Sunday, August 3, 2008


The weekend is almost over.
Friday night we procrastinated about dinner until I gave in and made chicken tacos. I had to give myself a pep talk in order to get the proper motivation to cut up vegetables.
I used to enjoy cooking- well I enjoyed finding and trying out new recipes, but nowadays it's somewhat painful. I'd rather not eat if I have to go into the kitchen, defrost meat or cut vegetables and concoct something edible and nutritious. I used to live on bean burritos or nachos and mashed potatoes: plain (with butter and s&p of course) or with cheese- Parmesan, Cheddar, Cream...or whatever was in the fridge at the time. The burritos were usually refried beans from a can, but occasionally I would make homemade pinto beans and mash and fry them in bacon grease. Divine. Those burritos were usually smothered with green chile, but it wasn't a requirement. Back in college I hadn't discovered nachos yet - I mean I had eaten them, but I had never made my own. I survived on spaghetti- noodles and jarred sauce, no meat- oh but don't forget the mound of parmesan cheese that truly made the meal what it was- Yum-O. So, spaghetti and the bean burritos. Every once in awhile I had Chocolate Malt-o-Meal and peanut butter toast for dinner. I made the mistake of eating the burritos right before my Self Defense class and farted up a storm while learning how to defend would be rapists on campus, so I switched to the cereal and toast. One summer, the summer I stayed in Greeley and took a class or two, I worked at Hardee's and was fond of their Ham & Cheese melt sandwich. Other than that I had dinner at Chili's once every other week or so and had a big salad, but the most made and eaten thing that summer was mashed potato burritos. The one ingredient that made it worthwhile was the cajun seasoning I stirred into the potatoes. I haven't made one for a long time - and frankly really don't have the desire to go there again, but I can recall exactly what they tasted like. I never got into the Ramen noodle meal thing and I know that what I ate was better than a lot of people I know. One guy I knew made Kraft mac & cheese with water instead of milk- he also applied for and used food stamps.
After college, I lived with my parents briefly and I was spoiled with the delicious meals my mom presented on the dinner table most every night. I also consumed heaping bowls of mashed potatoes and frozen soft pretzels covered in melted American cheese slices.
Once I was on my own, living in an apartment on 14th and Federal (thereabout) I ate massive amounts of cold cereal. I could eat bowl after bowl after bowl. It was grotesque. Another favorite was Totino's know those tiny personal sized ones that have mega amounts of fat in them and the serving size was 2 but you ate the whole thing because it was just the right size for dinner... During that time the person I was dating and I ate at Red Robin and various Mexican restaurants weekly. I must have had a vegetable at some point.
Moving in with Jill finally got me cooking, shall we say, normally. We cooked some dinners together and her meals were more well-balanced. I still made the nachos. Thursday nights we would watch Friends and then ER and eat popcorn. Friday nights she'd go to Happy Hour with co-workers while I was still at work, so by the time I got home she was ready to go to bed. I oft times would rent movies and consume wine and McDonald's by myself. Or if she hadn't gone out we would gorge ourselves on Red Lobster.
When Justin and I first lived together I insisted on getting Chinese take-away once a week- no less than twice a month for soure. Dominos was ordered a lot. Oh and let's not forget the ultimate fast food-- Chipotle. Even now, I have reduced my intake of that delectable monstrous meal. I did cook- actually used recipes from cookbooks. We grilled, and still do. I got better at the whole meal thing. I made homemade lasagna with sauce from scratch. Baked Potato Soup. I used the crockpot, but just this past year I have really realized how much I don't enjoy cooking Every Day. It has to be fast and easy- (I remember, before kids, I'd make scalloped or au gratin potatoes and would stand forever in the kitchen slicing paper thin (right!) slices)- yet in the recent past I wouldn't settle easily for soup and sandwiches. Soup and sandwiches never sounded good to me. Now, if I REALLY don't feel like cooking I will eat a sandwich or soup... Progress. But much of what I craved was that which is gourmet- new and more often than not complicated recipes-or at least a recipe calling for a 10 different specific things that I did not have in the kitchen and were expensive- ie: nothing you'd find on the table of a midwest farming community. Things like Pine Nuts, Saffron, fresh Basil, Sea Salt and some Asian fish sauce. I think out of all the things listed I only ever used Pine Nuts and the Basil.
When Justin travels I skip dinner and have popcorn. Bad...but oh so good. A few years ago I was addicted to these Ling Ling vegetable spring rolls. I'd alternate between those, popcorn and nachos. Maybe with Ava in school all day and Mallory gone 3 afternoons a week I will get more into a groove of cooking...and get unstuck from the things I am hung up on.
I also failed to get the gardening and cleaning gene.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

I used to love those Totino pizzas! lol You have really described my attitude towards cooking--hate it, don't want to do it. It's like something bad hanging over my head all day if I have nothing planned. Maybe you'll want to go with me on my next Suppers Made Simple session--I love having the frozen meals ready to go. lol