Ever have something you’re expected to do, but never like? As a wife of 35 years, I’ve resigned myself to bed making, vacuuming and dusting. I get almost Zen-like about folding laundry and emptying wastebaskets. But cooking? It pushes me to my limit for these 5 reasons…
Cooking comes at my tired time of day. This was especially true when my kids were little. I always had visions of Martha Stewart-inspired meals with homemade chicken potpies and raspberries soufflés. Instead my family ate turkey burgers and ravioli. What can I say? I was exhausted from chasing tots all day.
Even now years later when dinnertime rolls around, I’m ready to put my feet up and relax. I love food. I love a good meal. I just don’t want to be the one making it.
Cooking involves going to stores and buying things. I always have romantic visions of a French farmer’s market. Homemade breads, cheeses, olives and fruit spill onto a wooden table manned by a handsome guy in a beret.
The reality? I’m pushing my steel cart through cavernous supermarkets looking for… fish sauce? Coconut oil? Flax seeds? If I wanted a scavenger hunt, I would’ve signed up for summer camp. Get me out of here.
Cooking is messy. First, there’s the pre-cleaning to get the kitchen habitable. Then there’s the prep with its piles of chopped onions, tomatoes, and celery that get everywhere.
Then, God help me, there’s the aftermath. Pots and pans need scrubbing. Burners need scouring. Countertops need wiping. The floor needs sweeping. Is it just me? I make a simple meal and my kitchen looks like the morning after a frat party.
Cooking means I have to eat more. I know this sounds like a weird problem, but sometimes I just want cookies for dinner. Is that so strange? Needless to say, this doesn’t go well with my husband and grown sons. What is it about males that need actual food at mealtime? I know women who can survive on Greek yogurt for days.
Left to my own devices, God knows what I’d live on – cheese, grapes, crackers, chocolate, pretzels, ice cream… anything that doesn’t involve turning on a burner.
Cooking produces guilt. Crazy as it seems, after all this kvetching, I’m not a bad cook. When my back is to the wall I can actually produce a decent dinner. Okay, I’m not the Barefoot Contessa and I’m as far from gourmet as one can get, but I can throw supper together.
My family seems so grateful when I actually stand behind the stove, I feel bad. We’ve done take-out the past four nights. These people probably don’t remember what home meals taste like.
But I found an ingenious solution…
I raised a son who goes to culinary school!
Yup, my diabolical scheme 22 years in the making worked. My youngest Paul loves to cook. And I think it finally dawned on him, if he’s going to get a decent meal in this joint he better do it himself.
Now (get ready for this), I can say to Paul: “Honey, can you make Chicken Florentine tonight?” He’ll shrug and say, “Sure.”
He goes to the store (happily!) and buys the ingredients. He comes home, puts on classical music and (happily again!) starts prepping. He chops onions. He pounds the chicken breasts and sprinkles salt on them.
He sautés garlic and spinach. The house smells heavenly. I come into the kitchen, thrilled. There’s food being made and I’m not making it!
But wait, there’s more. And this is the part where I want to drop to my knees and thank the universe. Paul cleans up after himself…every bit.
Yes, my son takes ownership and pride in our kitchen I never could. My son is the cooking mother I never was. Within a year, he’s surpassed my decades of mediocre meal preparation like I was standing still.
And yes, I know I should enjoy this gift while I have it. Paul’s adorable, smart, and likes to cook. Young women aren’t stupid. Someday he’ll be gone.
But for now, take that Martha Stewart. Maybe I never cooked homemade chicken pot pies like you, but through some ridiculous, undeserved miracle, I did something even better.
I raised a chef.
Does anyone else have a problem with cooking? I’d love to hear your thoughts… and solutions. If you like this piece, please consider pressing one of the magic buttons below. If you’d like to receive posts by email, just press this button. Thanks for reading!