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Will it be good?

October 4, 2010

Chris used to ask that when I told  him what I was planning for dinner and it was something he couldn’t imagine.  Once, I said, “One day, I’m going to make bad food so that question will have some meaning.”

I don’t cook from recipes. I read cookbooks and, Chris says, I have this computer in my brain that cross-references every cooking magazine or cookbook I have ever read with the ingredients  in the refrigerator and pantry at any given time spits out a dinner plan.  Every night.  My first attempt at creating a blog was writing about food. When people I know hear that I am writing, they ask, “Oh, are you writing about cooking?”  I’m a food person and a good cook — or at least I used to be.

Now, I’m not really sure what is in the fridge, apart from nameless beige leftovers and way too much cheese, assuming that there is such a thing as too much cheese.

I do try to make different things for my kids, but they really like chicken nuggets, so we eat them a lot, and as far as starch, they eat it all — oven roasted potatoes, rice, pasta, and bread. This morning we had farro for breakfast, and they liked that, but mostly their diet is shockingly like the one they tell us not to feed our kids, except that I’m fussy about the way things taste so the overall food quality is all right, I make a lot of things from scratch, and I do put vegetables and fruits on the table for every meal.

It’s a far cry from what Chris is used to, from the days before I had two kids and cancer, where five nights out of seven, I’d whip up something delicious and healthy.

I don’t know whether it is a time thing, a brain-shut-down thing at the end of the day, or a spiral of dysfunctionality when I let the kitchen get messy, but tonight, I made the old standby cheesy rice casserole, but I forgot to salt the rice and then I forgot to salt or pepper or even garlic powder the casserole and I didn’t put ham in it and somehow I did a bad job chopping the broccoli (!!) and I have to look at myself and say, “Chris asked for cheesy rice casserole and you made it badly.”

Chris doesn’t complain, but this time, he didn’t have to, and I’ll try to do better. I know other moms have problems like this, and it should be normal, and funny, and I should laugh about it, but I just freeze up, and I fail, and I can’t help but think that it’s harder for me than it should be.

I also know somewhere someone is reading this blog and thinking that Chris can cook his own dinner. I suggest that you walk a mile in his shoes before you pass judgement.

From → Cooking

  1. Pat Aldrich permalink

    “Harder for me than it should be…” Harder for us than it “should” be — because we care, because we want it be always be the best (and not considering the circumstances), because we don’t want to admit that it wasn’t. And then there’s the pain of throwing the leftovers away two weeks later because no one wanted round 2! Hmmm, oh and on whose criteria is that “should” based on?

  2. Doris permalink


    I think it is important. Cooking apparently effortlessly and beautifully is part of who you were before two small children and one big health crisis. You had a lot of hideous treatments and they will sap your strength and your memory for a long time. As will small children (however much we love them).

    The question is whether cooking is going to give you joy again if you put the energy and focus into it that it takes to be amazing. You may, in the short term, be relegated to the normal human need to make shopping lists and use recipes .


  3. Caroline Kirkpatrick permalink

    Never once did I wonder why Chris doesn’t cook his own dinner while I was reading your blog!:) Joey is definitely the cook in our family (as far as coming up with new and creative dishes with great frequency goes), but it is funny that my mind never works that way. I never wonder why the man or the woman is the primary cook in the family. It just always seems to be the person who has more of a knack for being a good cook or more passion for cooking. I am totally impressed that you were ever such a fabulous cook that you made something delicious and healthy five out of seven nights a week. I have never been that person. Chris is a lucky guy. You will get back to being that person again. I often think about the things that used to seem so basic that I can’t do that well anymore (like walking somewhere in my house without stepping on a child, one of my dogs’ paws, or a toy):).

  4. Carrie permalink

    Food feels like love, but it isn’t love. I’ve cooked and done things for my family because I wanted to demonstrate my love for them, but as circumstances change, if a meal or two or a few dozen fall away it isn’t the end of the world.

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