Last night I calculated I have been cooking dinners for me and a husband and/or children, other family and friends for just shy of 50 years. Half a century.
I’m a good cook. I like food and since I can’t afford to order in or eat out very often, I have to make it myself. That’s why I learned to prepare Chinese cuisine. I figured if all those Chinese women can do it, I probably can too. As it turns out, while I’m not a fancy Chinese cook, I can produce credible Chinese-style dishes. I can also cook pretty good Caribbean and Italian food, thanks to Garry’s mom and a long list of Italian co-workers armed with grandma’s best recipes.
I’ve got a “to die for” chili recipe from Grandma Kraus, adapted for current tastes and some traditional Jewish recipes gotten from family, friends and miscellaneous Israeli pals during my sojourn abroad.
So I cook well. If I make an effort, I cook very well. I just don’t want to.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s a festival, company coming, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Passover or Arbor Day. I do not want to cook. As a result? I cook pretty much every day because Garry doesn’t. If I don’t cook, he won’t eat. He’s already too thin (would he care to take a few of my spare pounds? I’m willing and eager to share). Meanwhile, if I don’t come up with tempting dishes, he will fade to nothing.
So I cook. What he is going to do while I’m not kitchen-able is interesting to contemplate. My daughter-in-law has promised to make sure he doesn’t became a wraith. That would be good.
What is it about cooking I don’t like? Mostly, having to do it. It’s late. I’m tired. I want to eat. I don’t feel like peeling, chopping, sautéing, whatever-ing. There’s no specific part of the process I particularly loathe. I’m just done with cooking and if I never have to do it again, that would be fine with me. Something tells me that’s not going to happen.
My mother was smart. A terrible cook. The food she prepared was tasteless. Dry. At its finest, unimaginative and bland. At its worst, inedible. No one ever begged her to make that special dish of hers. If she said she didn’t care to cook that night (usually because she was involved in some other project, like hooking a rug or glazing a pot or completing an oil painting), we all leapt to our feet and volunteered to find our own lunch or dinner. “Please, Mom, don’t worry. We’ll take care of it.”
Anything to avoid Mom’s home cooking.
I should have followed her example. She was really a very smart lady. I didn’t realize how smart until long after I’d moved away from home. Oh well. Too soon old. Too late smart, eh?
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