I'm a little slow today. I just switched to Sanka. So...have a heart?

Monday, October 01, 2007

I have neither the time, nor the money, nor the motivation to cook.

I miss cooking.

A lot.

I almost went to culinary school instead of college. I don't think I would have lasted long there, because the smell of hot salmon (or any fish for that matter, and don't get me started on creepy, eyeless shellfish, or breaking chicken joints...) makes me gag, but still, I almost went.

For my birthday last year, I treated myself to a large, intimidating block of Henckel's knives. I have only put one in the dishwasher... once. That shows you how important those Stabby McCuttersons are to me, considering almost everything is "Dishwasher safe!" to me, even when it's not.

But a curious thing has happened since I started working. And since I got older and the food that I used to love to make now makes me noticeably fatter after eating it. And after I got really poor, and suddenly churning out food by the tray is a cost-prohibitive exercise. And after it's summertime here and I'm loathe to turn on the oven for any length of time. And after I bought a house with a kitchen that looked like it was a great set-up for cooking, but really, I'm a little too short and I have a few too many appliances... and the "flow" is just sort of... wrong.

I've stopped cooking interesting and/or good food.

Know what I make now? Baked brown rice and weird chickpea concoctions. Sauteed chicken. Today I fried some leftover spaghetti.

What's HAPPENING to me?! I don't eat fresh vegetables anymore because I won't eat them before they rot, and I can't afford to throw away celery. I don't bake anymore because carbohydrates are the Devil... and furthermore, do you know how much fucking TIME it takes to make a loaf of bread?!

Over are the days of impromptu fondue parties and after-pool pancakes n' bacon. There are no more palmiers being churned out of my ovens, and no more Portobella hash. No more blasted root vegetables and no more Spanish pork loins.

It's brown rice, and couscous, and pasta and beans. Chicken if I'm feeling flush when I'm grocery shopping and every now and then, roasted asparagus with lemon and parmesan.

I wish I had time to cook on the weekends, but it's Florida, and cooking is virtually impossible - in the summertime even when it's too hot to do anything outside, it's too hot to turn on the stove inside. In the wintertime, it's simply too beautiful to stay indoors making a mirepoix or dicing mango for salsa.

Added to the fact that sometimes it's just nice to have a snowy-blowy day during which to stew some beef and/or make a brisket and a kugel. But Brisket and Kugel aren't Florida foods... they're heavy and dense and cold-weathery. And I'm still too intimidated to master boiling Yuca with mojo... or making mamey batidos. And also, I hate those tropical vegetables/fruits.

The thought of throwing a dinner party now makes me cringe... besides the enormous cost involved to make a meal that I would deem worthy of serving to company, when the hell am I going to get it done? I've learned it's awful to spend a Saturday cooking for a Saturday night party, because by the time the guests arrive, you're so tired and burned out from standing in the kitchen for the last seven hours, you want to tell your guests to eat up and get out so you can go to bed...

But when is one supposed to pre-prepare the foods that one would serve on a Friday night or a Saturday? Especially considering that if you go shopping to have ingredients to start pre-preparing on Thursday, you'll have to go shopping on Wednesday, and you won't even get home from that junket until 8:30...

This is a crappy post. I'm sorry.

I'm just so frustrated with (1) My Stove - Seriously - I'm about to illegally rig up a gas line to this building's hot water boiler so I can have a some decent heat - who came up with these Flat-Top stoves?!); (2) My Grandmother's awful pots that don't work on my flat-topped stove; (3) My poverty; (4) My schedule.

I want to be able to cook - for myself and for others. Instead, I'm becoming a master of all of the various uses for garbanzos...

It didn't used to be like this.

I used to eat steak.

Now if I'm feeling really fancy, I buy some sage to toss into browned butter and dump over gemelli with toasted walnuts... or pecans...

But nuts are a luxury...



Anonymous Tarquis said...

Ah, Superbee...

Although I know you, NOT AT ALL, and my assessment is based strictly on your blog, I know you'll appreciate the candour I'm employing here to talk to you about your cooking issues. Think me as a far, far, far, distant observer, and hopefully that doesn't creep you out...much. >grin<

Cooking for one, is generally recognized as residing in Suckville. I for one, have been known to resort to cooking simplistic starchy foods, as if in an effort to cause a carbohydrate coma that I can wake up from when others arrive, sparing me the difficulties of the "cooking for one" dilemna.

Knowing that, and knowing that cash flow present it own set of limitations, there is the idea of entertaining one's friends, that doesn't need to break the bank. Why not have some sort of potluck gathering, and invite some close friends to assist in preparing some simple food items? Without trying to sound like a cooking show rep, there's nothing wrong with this approach. Really. I. Mean. It.

The motivation for cooking should be to entertain yourself, and more importantly, your friends. And I know...you're saying inside your head, "but I still don't WANT to cook!" You're right. But you need a reason to START, and why not lean on your friends for this purpose. Surely they want to be around you, and heck! Everybody likes food! And everyone likes you....right?

I think the issue of cooking has become symbolic of other issues going on in your life. Living the life of a monk isn't helping, it's just making the issue much more noticeable.

I get the feeling that you see time in the kitchen as time wasted. I personally think there's no better time to collect my thoughts while chopping, and moving to a little Madonna or Kylie...come on...you can hear the music calling, can't you?

1:12 PM

Blogger SuperBee said...

What a great comment. I must know you, though... Allison? Lee? Your style of writing sounds like speech (which I love) and you sound like people I know.

I'm trying to break out of my monastickly poor existence, but... I'm maxing out my credit cards, and my slavering thirst for a mid-century modern credenza (and my slavering need for new brakes) doesn't isn't doing a fat lot of good for me.

That's the thing, though, I do love cooking, and I do love the feeling of mincing my way through a pile of garlic or parsley. I also love, when entertaining, to be the one who's done it, which is why I haven't been so great with the Potluck Scheme. (Maybe I'll get better once I get that credenza I've been eyeing on E-Bay and can tell people to put their dishes on it... ON A TRIVET!)

I'm struggling, however, with the issue of time in the kitchen as time wasted, when it's food that only I will consume - there are eighty zillion other things I should be doing from epoxying my shower curtain more strongly into the wall, to sealing the bathroom floor, to cleaning out the pile of old bills and Flor catalogs accumulating next to the front door. Organizing my filing cabinet... doing crunches... you get it.

Compounding all of this is that I bought myself a fantastic place, and my furniture leaves a bit to be desired. Well, not totally, but I don't live in the swingin' bachelor pad that I've envisioned... although I'm about to start implementing some costly remedies to that problem. I don't want to entertain on a large scale until my place is "done" or reaching some semblance of "done," but I'm starting to fall out of practice in entertaining.

I guess I do just need to jump back on the horse. Dinner doesn't have to be expensive - and my friends have plebian tastes (I LOVE YOU GUYS!) I'm sure they'd be just as happy with a trough of macaroni and cheese as they would with a barded roast.

Furthermore, it's getting cooler outside. Once the nice weather comes, I get a little more energy - and a little more motivation to throw open the doors and roll out the welcome mat.

But the thing that seems to bother me most right now is the whole cooking for one thing. And for that, there's really no remedy right now. There's a certain indignity to buying frozen vegetables... but maybe I could try to be less of a snob. And maybe I could try to re-discover what it is to get excited about making something, as opposed to feeling duty (and starvation) bound to cook. I need to go from a subsistence mindset to "this is my hobby."

3:07 PM

Anonymous tarquis said...

I assure you that we've never met, although I value your wit and humour, hence the reason for me to actually take the rather (seriously) bold gesture of presuming to comment on your posting.

I can't quite remember at what point I stumbled (literally) onto your site, but I do remember reading postings at work (for shame! I know...) and laughing so loudly that co-workers wondered if I was in need of some medication. And that doesn't really do your blog any justice. It makes it sound like I think its all "shiz and giggles." It isn't.

I'm sure it's weird. You put up a blog, assuming that people you know will read it, and then discover that some complete stranger has been "peering in through the window."

If it helps, you can look for me on Facebook. You'll see...we really don't know each other at all. Hopefully that doesn't invalidate my comments. ;)

3:53 PM


Post a Comment

<< Home