To Cook or not to Cook
How many dinners have you made in your lifetime? Any idea? Do you care? I have become slightly fixated with the knowledge that I’ve prepared over 14,000 dinners to date. I reached this figure by multiplying the # of my adult years, fifty since I started making dinners) multiplied by three hundred and sixty five days per year to come up with 18,250.
To be fair, I deducted a goodly measure of dinners when I was not making dinner, i.e. vacations, dinners eaten out, take out dinners brought home, dinners prepared by someone else in the household (rare), and bouts of flu, illness, or broken bones; any of those that prohibited me from cooking. I was generous in my subtractions, focusing on dinners only, not breakfasts, brunches, or lunches. That’s how I ended up with roughly 14,000 dinners.
The purpose of this gastronomically focused, mathematical meandering, you ask?
I’m tired of making dinner. Enough already! I still produce epicurean delights, like my specialty lamb burgers with eggplant and roasted red peppers, provolone cheese, topped with barbecue sauce; shrimp tacos and spiced up refried beans, homemade sauce from tomatoes from the garden, and chicken, chicken, chicken, in multiple configurations and ethnicities. But there are more of the throw together dinners, when pasta and anything thrown on it or in it, will do.
Am I the only desultory cook? I hear this complaint from other women. Where’s the joy? The satisfaction? That ah ha feeling a cook gets when a satisfied family member empties their mouth long enough to say “Damn, that’s good.” Now, even if it’s uttered, there’s no guarantee I’ll make the same meal again, especially if it took two hours out of my life.
An exchange with a friend over coffee last week cemented the idea that I must share this growing aversion to making meals, with you, my blogger friends. Dee Dee visited her daughter over the weekend and came home Monday evening; she didn’t have enough time to put a few meals together for her work week, which she likes to do. This is what she did: in a large pot she plunked down a pound of ground turkey, packed in a pound of fresh, loose spinach, poured in a quart of chicken broth, and cooked it all down. Voila! Enough for a few meals she said victoriously. “And it was very tasty!” she said, as my face registered some doubts.
Another friend says she eats a big lunch during her workday and goes home and eats ice cream as her dinner. Overheard in the frozen foods’ aisle last month “Who cooks anymore?”
Sometimes I enjoy the clack and clatter of the pans, the slicing, dicing, and mincing of fresh vegetables, the aroma of garlic sautéing in the large cast iron pan, the melding of flavors and scents that make a kitchen a kitchen.
Is it the repetitive habit of ‘time to make dinner’ that gets my goat? (This expression comes from a tradition in horse racing. Thought to have a calming effect on high-strung thoroughbreds, a goat was placed in the horse's stall on the night before the race. Unscrupulous opponents would then steal the goat to upset the horse and cause it to lose the race.)
Maybe so. But I feel a bit better having ranted a little about it. Thanks for listening.