So far this blog has been all about cooking, but there’s something else I’ve been thinking about lately, and that’s how we hold ourselves back with an image of who we are that’s actually far more flexible than we think.
Cooking-real-food-for-myself month is going fairly well – not perfectly, but well. I’ve only broken my eating out rules twice – once for a special event that wouldn’t be there in June (Food Truck Park! OMG!) and once because I just failed to bring lunch to work and went and got sushi. Oh well. More on my work lunch troubles in a later post. And I’ve had a few sub par dinners, but mostly not. Tonight I read my oven manual, and I was struck by just how resistant I’ve been to learning the various skills of cooking.
I’ve done really well and actually kept to my plan this week, not eating out at all except for two coffees and a macaroon (an acceptable indulgence). So it was with some dismay that I had to work late unexpectedly, and then spend some time dealing with some home computer troubles, and then found myself hungry and in need of dinner at 9 pm. The meal I’d planned (roast veggies with potatoes and whole garlic cloves and spices) was going to take over an hour to be edible – even though prep time is low it spends a long time slowly becoming delicious in the oven. So, what was I going to eat?
When I started this cooking for myself plan, I posted about it on social media and announced it to friends and work colleagues. The idea was that if everyone knew I might feel accountable to them and actually stick to the plan. I think that’s helped? Anyway, a lot of my friends have a had advice, and some of it I think is misplaced. One of the most frequent things people have talked about is making a plan for all the food I’m going to cook that week (and perhaps prepping for it on the weekend). Here’s why I think that’s a trap.
This advice should be really obvious, but apparently it wasn’t obvious to me for a long time. I needed to make cooking as easy as possible, and that means keeping it simple, and focusing on doing a good job with easy dishes.
Because I’m so reluctant to cook, I need to use every trick I can to make it happen. While planning what to eat early in the day when I still have decision making energy seems to be necessary for cooking to happen at all, I’ve also found it helps to be inspired by the results.
So here’s how my normal eating plan went. I would think to myself, ugh, I need to eat properly and more cheaply, definitely that is a thing that needs to happen. It will happen as of now! Yay! Then I would work all day and come home and once I was in my house everything would be too hard and I would sort of drift around my kitchen and then think, stuff it, just this one time I’m going to just eat this random crap I have to hand, or go out and just eat in a restaurant. And then I would sit down with my bowl of cereal or packet of chips and relax, or I would stop at the restaurant on the way home because I’d worked hard and I deserved it.