Everyone who knows me knows that I am no cook. I freely admit it. I don’t think that I am bad at cooking when I do cook (umm, until tonight), but I just don’t like to do it. I don’t like to chop things, I don’t like it that it seems like you have to be doing ten things at once at the end and everything gets all crazy, and I especially don’t like to clean up the kitchen. And the bottom line for me is that I would prefer to eat cereal for breakfast, a sandwich or salad for lunch, and maybe a piece of fruit for dinner (probably followed by ice cream after the kids are in bed). However. My kids need to eat dinner, and Hunky is also a dinner fan, I want to eat and feed my kids healthy food. As not processed as possible. And since I don’t have a Publix here, where there are all types of food made there that you can go home and stick in your oven and voila! – you have crabmeat stuffed salmon (oh Publix, I miss you so), this means I need to cook. I was pretty much off the hook all summer thanks to my mom, who is a really good cook, and actually enjoys going on to the Food Network or Rachel Ray or whatever website to look for recipies that look good. I know – I can’t believe I’m her daughter either. Anyway, its my kitchen again, and I really am making an effort. When Carolyn and Ted were here (still waiting for Hunky to do that update), Carolyn gave me some easy tips, and I’ve been hitting up my friends here (who all seem to enjoy cooking – weirdos) for simple recipies. Which brings us to tonight. Last week a friend told me that she fixes butternut squash and sweet potatoes for her family all the time – and that its really easy. Just cut the squash in half, peel and quarter the potatoes, and bake em for about a half hour. So I do this – except I cook the whole shebang for about 50 minutes, since that is what my Betty Crocker cookbook says (yes, I own lots of cookbooks…and yes, they are in pretty much pristine condition). Well, it all turned out, shall I say, REALLY GROSS. 50 minutes wasn’t enough to get the potatoes cooked, and the squash wasn’t totally done either, and I gave the kids sugar/cinnamon mixture to dip the pieces of potato in and STILL they wouldn’t eat it, and I can’t blame them, because it was NASTY. And I like sweet potatoes and butternut squash. To add to our dining pleasure, I had tried to saute some asperagus (if thats what it means when you put some olive oil in a skillet and then add the asperagus and cook it). Aside from the thousands of tiny oil burns I acquired, this was also not tasty, although I really blame that on the asperagus itself, which was purchased from the commissary, and WHEN WILL I EVER LEARN? The Free Rice definition of commissary should not be “grocery store” so much as “the place from which bad produce is bought”. So the kids ate about nothing for dinner, and the only saving grace is that Hunky is flying tonight and was therefore not present to witness the disaster.
What to do, blogland? This is the first really bad meal that I’ve made from scratch, and I feel like such a failure. Why is it that something that women have been doing for thousands of years for their families comes so hard (and feels like such drudgery) to me? I need help – how do you figure out something different to make all the time? If it were up to me, I’d serve up baked fish (about any warm-water fish will do, and Carolyn taught me how to fix it) with a steamed veggie, and some sort of starch (baked potato, rice, etc) every night, but my kids and husband seem to like variety for some reason. I need an aresenal of pretty easy things that I can make that involve a minimum of crazyness to make it all come together at the end. Oh yeah, and raw meat kinda makes me want to hurl – especially chicken, but I can handle steak and pork and even hamburger meat – just not browning hamburger meat. Poultry bothers me – I know too much about chickens while they’re alive, I think. So can ya’ll help a sista out? My family begs you.
Before we move on to more pleasant topics, let me add that recently I’ve been kinda doubting myself not so much as a mom as a housewife. I don’t like to cook, I really really really miss having a cleaning service like we did in Florida…I just don’t like doing chores. I like playing with the boys, I like staying in my pjs half the day sometimes, I like to meet up with my friends in the middle of a weekday, I like to kick back and watch tv or check email during naptime. Its just weird, ’cause sometimes I feel like I have the hardest job in the world, being a mother of toddlers/preschoolers with a husband who’s gone half the time… and other times I feel really guilty because I’m not using the degree it took me 8 years of higher education to get, I don’t like to cook or clean, and I get to hang out with my friends alot. I don’t know – I’ve been contemplating the idea of going back to work 1 day a week to earn enough money to pay for a maid, but I kindof like not working outside the home. I’m used to it. I’m so used to it that sometimes I imagine I’ll never work as a vet again. And I have mixed feelings about that. Anyway, lets move on, shall we?
***Edited to add: this post was waaaay too long, so I’ve split it into 2. So to move on you have to go to the next post