Monday, June 24, 2013

Of cooking

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.


  1. I'm trying to convince friends to do this. Practical question, what casserole dishes did you end up getting?

    1. Oops, I'm super late in getting back to you. What did you guys end up using? How is it going?