Tuesday, October 20, 2009

To Cook Or Not To Cook - Not

PhotobucketI learned a long time ago that it just doesn't do to make meal plans when the kids come home. We always end up going in different directions, or just don't want what is planned, or don't have time to cook. It took me years to let go of the feeling that I had to make sure everyone was well fed while they were here. Silly me.

So, when my daughter announced her plan to come and visit for a few days, I didn't waste a lot of time on meal planning. And, that's just fine with me, because I really don't like to cook.

Just because I don't like to cook doesn't stop me from avidly watching the Food Network. I suspect it's the same impulse that leads a person to be a Peeping Tom - that sense of satisfaction comes from feeling free to look but not touch.

Before I downsized my life I had a large collection of cookbooks full of dog-eared pages marking recipes that sounded good at the time. I used to pour over these books, and had every intention of preparing a fabulous meal, and each time, I'd run across a list of ingredients that I never keep on hand, but must have for the chosen recipe. So, I would abandon that idea and search in vain for a recipe with a shorter ingredient list that wouldn't require an expensive trip to the grocery store for a spice or an herb that I would probably only use once. Failing that, I would simply order a pizza.

Once I thought I had found my kind of cookbook. It was called "The I Hate to Cook Book", by Peg Bracken. Clearly, she had written the book for people like me. Imagine my consternation when I eagerly began to read and discovered that every one of her recipes had to be, well, cooked. Talk about false advertising! Granted, the recipes were simple and less time-consuming, and I don't know what I was expecting. But, exactly what part of "I Hate to Cook" didn't the woman understand? I had vaguely thought that the recipes in the book would all start with a phrase like, "pick up a roasted chicken from the deli at your local grocery......"

I'm a frequent customer at the deli section, under the illusion that I am eating healthy because it is "home cooking", just not cooked at my home. And, I'm not the only one who feels that way. I ran into a friend at the store one day, who had a basket full of prepared deli dishes. She told me she didn't see any reason to cook when the folks in the deli do it so much better. My sentiments exactly.

Oops! Gotta go. It's time for the Barefoot Contessa. Have you seen her pantry? The shelves are crammed full of ingredients - not a cobweb in sight. You won't catch her having to rush out in her apron to buy a last-minute ingredient at her local gourmet grocery. Maybe I'll buy one of her cookbooks. After all, on her show, when she finishes preparing a meal she always asks, "How easy was that?"

Stay tuned.


Janie B said...

I pretty much stopped cooking when my kids (and husband) flew the coop. Why bother? I really don't like cooking. It's too much work for such short appreciation. Now that I'm diabetic and one member of my family is eating gluten-free, it's even harder to come up with something. I'd eat out all the time if I could.

kenju said...

I hate to cook too. I didn't mind cooking for my son or my dad, because they were so happy to get anything and they never complained. But I'd eat out for at least 2 meals a day, if I could. I am pretty sure that if I outlive mr. kenju,I'll eat breakfast 3 times a day, 7 days a week.

Joy Des Jardins said...

Betty, I'm with you. I barely cook at all anymore. I get things at the Deli too. With just me here in this big 'ol house, I rarely make meals. I'm perfectly happy just throwing 'stuff' together for myself. I was cooked-out long ago when my kids all moved-out. Truth be told...I've never been in love with cooking. I did it because I had to with a big family. Now that it's just me....I don't.

Arkansas Patti said...

I still love to cook but you can beat a restaurant for clean up. Most of my cooking for others nowdays is for pot lucks or when my brother visits.
His highest praise is when he tells his wife in front of me,"I'd eat that again."

NitWit1 said...

I hate to cook. No recipe, despite its attestation, serves only TWO people. My husband barely acknowledges I cook, and detests leftovers. Further I don't feed scraps to my dog who is healthy than I am. That fact could be a reason to eat a few kibbles and get on with the blogging.

patty said...

the only reason i have a stove is because it came with the house! I have been cooking once a week for the son and his family, mostly crockpot things that i can take to work with me and cook during the day. i don't like cooking but collect recipes, i don't understand that

Betty said...

Janie B: Diabetes does stifle any urge to cook. Too many things you can't have.

kenju: It's strange, I don't mind cooking for some special occasion, but the daily grind doesn't appeal.

Joy Des Jardins: I cooked for the family, but not now.

Arkansas Patti: I hate the cleanup, too.

Nitwit1: It's even harder to adapt a recipe to "one person". And, I just don't like leftovers. Picky? I guess.

patty: I bought a new stove one year, and proudly pointed it out to my son-in-law. I could tell he was wondering why I bothered to buy it, since I obviously wasn't going to use it.

Darlene said...

I laughed all the way through your clever post and can certainly identify with all you said.

My idea of cooking now is popping a Lean Cuisine in the microwave.

I used to like trying new recipes that never came our looking like the picture. Other than that, cooking was a chore and I hated it.

Debra said...

I have never enjoyed cooking so I so identify with this post!

Have enjoyed visiting your blog for the first time through Grayquill's blog.

I'll be back to visit again.


betty said...

Darlene: There is a big difference between cooking for the family and cooking for the magazine. In the cookbooks, that's not real food - in the sense that it has been staged. It has, hasn't it? Nobody can turn out dishes that perfect and pretty, can they? I hope not.

Debra: Welcome, and thanks for visiting. Come back soon.

Mari Meehan said...

Ah those recipe collections! It took awhile to get rid of Mom's after she passed away, but I didn't have room to store them. I had so many of my own. I've gone through them so often, many of the newspaper clippings are brown and crackled with age.

I figure if we hadn't tried it in the past 40 years it was time to pitch them. Oh, the dust collecting on the empty shelf space! But I still have to cook. If only for two.

Deanna said...

Apron? What's that?

Actually I love to cook. Shhhhh it's our secret.

Cute post. Hope you enjoyed the visit with your daughter.

Kay Dennison said...

The best thing I make for dinner is . . . reservations!

Grayquill said...

You gotta have the shelves before the supplies. Mine are full of who knows what.

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