I fell out of love with cooking there for a while.
This was a bit of a blow for me since I have few proper hobbies, and I considered cooking to be one of them. Though can it reeeally be a hobby if you must do it to survive?
I burned out because I felt squeezed by the grind of packing a lunch, snack, and coffee for work, working all day, going to the gym, then arriving home and attempting to divine a decent meal from what we had laying about. I was always too hungry by that point to abide complicated prep, baroque instructions, odd ingredients. (I feel duty-bound to point out that Nick cooks, too, and enthusiastically, but he often has obligations on campus until 8 p.m. and I tend to be the one to get the evening meal moving.) I guess that some people shop meticulously for a whole week of meals on a Sunday?, but that is asking the world of a high-functioning layabout like me. Cooking became, quite literally, a chore.
Then two things happened. We started a dinner-share with other vegetarian friends, meaning many of our weekday dinners just need to be popped in the oven. (I wrote more about that here, if you're interested*) The second thing, and this is just ridiculous, is that I moved our beast of a Cuisinart food processor to a low shelf. I previously had this 20 lb machine and all its attachments stored in a milk crate on top of the refrigerator. It was an endeavor to retrieve and replace, and without realizing it, I began to select against recipes that would require it.
So I am back in the busy, happy habit of making weird pesto, spicy cashew sauces, hummos. I've been pulsing groats or pumpkin seeds or whatever into a "flour" for salty little hippie Wheat Thins. I recreated the chewy chocolate caramel pecan cookies they served at the restaurant where I used to work, and which I would occasionally conspire with other servers to break, rendering them unsellable but entirely edible. Cheddar scallion biscuits blooming in a skillet for no reason at all. Vegan cinnamon ice cream.
I'm leaving tomorrow for a week of vacation. It can be trying to eat kindly while on vacation, and I'm sure that after a week of rice, beans, and beer, it'll be a thrill to be back in my weird little kitchen. Grimy linoleum floor and all.
*Eagle-eyed friends and family, I still have the surname they gave me at Southwest General Hospital. I use a nom de plume to publish online for some reason that made sense at the time.