Tag Archives: cooking

the trouble with dinner

is that it is never simple.  Even on a weeknight.

T-storm and I were talking about making dinner.  During the course of one month, before we lived together and we traveled 45 minutes each way to see one another (and did it nearly every single day), we made a list of meals for the entire month.  We accounted for late work nights, out of town weekends, the likes.  We went shopping together, and bought food for our planned out month of meals.  And it worked splendidly.

Now, after a year of living together, that ain’t happenin’.  We’ve tried again, and we just haven’t gotten it right.

So we go to make dinner tonight.  It doesn’t have to be complicated, right?  Just sautee/lightly pan grill/whatever some chicken breasts that are defrosting, pop some rice in the rice cooker.

But then I go to do it.  And it doesn’t feel right.  I’ve got to add in vegetables, and we have all of these spices – we should really use them.  We should make something that tastes delicious, rather than simply sustaining our need for food, right?

Because if you have the capacity to cook something really good, you want to, yes?  Even if it will eventually translate to dishes & work and most of the productive part of the evening shot.

And somewhere else on the interspace, someone will talk about the Food Network show they’re watching, and someone else will post a photo of the dinner they’re eating, and someone else’s foursquare check-in at XYZ restaurant will pop up your phone and you’ll develop dinner envy.

It’s all become very complicated.

Maybe that’s going a little too far, but I know for my group of peers (actually in several different groups of peers of mine), they talk about food constantly.  Almost everyone I know can cook.  Male or female.  It doesn’t matter.  Whether they are self-described freaks or newlyweds who live as though they’re middle-aged, they all cook.  And so do we.  T-storm is very likely a better cook than I am.

Which makes me feel guilty, and motivates me to make really great food for him – not just that desire to get dinner on the table for my future husband.  It’s guilt not out of obligation, but out of a desire to contribute equally.

And so we always drive ourselves crazy having these elaborate weeknight dinners, or planning for such.  Or thinking about what other great food we can make.  Or we eat these elaborate dinners, rich in fats & cheese & potatoes and then we veg out, or worse yet, follow it up with some netflix’d Twilight Zone or Dexter, and then ice cream.  And it puts the fats on our hips.  This is also where it turns from First World Problem to First World Scourge – we both are genetically predisposed to diabetes and neither of us are as skinny as we once were.

Back to dinner tonight.  What starts out as “put some chicken on the stove, rice in the rice cooker,” becomes this (with whole wheat angel hair boiling in a pot on the side):

 

And because no wine goes wasted in this house, any wine left uncorked for too long (hey man, stuff happens) becomes cooking wine.  Which sometimes gets consumed by unknowing houseguests, anyway.

At least this experiment didn’t use up too many dishes.  And it was tasty, and somewhat healthy.  No cheese allowed.  And we paired it with unsweetened iced tea.

The problem is, that if we don’t have time to use spices & wine & what not, we get lazy and go out to eat, even though we have turkey & veggie burgers in the freezer.  But I ate enough Morningstar burgers & bowls of Easy Mac in college to last me a few lifetimes.  Socioeconomically, we’re damn near being yuppies, and if that’s the case, we can at least eat like them (if not eat them).

We operate under the idea that if you can’t do it exceptionally well, then don’t do it at all.  Which seems not uncommon in our generation, but is not always a very productive way to progress.

More thoughts on this later.

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