot like that one where your sweet friend always lets that good-for-nothing guy back into her life after he’s failed her countless times. The guy who is hot and cold, who is a good guy SOME of the time but then disappears if something better/easier/whatever comes along. And it keeps happening over and over again, but your friend just keeps letting him back into her life with open arms, no judgment, and total acceptance. Don’t you just want to slap some sense into that girl???
I am so the lame guy in this scenario … and cooking is the sweet girl who should know better.
Cooking: “You seem like you’re into me, but then you just disappear. What gives?”
Me: “I like you so much. And when I spend quality time with you, I just feel better. You make me better.”
Cooking: “So what’s the problem? Why can’t you just commit to me already?”
Me: “I don’t know! In my mind I know that you are the real deal and you are the best thing for me. But then I get distracted by my other options and lose sight of what’s important. I lose sight of you.”
Cooking: <Silence> “I’ll wait for you to come back to me. I’ll always be here for you.”
I don’t understand why some days I am totally fine with cooking, and some days it seems equivalent to a trip to the post office. (Doesn’t everyone put off going to the post office???) Just the idea of locating the ingredients, preparing the food, and doing the dishes makes me want to dive head first into the freezer for something I can microwave and eat out of the container. But honestly, it’s such a mind game. We are literally talking about a difference of about 10 or 15 minutes, for heaven’s sake! And I have a husband who is more than willing to do dishes. Good grief. What is wrong with me???
I have friends who love to spend time in the kitchen and find it to be therapeutic. It’s how they unwind, recharge and locate their sanity after dealing with daily life. This is not me. I find all of those things when I am wearing my pajamas and reading a book … with no human interaction whatsoever. But I still want to provide real, nourishing food for myself and my family because we need those nutrients for our bodies to function properly. I mean, I’m up to my eyeballs in books and tests as I work toward my nutritional therapy certification! I’m pretty sure microwaving a frozen dinner or making PB&J sandwiches aren’t part of the curriculum. What I have found is that I must have a list of fast and easy recipes that I can reach for at those times that I am being completely irrational about food preparation. We call them “regular rotation meals” in our house, and they are total life savers. They are simple and quick for those days when I drag my body into the kitchen with the posture of a whiny toddler, muttering to myself “I don’t wannaaaaaa make food for you people … AGAIN.”
The other key thing is keeping my kitchen stocked at all times with organic meats, dairy, veggies and fruit. It all must literally be at my finger tips, in front of my face, and all that fresh stuff taunts me. And I certainly don’t want to have to throw away perfectly good (and expensive!) food because I was lazy. What a guilt trip, right? I envision throwing dollar bills in the trash when an avocado has gone bad. Please tell me you guys struggle with this, too.
I go through spurts where I am motivated to try new recipes. I can literally feel excitement coursing through my body as I scour the web for recipes that are paleo, Whole30, clean, etc … and I embrace the temporary high and cook new stuff until it wears off. And then I look each member of my family in the eye and ask his opinion. If the answer is, “I would totally eat this again” or “this needs to be in the rotation”, we have a winner! Answers like, “it’s pretty good” or “I think I like it” mean I’m ditching it. There are a gazillion recipes out there, so I’m not wasting my time preparing food that won’t result in empty plates.
So that’s how our list of regular rotation meals came about. Some get more action than others, but they definitely make appearances on our table often. The list is always growing, so please check the site for new additions. And please please please share your own favorites as well! I will totally take advantage of them the next time I feel that burst of cooking motivation.
But I’m not gonna lie. Every once in a while I daydream about my single days when I ate cereal for dinner and was completely ignorant about the importance of real food. Just a bowl full of sugar with skim milk. Gosh, those were good days. Stupid days because I was wrecking my body, but blissful in an ignorant kind of way.
Here’s to being a grown up and learning how to be faithful … to cooking 🙂