When my son was two it was just us. I was a single mom on a strict budget and the only hobby I had time for was figuring out how to stretch a dollar to make food that was healthy and tasty enough for him not to complain about.
At the time I was working in morning radio which meant getting up and out of the house by 3:30am and returning somewhere in the early afternoon completely exhausted. Thing is, toddlers don’t give a fuck if you’re exhausted. So, I would leave work, drive to a farmers market near my house and load up on fresh produce. Once a month I would hit up $2.99 Tuesday at Fresh Market (not an ad) to stock up on chicken breasts, ground chicken and ground beef. That deal is seriously killer and I still take advantage of it to this day.
It was a nice distraction from the world around me to tinker with flavors and figure out what I could get my kid to eat and which textures he enjoyed. If I’m being honest, it was my only pleasure. So that’s what I did… Just the two of us pigging out on stuffed meatballs and baked salmon and bacon roasted sprouts and butternut squash soup and we were good. Then down the road I met Phil…
Phil can cook. Like, fucking COOK. He could win Cutthroat Kitchen. He’s calm and relaxed in the kitchen in a way I’ve never been. You can hand him a box of random shit and he’ll make something delicious, plated beautifully and served at the perfect temperature. I was so intimidated. I may have cooked two dinners for him before developing a complex that resulted in my unconscious decision to leave dinner to him and stick to breakfasts and quick lunches. I didn’t want to cook for him and it had nothing to do with anything he had indicated or done when I’d cooked in the past. I just felt inferior and I put that on myself.
So I baked. I stuck to baking, but not with much passion because I quickly realized that Phil speaks cooking SO WELL that if he decided to put just an ounce of effort in, he’d be a better baker than me in no time. And the frequency of my baking started to dwindle. Phil had no issue with it cause AGAIN, cooking is a breeze to him and it’s completely effortless. And that was our routine… I’d make sure all the clothes were clean and the house was in order and he’d cook all the foods. Then last week…
We were eating dinner and once again raving about one of Phil’s creations when it got quiet for a second and E said “Mommy, I don’t remember your cooking. I remember when I was a baby feeling like I really enjoyed it.” and I died. I was shocked. Did it really matter who cooked his meals? I guess it did. So I promised to make a few dinners this week. Then he proceeded to Facetime his grandma (Gaga) to scream in excitement about the fact that “mommy is gonna cook again!” WTF have I done robbing him of the experience all these years?
I beat myself up over it for an hour and then I got to work… Pinned a bunch of yummy looking Crock Pot dishes cause I figured there’s no better way to ease back into cooking. I cooked two dinners this week. They didn’t turn out like the Pinterest pics, but I tried and my kid put on a whole encouragement show in response. Clapped and smacked his lips and all.
So now I’m determined to cook, but I’m still cooking with fear for now. I don’t even know why. It didn’t used to be like this. Technology has changed since I last cooked regularly… Instant Pot? I can’t. I’m not ready for that thing yet. I AM ready for all the Crock Pot meals and one pot dishes. That’s the speed I’m driving at right now. Here are the meals I made earlier this week that were delicious. Please link me to some of your beginner level favorites as well! Click the name of the recipe for the lowdown.
I can’t imagine any other adult humans feeling the way I do, but if you exist, please let me know. Why are we like this?