Saturday, August 22, 2015

Do I Get Tired of Cooking?

Andrew (who is staying here for awhile as he transitions back to the States) came out to the kitchen awhile ago, right before he left the house, and asked me a question I haven't really thought about.

"Mom, do you ever get tired of cooking?"

Well, it's a good question.  Sometimes I get tired of cooking, usually if I am tired physically, have too much to do at the time, or have just run out of ideas.  But cooking is just part of the deal.  We gotta eat.  While we do enjoy eating out, we're not going to become one of those families that eats out all the time.  (On our trip to the beach, we ate out most nights.  Though it was fun to feel like we were splurging in that way, by the end of the week we discovered that eating out every night actually gets a little old.)  I know some men whose wives do not cook, at all, and it's easy to tell that they wish things were different.  A home-cooked meal means a lot.

Cooking is an act of service for the family or for whomever is in the home.

This is cheesy rice.  It looks better than this.
So I cook.  I cooked when the kids were at home, even after a long day at work, and I cook now.  Today: Cheesy zucchini rice, which is done.  I added jalapeƱos from our "garden" since Mike likes stuff really hot.  That will be for his lunch plates next week, as he is working five days and will need good food.  (He has said there are men whom he works with who can't believe he brings a plate to warm up every day.  If they don't stop at a fast food place, they don't have anything to eat.)

Also on the agenda for today, not finished yet, are some stuffed summer squash and hamburger steaks.  The squash has just been steamed, and the filling (finely chopped celery, onion, one small squash, mushrooms, some Pepperidge Farm stuffing, and a couple of slices of melted Havarti cheese) is sauted and in the pan, ready for me to finish the dish.  I'll scrape out the middle of the cooked squash, put filling in, and probably top with some more stuffing mix for some crunch.  Hamburger meat is thawing to become patties cooked like hamburger steak.  All of this is mainly for lunches for next week.  Two melons - a honeydew and a watermelon - need to be chopped.  (Postscript:  I tried to do too much.  Long afternoon!)

Cooking is fun because it is creative.  It was an enlightening day when I realized that most cooking (this does not include baking) really does not need recipes, at least if the cook knows the basics of how things go together.  There is a basic formula for making various kinds of soups, or for throwing together most vegetables or casseroles, and there is huge variety within the basic idea.  Cooking most meats involves basic technique.  A cook can use just about anything to cook just about anything.  That makes cooking very interesting.

It's a little harder in the winter because of limited fresh items.  But this season of the year, with so much good produce, is a great time to cook.

I still have a lot to learn.  Everything out of this kitchen is far from fancy.  :-)

I come from a heritage of good cooks.  My mother is a good cook.  And my grandmothers were good cooks, both from a German background.  I grew up eating good food and good homemade meals.  That is a privilege that is not known to many today, who grow up eating frozen breaded chicken nuggets, boxed macaroni and cheese, and McDonalds hamburgers.  Many young people do not know the blessing of good home-cooked food.

And marrying a man who grew up in the South has added another dimension to cooking.  I did not know what real Southern cooking was until then.  Rice and gravy, fried deer steak, turnip greens, all vegetables cooked to death, mustard-based barbecue sauce, just a certain style of cooking that is different from how I grew up.  Certain terms are particular to the this area.  For example - we eat slaw or coleslaw, not "cabbage slaw."  The word "cabbage" is redundant.  I've not become a great Southern cook, but I have learned a lot.

So--Do I get tired of cooking?  Yes, sometimes.  Eating out is still a fun thing to do.  But overall, I love cooking, because it is creative, and because it is part of my "job," but most of all--because it is a service to my family.


Brenda said...

Hello, I'm over from Barbara's Stray Thoughts blog.
I enjoy cooking good healthy meals for my little family. Your stuffed squash recipe sounds delicious.

becka said...

I enjoyed reading your post about cooking. I, too, look upon cooking as a way of serving my family and others and as a means of creating and discovering new things. Late summer and early fall are some of the best times in the kitchen with the abundance of produce and the coolers temps which make baking so much more pleasant.