two slices of toasted bread, one with a sad face one with a happy face

When You Don’t Like to Cook

The recipe challenge has taught me a lesson. I really don’t like to cook. Being in the kitchen is fun when there is ice cream or I am putting together a plate of cheese, crackers, hummus and veggies. But the rest of the time? Not so much.

I have been cooking and cleaning up the kitchen by myself since I was eleven years old. My mom started working swing shift and I took over cooking dinner 3 nights a week. My sister was a worse cook than me so she was no help. Why didn’t my dad cook? It was the 80’s and we lived in a small town. Men only cooked outdoors over an open flame. I will soon be 46. I have been cooking for…hang on, mathing…35 years. If I was going to fall in love with cooking, I think it would have happened  by now.

Anyone following the recipe challenge knows I have not fallen in love with cooking. I have made some yummy stuff. I have a chocolate cake to make for this week (it’s for Julia Child’s birthday) and I have been putting it off for a week. You would be hard pressed to find another human who loves chocolate cake more than me. But I am not getting in there to make it. Well, my sink is full of dirty dishes but that isn’t the real issue. Being in the kitchen doesn’t bring me joy.

Eating brings me joy. I even smell my food before I eat it. I had no idea I did this until my cousin pointed it out a few years ago. Turns out I won’t eat food that smells weird. Stinky cheese, sauerkraut, kimchi, nope, nope, nope. I can’t get it past my nose and into my mouth. Older son says I eat like a child. Only if kids drink bourbon and eat a lot of hummus.

I like simple food that involves either no cooking or very little cooking. Veggies and hummus. Sandwiches. Soup. Salad. Mac and cheese. I do eat like a child. Why is older son always right? Infuriating.

So what to do? I know! I’m going to stop berating myself for not cooking! Every time I have a thought that sounds something like, “Such and such (enter famous food person name here) says making waffles is easier and cheaper than buying them in the box, I should make my own waffles,” I am going to slap myself in the face. Okay, maybe not that extreme. Maybe I’ll put a rubberband on my wrist and give it a good snap. I don’t want to make my own waffles. I’ve done it. It takes forever and I don’t think it’s cheaper than the buck 99 I shell out at Trader Joe’s for a box of 8. And even if it is, I just can’t care about this anymore. I am middle aged. I have about 40 good years left. Am I going to spend them berating myself over waffles? Or anything else I pick up in the frozen food section at Trader Joe’s? I don’t like making my own pizza or french fries or ice cream. It’s not a moral failing. I need to stop acting like it is.

Maybe you love to cook. I envy you. Obviously I wish I did. Even though I have the time and money and facilities to cook, I don’t. Facts are facts. Time to stop trying to make myself into someone I’m not.

And anyway, I’m not a millennial, this isn’t even my fight. Those poor youngsters might not even know how to turn off social media and the images they see of beautifully prepared lemon tarts and the guilt and shame that might come with them. I don’t even look at Pinterest anymore. Too stressful. So where does this leave us?

I will continue with the recipe challenge until the end of the year and then reassess. I had a really stupid idea to try cooking all vegetarian meals since I am not so great with veggies. But if I can’t motivate to make a cake what are the odds I am going to get in the kitchen to make broccoli gratin?

If you said slim to none you would be right.

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