Wednesday, April 21, 2010

When Did Cooking Become Such a Chore?

I used to love to cook.  When I was in college, my friends and roommates were often surprised at my cooking skills, and baking too.

Now, I just about dread having to cook dinner each night.  My cooking has become routine and boring.  I am always stressing to figure out what to cook that we will enjoy and that Liam will actually eat.  And it is always a challenge to prepare and cook a meal before Liam dissolves into a miserable, starving child who is so upset that he can't remember that he is hungry and therefore throws his food on the floor without eating a bite.

Gone are the days when I could spend hours in the kitchen cooking a new recipe and making dessert.  I don't have the time to look for new recipes.  I don't have the energy to try new things that may not turn out.  And even if I do happen to stumble across a recipe that I would like to try, I am usually missing ingredients.  By the time I get the ingredients, I've lost the recipe or I use them for something else.  Then I am back to a recipe with no ingredients.

I used to have a very good relationship with my slow cooker, seen above with the remains of tonight's Italian Herb Chicken, but lately that relationship has been strained.  You see, when I fell in love with my slow cooker, I worked a late shift and I could throw a meal in the pot before work in the morning and turn it on.  When we got home at 6:30 pm, we had dinner.  Now that I work an early shift, there is no way that I have time (without getting up before 5 am) to get a meal into the slow cooker.  So, unless I am organized enough to get it all put together the night before, the slow cooker sits sad and lonely, collecting dust on the shelf.

I love having things, like lasagna, prepared and in the freezer, to just throw in the oven, but that also requires me to be prepared ahead of time.  Again, that just doesn't happen as often as it should.  I was good on Sunday, along with making Sunday night's dinner, I made a big pot of chili that we had for dinner Monday night and froze enough for another meal.  I also froze two lasagnas and a container of spaghetti sauce.  If I could be that productive every weekend, cooking would be a breeze.

I really need to find a way to get myself out of this cooking rut.  But I really don't know where to start.  I've tried menu planning, and that takes away the stress of trying to figure out what to cook, but it hasn't put the enjoyment back into cooking.  Hopefully, soon, something will change and I'll find my interest in cooking again.  I bet it's hidden away somewhere with my memory, energy and motivation.


  1. I'm my experience mothering for thirty years, you will go through stages where the inspiration and joy bug will hit you. The weekend cookfest and freezing for later is always a good option, especially for moms who have to work outside the home. But sometimes you will just want your weekends to be down time and not cooking and freezing time. On the weeks this happens, plan your weekly menus to be easy and quick: one pot meals, baked chicken or roast with baked potatoes and a salad or cooked veggies as sides.
    Don't try to shoot for elaborate and inspiring all the time, it's unrealistic.
    When your kids get older, you will be able to take more time for more elaborate meals and involve them in the process, and then they can learn to cook.
    Then when you are at my stage in life, when they've all moved out, it gets really interesting trying to cook for two after cooking (in my case) for five plus usually half the neighborhood.
    Hope this helps.

  2. I know what you mean....lately it's been chicken, chicken, chicken....I love chicken but I think my family is bored. I need to start a menu plan and get creative. It's tough though with such limited time :O)