Cooking Sucks.

Fast, easy recipes and kitchen tips for those who hate to cook, but feel like they have to anyway.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

When You Hate to Cook

What is life like when you hate to cook? At home (where the Mom is), it was easy. You dragged your lazy ass out of bed (or more likely, the bed dragged you, as they say in Soviet Russia), wandered downstairs, rubbed your little eyes with the back of a curled fist. You gazed at the dining room table, laden with pancakes, bacon and eggs, and the occasional hand-made buttermilk biscuits. Mom, bedecked in pearls and sensible heels, poured your juice for you, cut up your eggs, and spoon fed you such down-home goodness, all while marinating that night’s steaks and soaking the supper potatoes in salt-water.

Okay, so that scene sets off the bullshit sensor, I know, but the idea is still valid. For many of us, our childhood memories are punctuated by scenes of amazing home-cookery, be it from Mom, Granny Mother, or even Uncle Joe with his barbeque obsession. Uncle Joe had other obsessions as well, but we’ll not discuss that here. Once you left home, hating to cook still might not have been so bad. As a single young adult, the lure of the local fast food joint promises convenience and thrift. Eating an evening meal that consists of cheese puffs, pickles, and Mountain Dew doesn’t bother anybody, and besides, no one will know except your dorm mate or the cat.

Things can change as the years go by, however, and before you know it, you have two kids to feed, a husband who hates McDonald’s, a bank account that can’t afford Sunday breakfast for four at the local egg-joint, or a Mother-in-law’s shadow to live under. Maybe you live in a rural area, and eating out isn’t feasible, or perhaps you simply want to impress friends, or celebrate a special occasion. These are the times that hating to cook simply sucks, my friends; when the weekly grocery store trip becomes a hateful excursion into misery, and when the sight of your beloved family picking at the dinner you just made while mumbling insincere compliments can become heartbreaking.

When you hate to cook, you tend to stand in awe of the people who simply love it, like those persons listed above. How in flaming hell did Mom manage to keep the hash browns warm while she made the eggs? How did she manage to serve pancakes to 4 people, but none of them had to wait while the others got started? How did Uncle Joe know how hot his charcoal grill was without a thermometer? How did he manage to juggle hot dogs, sirloin strips and hamburgers all at once, and not burn any of it?

When you hate to cook, but feel as if you have to, you need to plan ahead, and plan around the swift, efficient use of the kitchen. Let’s face it – you simply are not hardwired to remember that basil goes great with tomatoes, or that rosemary is good for chicken. If that’s the case, why waste time planning for a magnificent seven course meal, or waste valuable cabinet space storing three complete sets of cookware (face it hon, if you burn water in an aluminum saucepan, you’ll still burn it in your brand new Visions cookware). Play to your strengths, admit your weaknesses, and plan to the future.

In future updates, I’ll help you:

• Stock your kitchen with only what you need
• Create strategies for Combat Shopping
• Stock your pantry for easy meals and emergencies both
• Develop a personal cookbook that doesn’t waste your time or riddle you with guilt (unless you’re Catholic – then the guilt is here to stay. Sorry about that)
• Master several handy techniques that will cut time and bolster your meager abilities in the kitchen

In addition, I’ll be on the hunt for quick and easy recipes – 15 minutes of prep time and 5 ingredients or less of both – so that you won’t have to look for them yourself. In between, and here and there, I’ll likely tend to rant and rave about various things that have me excited or pissed off at any given time, and may even wander way off topic once in a while.

Please feel free to comment on any entry – ask questions, suggest changes, or make requests. I won’t necessarily be here every day, but I will be here.

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