I do not enjoy cooking. Actually I kinda loathe it. For one thing, I’m not a planner. When I see someone pull the chicken out of their freezer because that’s what they’re having for dinner the next day, I start looking for a crystal ball. How could you possibly know what you’re eating the following day? What if you don’t feel like having chicken tomorrow? What if you stop at your friend’s house and they give you a chicken sandwich and then you have to eat it for dinner too? What if you get invited on a last minute super adventure, and you don’t get home in time to prepare the chicken? What if it’s a gorgeous day out, and you need to have burgers at the picnic table but you pulled out the stupid chicken instead of the ground beef?
Don’t even get me started with soups. Making a soup is a major commitment that you will be in a soup mood, and that is a rare and fleeting mood not likely to last the amount of time it takes to make soup. I can’t spend my Sundays preparing food for the week and freezing it to rectify this problem any sooner than you can spend your Sundays pooping gold nuggets. My heart would shrivel up and leap from my body never to return.
Convenience food has always been my saving grace. Soup comes in a can because it should be there always and take no more than 2.5 minutes to make lest I change my mood before the microwave dings. (I don’t even heat my soup on the stove, that’s just a made up step invented by pots.) Chicken nuggets, hot dogs, boxed mac and cheese, pasta, rice-a-roni, scrambled eggs, sandwiches, and cheese are the sort of fly-off-the-cuff foods that don’t require that I know what I’m doing five minutes from now, which is just the way I like it. Even still, thank God for the drive thru because ya never know when my emergency-car-console-graham-cracker stash has run dry and I realize I forgot to feed my children that day when a trip back from the doctors turns into an unplanned afternoon at the playground.
Healthy eating was always something I intended to one day tackle, but the few attempts I had made failed miserably and it was just not a battle I felt fit to tackle in the past. I always kept frozen vegetables to be added to every meal, and fruit (the most convenient of all food) readily available but when I see people make their own granola, I just have to inform them “ya know they sell that at the store.”
Then something happened….
Actually two things happened. The first was that I joined an online fitness accountability group and it incorporated a 12-week program to a healthier lifestyle, and as I stuck to the program my convenience foods were slowly being ripped away from me. That was fine because I will eat cardboard before I spend extra time cooking, so I ate healthy gross food that took relatively no time to prepare and continued to feed my family last minute meals.
We found out my two year old, Corbin, had several food allergies and intolerances and could no longer eat gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, or food coloring. During this time my husband, Matt, was keeping a food journal and added to the list his own intolerance for peanuts and beef. Upon hearing this news, I took my four year old, Landon (lover of chicken nuggets and cheese sticks) and we left hoping we would soon forget Matt and Corbin and start a new life of convenience without them. We didn’t get very far before we missed them and returned accepting that life as we knew it was about to dramatically change…
At first, I was thrilled to find out that not much would have to change because it turns out you can still buy anything imaginable without allergens. Then after blowing our food budget out of the water three weeks in a row, a harsh reality settled in…I would have to cook. NOOOOOOOOO! I know I should be grateful that I have food to cook, but I would legit rather hunt and gather than cook. Actually, I would hate to hunt because I hate the thought of eating animals. It feels cruel, that’s why I like to buy my meat skinless, boneless and chopped because when I buy a whole chicken, a sweet little headless chicken, I just feel bad that his farm days had to come to an end just for one not-so-delicious meal. I would totally be a vegetarian if I had a cook and nutritionist working for me.
So now that I have accepted my new life as a cook-at-home Mom I’m happy to tell you that I’m not happy at all. I hate it! EVERYTHING is effort. Everywhere we go I have to stop and think about how long we will be there, what meals we might need and what adventures could possibly come along and side-track and then plan for the unexpected and unplanable and pack snacks and meals and none of them are simple either.
Packing my husband’s lunch for work has gone from a 10 minute chore I did in between loading the dishwasher and checking my facebook into an event. It actually has to go on my “To-Do” list and I think about it when I wake up in the morning and I sigh. When my chubby-cheeked, sweet little boy, Corbin, starts scrounging for food one lonely tear slips down my face knowing that I will have to….cook him something.
Oh the life of healthy eating…it is horrible and the worst part is that it basically ensures we will all live longer…meaning I will have to continue cooking for even more meals.