Sunday, January 02, 2011

Resolved: Leave the Mommy Cooking Behind

Last Year's Resoultion: Get photos under control. Score: F-. Didn't do one single damn thing about any photo at all. Not even sure if I printed a single photo I took.  Instead, I continued taking photos at a rapid fire rate until March, when I got my iPhone. That has curtailed it considerably. Now I just whip it out (AHH!) and document the daily stuff on the phone. I only use the camera for REAL occasions. Which means I really didn't take too many photos this year. Unless you count the 243654 on my phone. But I don't count them. Because they are bad quality.

I am now resolving FOR LIFE to only make FUN resolutions. Seriously. Otherwise I will FAIL. FAIL FAIL FAIL at non-fun resolutions. Because, really....who wants to sort through hundreds of thousands of disorganized photos!? Who wants to figure which ones to print? And put them in albums? NOT ME.

So, I am all in favor of resolutions like, "I'm going to see more movies!" Or "I'm going to drink a different beer from a different country every week!" Or "I'm going to hire a housekeeper!" No more excercise or organizing resolutions for me!

This year: I am going to get back to fun cooking! Before we had kids I COOKED. I cooked new and interesting recipes. I watched Food Network nonstop! I LOVED it. I turned on the news, poured a glass of wine, lit a few candles and COOKED. Every night! (Okay. Not every night. Only on the nights when we weren't out enjoying a fun night out on the town--footloose and fancy free!)

Then, I had a baby. Then another. Then suddenly dinner time was that awful time of day when everyone was hanging on my legs and wailing and it was all I could do to just down a glass of wine and lock myself in the bathroom for a 2 minute breather. Cooking something fabulous was totally not a possibility.

Then, slowly, ever so slowly, I realized my repertoire of recipes had dwindled down to: tacos, pasta, smoked turkey sausage, taco soup, shepherd's pie and church basement noodle casseroles...maybe an occasional half-ass attempt at salmon or enchiladas. A couple times I year I would bust out with an old standby or a new fun recipe....but the next day it was back to frozen chicken nuggets.

"I'll never become one of these moms who just cooks stuff her kids eat! I'll never be one of those moms who makes a separate meal for my kids because they don't like the grownup food." Oh yes. You know you said it too. And you know you LIE. You totally  DO and you totally WILL.

I know how it happened. John is gone about half the week. So, on the nights he isn't home, I don't want to spend two hours cooking something awesome, only to have the kids spit it out and say "Pleh! Ew! Disgusting!" So, to avoid that, I just make mac n cheese for them and I have a salad. Or a beer. On nights John is home, I usually cook better, but over time, my list of dishes shrank. Again, I didn't want to hear "GROSS!" from the kids.

"Remember that vodka pasta you used to make?" John asked me last week. How could I forget? We LOVED it. It was one of my old standbys....haven't made it in 5 years. What about that curry chicken with almonds? That was good. Remember when I used to just look in Southern Living and just TRY a new recipe? I don't either.  How SAD. SAD SAD SAD. I am ashamed of myself.

The kids are old enough now that I can just tell them to get out of the kitchen and do something. Or, more often, they want to help me cook. I have no excuse other than I have fallen out of the habit of adventurous cooking! I am jumping back in. They can eat it. Or they can say "Disgusting!" and eat a piece of bread and an apple. Either way. I'm doing it for me.

Now. If I could just think of where to start.  


Angie said...

How funny. I didn't start cooking interesting foods until we had children. I made spaghetti once a week, and threw something on the grill the rest of the time. The rest of the time that we weren't eating out, that is. Because we ate out A LOT.

Once Ashlyn started eating regular foods, I had to plan meals, since I couldn't go the grocery store if we didn't have one ingredient or something. I honestly don't cook for my kids, because there tends to be something that they will eat. I am sure that would be different if Allen was gone as often as John is.

What got me started really enjoying cooking are food and wine magazine's quick from scratch cookbooks. Most of the meals can be made in under an hour, and they make me feel like a gourmet cook. They also got me trying more new recipes from other places as well.

I like your idea of only fun resolutions. I'll just cross off the whole exercise thing from my resolutions.

Andrea and Ben said...

2 words - Dinner Spinner App from Allrecipes on your Iphone - best invention ever!!

Then you need the Deceptively Delicious cookbooks (or a variety of them).

Dinner is the time of day I give Reid a snack and set him in front of his favorite movie - it is one thing I do not want to lose. let's hope the second kid doesn't derail me! I love menu planning, grocery list planning, etc. I am hungry just thinking about it!!

Joel and Angela said...

Joel says I have been on a cooking hiatus. I know it has been since we started homeschooling. Before homeschooling I had time to create and think about the evening meal. Now all I create are lesson plans.

I used to watch Food Network all the time and get inspired. Not so much anymore.

I have also found that if I commit to making a meal for someone or inviting someone over to eat, I cook better. So I just need to have company over more often.

Jen said...

Then suddenly dinner time was that awful time of day when everyone was hanging on my legs and wailing and it was all I could do to just down a glass of wine and lock myself in the bathroom for a 2 minute breather.


And I love that chicken curry recipe in the Hog book....mmmm, I was just thinking about it yesterday! And I hope to make it this week! And listen to the children say 'ewwww'!

Bevo said...

Good for you! Even your list of staples leaves me in the dust.

Chicken stir fry with lots of veggies, jalapenos, and peanuts on a bed of raw spinach... that's it. Good thing you have a chef father role model. (He tells me I could cook with more variety if I'd TRY!)

Laura said...

I think I'll be dating myself (how long I've been reading your blog) if I tell you how much I love the recipe for black beans and chicken that you posted a looong time ago. It's by far one of my most favorite go-to meals that never lets me down.

I don't comment often, but your posts always crack me up!

lisa said...

Ooooh, share. Vodka pasta sounds great. Now that we've gotten most of the traveling around the East coast out of our system- we need to find a time to get together! We can potluck, as long as there are no church-basement-noodle-casseroles. That made me laugh out loud. ;)

Meg said...

I never cook if it's just me and Noel's way! And every week I swear to be firmer in my "I will not cook two meals for 4 people" stance, but I always cave. Maybe it's just time to admit defeat. It was eye opening when we went to Playa this summer and watched the teens at the buffet. All of them...they never ate anything but pizza, chicken nuggets, and fries. That's all any of my babysitters eat. I can't remember if I ate like that when I was a teenager. But it almost made me wonder shy I bother trying to make healthy food such a priority when it's just a matter of time until they eat junk anyway...???