Posted by: stillironic | May 7, 2010

I love to cook, in theory. In practice, not so much.

It’s hard to be a mediocre cook, today. Cooking is so in, so Zen, so yin-yang. Many of my best friends are great cooks. My husband, JJ, is an astonishing cook. He cooks freestyle. Just occasionally looks at recipes for ideas. And all of these cooks make cooking look almost effortless. They can even whip up a meal and talk at the same time. When I cook, the only person I can talk to is me. And most of what I say is heavily laden with the F word.

I have many excuses for why I don’t like to cook:

  1. We don’t have a broiler and I was used to broiling a lot.
  2. The oven temperature’s hard to regulate, making baking a challenge. And, people, I actually used to like baking. Every couple of years I make a pie. From scratch.
  3. I dislike the oven intensely. The feeling is probably mutual.
  4. I don’t think about food. Maybe this is because thinking about food reminds me I should think about what to make for dinner. And I HATE to even THINK about making dinner. Every evening when JJ comes home from work I’m hoping he’s forgotten about dinner. Me: “Oh, dinner? That. How about a Greek salad from Maria D’s?”
  5. It takes too much time. Which it would do if you haven’t cooked for 20 years and are just starting to cook again. Sometimes I have to pack up the ingredients and finish making the meal the next day. By this point I’ve lost my appetite and JJ’s microwaving chicken noodle soup from a can.
  6. I’d rather eat a big salad (which I will make, oh ye of little faith), especially in summer.

My latest excuse: I had the stomach flu and still have no appetite. Even thinking about food makes me queasy. Flu on Tuesday. Wednesday, I refused to think about food; bought Greek salad and burrito. Thursday, I didn’t want to think about food, but felt guilty. So I fried rounds of ready-made polenta, broiled them topped with mozzarella in the toaster oven—did I mention we HAVE NO BROILER?—and added a good quality, store-bought marinara sauce, topped with fresh-grated pecorino romano cheese. This I served with fresh, steamed broccoli.

Not a great meal, but decent, considering. And you know what thanks I got? JJ: “Not bad. It almost tastes like food.”

Today is Friday and I still don’t have much of an appetite. Naturally, this means cancer. What shall I serve for dinner tonight? FROM MY DEATHBED. Should probably get my affairs in order first. Will definitely revise my will.



  1. Hey, if your husband is a great cook, I say let him do the cooking! (of course you know I am not at all biased towards the idea of a husband proving his love to his wife, like on Mother’s Day) My mom commented the other day that in the last 2 years my dad has taken on most of the dinner chores with tasty results and she wonders if it was something he recently learned or if he hid it while we kids still lived there.

    • Right now he’s working and I’m not or otherwise he would be doing the cooking! Actually, since I’ve had my hand in a cast he’s been doing most of the cooking. Had arthritis/carpal tunnel surgery in late March & have developed an almost physical aversion to cooking.

      Interesting about your dad. Let me know if you find out the answer!

  2. I also hate to cook. But that stems from the fact that all the people in my house despise trying new things. Their pickiness really puts a damper on my culinary creativity.

    Love your blog. I’ll be back.

    • Thanks! Look forward to having you back!

      My son had, and still has as an adult, a narrow palate. So my cooking when I was a single mom became pretty utilitarian. Hmmm, maybe that’s one of the reasons I’m cooking impaired.

  3. You know, I am with you here. Cooking sounds like such a great (fun) idea — until it starts going wrong and there’s a mess to be cleaned and the time and effort don’t match the end result. Thank God for Little Caesar’s.

    • I’ll have to check out Little Caesar’s!

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