Archive for the ‘Love to eat, hate to cook’ Category

This Cooking Thing, It Could Become a Habit

Friday, 15th July 2011. Filed in Family and friends, Love to eat, hate to cook1 Comment »

My mom has always said she started cooking when she had kids. Whereas I haven’t eaten crap for my whole life, I can see where she was coming from. The burrito, pasta, some sort of chicken dish rotation doesn’t quite cut it once you are cooking for a little one.

I mean, it does. There are always vegetables involved and it’s all at least semi-balanced. But, I’ve come to feel like we need more variety to make sure we are eating right, and enjoying it. When the Noodle began to eat solids last year, I firmly decided I would make all* of his food. Part of this was determination not to be lazy – I am his mother, I should be able to prepare meals for him (since I wasn’t also going to a job for 8 hours or more a day). Part of it was just the idea that the less processing there is, the better. But, I think a main driver was the transition between him eating through me and him eating independently of me. I had nourished him for 41+ weeks inside me, and then nourished him with milk from my body for another 25 weeks. I didn’t stop breastfeeding completely until Noodle was 9 months old, but it felt like that was the “cord cutting” for us, that was when he became separate from me.

The weaning was hard at first. But then I realized that I could still be that food making factory of nourishment, I just had to approach it from a different angle. And not only could I, it had to be me. My 1-year old was not going to stand in the kitchen and say, “Burritos again? Mommy, you are not feeding me right.”

We found a bargain cookbook at WH Smith’s one day, and I have to say, I think it is the best cookbook ever. We don’t have any another where I have made so many recipes. My mom is coming next week, and I don’t think she is going to know what hit her. Chicken and artichoke pie, mango chicken and quinoa salad, Mediterranean chicken. I’m on a roll. I’m even making additions, improving on the recipes. (Like, come on, if you are going to make sesame beef with pak choi and spring onions, how hard is it to throw in carrots, mushrooms and red chillies – yes, I feed my toddler food spiced with garlic and chillies. He likes it.)

I made lasagne this week. As I was stirring the bolognese sauce, I realized, “in my whole life, I don’t think I have ever made lasagne.” I’ve eaten it plenty of times, and had it lovingly made for me, but I cannot picture myself in any of my kitchens layering out the pasta and baking up the dish. It wasn’t bad. Not great. It needed way more cheese, and dare I say more bechamel sauce on the top layer (I’m not a big fan), but that can be accomplished next time.

I’m so proud of myself. This “best bagel toaster in the world” is moving up. But, to be fair to myself, I’ve never been a bad cook. Even Crunchy husband jumped to my defence the other weekend when one of our friends, when trying to understand the situation, started to say I wasn’t good. I can cook. I just don’t like to. It bores me. I can think of so many other ways I’d love to spend my time. But, it has to be done. So, I guess it has to be done right.

*There were always food pouches and baby food jars in our kitchen for times when we were traveling over night, or just in case, but for the most part, I did it.

Tuesday: Run – 30.14
Friday: Run – 30.28

Seal of approval - a happy boy after his lasagne

Still in comfort food mode

Sunday, 20th January 2008. Filed in Love to eat, hate to cook2 Comments »

I’m dreaming of steak and stilton pie. Last week I found broccoli and stilton soup at Waitrose. It was the most divine thing I had tasted in a long time. The lady gave me a sour look when she spotted my Tesco natural bag, which I thought was funny because I was thinking “hey lady, you should just be happy I’m shopping in your expensive store today rather than at Tesco.” But, enduring the look was worth it. The soup was awesome. I felt like I just melted right into it. It was so rich, creamy and warming. It had me fully intentioned to learn how to make it myself. Until Moose, who actually likes to cook, warned me about the intricacies of soup making and then I got bored with the idea, really fast.

This morning we went for a short run around the village where Crunchy husband grew up. This, of course, gave him the opportunity to relay all the usual stories he’s told me a hundred times before. After that, I feel fully deserving and ready for my steak and stilton pie. Yum!

Garlic and string cheese

Monday, 14th January 2008. Filed in Love to eat, hate to cook1 Comment »

“Ooh, don’t tell my dad there’s garlic in it or he won’t touch it.” Last week, I found myself in my mother-in-law’s kitchen cooking for four. I didn’t really know what to cook. I knew what I wanted and I knew what I’d cook for Crunchy husband and I, but I was apprehensive about how it would go down. I knew whatever I did wouldn’t be right, but I hoped it would do.

It was a bit strange, sad. I’d cooked there before, but she’d always been there.

I decided to take a gamble and go for the spinach and field mushroom pasta with pine nuts. The traditional meat and potatoes, the usual in their household, just didn’t sound good. After ready meals and pub food, my body felt lethargic and weighted. The convenient comfort foods weren’t comforting anymore. It wanted something light, something nutritious, and something, well something that would include garlic.

After Crunchy husband’s reminder, I offered to leave the garlic out. But he smiled and said, “no leave it in. It’s good for him. And it would make my mom laugh.” So for the rest of the week, I surreptitiously honored my mother-in-law’s memory by adding small amounts of garlic to our dinners. Actually, I tell a lie. I wasn’t paying attention and the cottage pie on Friday got more than I meant to put in. We’re pretty sure his dad didn’t notice.

It wasn’t as easy, however, to convince him to give string cheese a try. (Back in November, while pilfering food off one of my best friends, I re-discovered string cheese. It’s not a fancy cheese by any means, but I had forgotten how much I like the texture, the strange satisfaction in pulling each string off the stalk of cheese.) Even over chocolate, chips and ice cream, I can say that it is my top comfort food for the moment. I figure I could do worse. And it made my father-in-law laugh. So, I’m sticking with the cheese for a while.

Will wonders never cease?

Thursday, 14th June 2007. Filed in Love to eat, hate to cook3 Comments »

I cooked tonight, following a recipe. Out of a cookbook. Using ingredients I’ve never really used before. We’re talking lentils. Leeks. Crunchy things (pecans, not ‘nanas) and thyme in the mashed potato topping! The end product was a potato, lentil, tofu bake. After realizing I ate more cheeseburgers last month than I had in the whole year preceding it, I came to the conclusion that I really need to achieve better balance in my eating. And so, we embark on a two vegetarian meals a week plan. This is the first week, and I am proud to say neither meal consisted of bean burritos nor mac n’ cheese.

It was good but I’ve decided it needs a few things. For one, the recipe does not call for nearly enough celery. It said one stalk, I put in two. The next time it’ll be three or four. It also needs more garlic. I freestyled a little bit (gasp! Who is this woman and what have you done with Crunchy?) and threw in carrots and mushrooms. But, it needs ginger. (I only thought of this because I kept tasting ginger, which is odd because I didn’t put any in.) And to be topped with cheese. Lots of cheddar cheese.

The only thing now is that I need dessert. I can’t yet seem to fill up on meatless meals. Partly because swimming leaves me more famished than any other sport I’ve ever done. And partly, I think, because I need to train the carnivore in the area of my brain that controls appetite that just because there wasn’t any meat, doesn’t mean it wasn’t dinner.

Actually, come to think of it, this dish would best be served as a side to a sirloin steak. With cheese.

Feed me good food

Sunday, 3rd June 2007. Filed in Love to eat, hate to cook3 Comments »

I just spent three weeks eating crap. (Wow, I totally wrote that in the past tense, as I sit here picking pseudo M&Ms out of the trail mix. Hmmmm…)

Now that my vacation, in all of its many wonderful stages (birthday, California, wedding in Seattle, family road trip to Yellowstone, tour-guiding beautiful people around London), is over, I feel the need to fill my gut with nice things. All right. I shouldn’t use the word “nice”. It is too all-encompassing. In my world, when it comes to food “nice” can mean anything from a huge slab of prime rib to cottage cheese and oranges to chocolate decadence cake to apples and peanut butter to a fresh, crispy (dare I say, crunchy) salad that is low on the lettuce and high on the everything else. So, to clarify. After three weeks of eating on the road, narrowly escaping the 150,000 McDonald’s restaurants situated alone in the middle of nowhere that my loving parents continuously taunted me with while I dug deeper into the snack bag to get me further down the road, I seek light but nourishing, energizing foods that will make my insides smile from head to toe.

Okay, let me clarify once again. I seek foods that will make my insides smile from head to toe and take about 2 seconds to prepare. My motto: love to eat, hate to cook. It pretty much follows me everywhere. Unfortunately, I googled “foods that make your insides smile” and am left right where I began. Bummer. (I’ve gotten more satisfaction from performing the vanity google and finding my last.fm profile translated into Japanese characters than this search.) Cooking shows are no good. Unless at the end of preparing his masterpiece, Jamie is going to pop out of my tv and serve me up my dinner, I am just not interested.

So barbecued chicken, mushrooms and a salad will do for now. (Leaf lovers everywhere will be proud that lettuce, my least favorite salad ingredient, was the first thing I grabbed as I ran frantically into the fruits and vegetables aisle at the five minute before closing announcement at Tesco. Mmmmm, lettuce.)