One thing I don't do very often is cook, especially when I'm flying solo. Right now my mom is picking the kids up off the bus after school. She has them do their homework and feeds them dinner, making my evenings a considerable bit easier than they would otherwise be. Even on weekends, time seems sort of jacked anymore and I just don't feel the urge to putter around in the kitchen. After catching up on chores and housework and with any luck at all getting to ride, I just don't feel like making anything. Stuff we can heat up is awesome, and if it weren't for Costco bags of frozen raviolis and jars of pasta sauce, the local pizza delivery and our favorite Asian fast food, the kids would be living on cereal and frozen waffles. When I don't have the kids I tend to keep it simple -- cereal, soup, eggs, or even better, going to my parents and eating Mom's cooking. If you are what you eat, I'm usually a can of Black Bean soup.
It might come as a surprise to most people, but I really do love to cook. I pretend to be rebellious and the not-domestic type, but actually crave a clean house, I love cooking and while I suck quite a lot at it, I like to fiddle around with home improvement projects and home decor. But like most things in my life, it boils down to priorities. I love all these things, but I love riding my horse more. I love spending time with my husband and my kids. My chosen lifestyle with its heavy load of upkeep on top of my full time job doesn't help one bit.
The last week or so, however, I got bitten by the cooking bug.
Its Deb Perelman's fault.
Listening to Deb describe her love for good, simple food and her mission to make recipes that contained ingredients that most people had in their cupboards to begin with and didn't cost a fortune to make, I was overcome with the compulsion to mend my lazy, rotten ways.
I pored through the recipes on her website for the Buttermilk Roast Chicken which she had talked about on the radio and do you know, it is just as easy and good as she says it is? All I needed to buy was a jug of buttermilk and some garlic bulbs. Everything else was stuff I already had. I wouldn't have need to buy garlic except its been so long since I actually cooked that the bulb I had was...let's just say it wasn't resurrectable. Or identifiable as garlic.
The final result, after brining my chicken thighs for a good 24 hours, was a double thumbs up.
I definitely felt encouraged and motivated to cook some more. Sunday I hit the Costco and my head was turned by a large bag of sweet potatoes. I bought it on a whim, brought it home and then hit up Google for some recipes. I found a really simple recipe on Food.com that simply called for baking them and then smooshing up butter, chili powder, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and salt. So easy, and because you can microwave them, I was actually able to make them for lunch at work with fairly little fuss.
The funny thing about cooking a meal (as opposed to heating it up) is how healthy and good about myself I feel when I do it. Its ridiculous...I could probably bake a great big cheesy lasagna from scratch and I'd somehow feel super-healthy, even more so than if I'd just had a nice, low-impact can of soup. But there you go. I think we're built to have a sense of accomplishment when we create something with our own hands as opposed to just enjoying the fruits of someone else's creativity and effort.
While I know this period of domesticity can't possibly last, I'm sort of enjoying it. I'm sure I'll get over it just in time for my husband to come home. No one has ever accused me of having my compulsions when they would be convenient.