Learning to Not Hate Cooking

I don’t like to cook.

I’ve tried thinking of it as a creative pursuit and that works sometimes  but I’m hindered by the fact that it is something that MUST be done and not something that exists for its own sake.  It’s just so utilitarian.

I’ve tried adopting the athletic wear company motto to just get it over with, but there’s no joy in that at all.

I’ve tried approaching it as an act of worship and service a la Brother Lawrence and that works better.

Some times we just have to muddle through the best we can but I’m learning that the attitude in which you do something is at least as important as what you do, especially in acts of service.  No one wants a gift shoved at them by a surly giver who doesn’t really want to give it.

So to help my attitude we do this:

  • on his days off from work, my husband does most of the cooking because he enjoys it and is good at it and I assist him where I can.  This may be cheating but it certainly helps my attitude toward cooking.
  • I start cooking or at least prepping earlier than you might think necessary because a big part of what I hate is getting everything on the table in an organized way.
  • Clean as I go because doing dishes while the kids go crazy during witching hour is no fun.  Spend a half hour cleaning the kitchen just to find out the rest of the house is a disaster?  No thank you.  (Now I’m thinking of it I need to corral those guys and make them help.  I bet that would curb their enthusiasm for destruction.)
  • We try to always have a menu.  It is flexible.
IMG_6620

Our menu for Christmas.  dry/wet erase board makes changes easy

Where the boxes are split, the top is for breakfast and the bottom is dinner.  Lunch tends to take care of itself with leftovers.

Our menu revolves around payday.  I’m not sure that’s a good thing, but it’s true.  I generally do an inventory of the freezers, fridge, and pantry first, then it’s just a matter of choosing a few main ideas and writing them down in an order that makes sense.

Where there is meat, there are days that follow with meals made from leftovers.  For example, turkey is followed by pot pie, ham is followed by split pea soup, chili is followed by chili potatoes.

This rotation was largely, hugely taken from Budget Bytes.  (Beth’s recipes are really good, but sometimes I go there just for the ideas.)

I was going to post this as part of a link up to Simcha Fisher’s What’s For Supper but for certain personal technical reasons I can’t.  BUT she is an intelligent and amusing writer even if I do hate her comment sign in, so you should go check her out.      

ETA:  If anyone makes it all the way down to the bottom of this post – about that split infinitive in the title – I like it.  It has connotative meaning beyond what could be accomplished by being technically correct.  

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8 thoughts on “Learning to Not Hate Cooking

  1. anitvan says:

    I don’t mind cooking as long as there’s food in the house. Its grocery shopping that I hate. I once calculated how many times I’ve had to do groceries over the last 3 decades and the sum result made me wanna cry!

    Your cooking and food prep routines though…have you been spying on me? It’s identical to how i operate! I did my menus on paper forms and put them up for everybody to see. Otherwise, the kids would descend on the groceries like locusts and eat them all before I even got a chance to make a meal.

    • Sara McDaren says:

      My husband insists on doing the grocery shopping too because he’s better at finding the good prices. I AM spoiled!

      Those other methods might just be the things we all learn after we’ve been at it for so long. I almost wrote “too long” but that’s against the spirit of the post.

      I hear ya about the locusts. I can’t keep fruit in the house to save my life.

      • anitvan says:

        Most of my tactics arose out of necessity and a very strict grocery budget but even when money wasn’t an issue I still followed them. To this day I prefer not to have Ken along when I shop. He’s like a kid in a…well, grocery store, throwing things willy nilly into the cart. I get tired of saying Put That Back.

      • Sara McDaren says:

        I just got an awesome visual of you and Ken shopping.

        I do think that having limited funds has taught me good things that I might not have learned, probably wouldn’t have chosen to learn, otherwise.

  2. Julie says:

    For me, it’s thinking of what to make. We get in such a rut! (Lots of ground meat… I call it “hamburger” but it might be venison or elk or caribou.) My worst habit is waiting until about 4pm and then wondering what to make for dinner. *Ugh* Since I’m more motivated in the morning, I use the crock pot a lot. Put dinner together right after breakfast, and then go my merry way the rest of the day ;D (Sort of.) Love your paired meals idea (i.e. ham / split pea soup). As my boys have gotten bigger, we don’t have as many leftovers, though! Somebody once told me to take out the “leftovers” before I serve the food, and I’d let that fall by the wayside… need to bring that back!

    • Sara McDaren says:

      I love the idea of setting the leftovers aside first. That’s how you’re supposed to do monetary savings too I think.

      And yes, IMO preparing dinner in the morning is the way to go if at all possible.

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