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...