When Cooking is the LAST Thing You Want to Do
Is it just me or do any of you dread dealing with food day in and day out these days?
It seems that many of us feel an apathy towards food that is reflective of the constant drain of managing the complexities and uncertainties that is covid life. I personally never felt a surge of creative cooking energy when quarantining struck. I did not learn to make homemade sourdough bread. Instead, I felt like a freaking champion when I got a frozen pizza and a handful of bagged salad on the dinner table.
Very long days of tag team work with my husband – alternating caring for my toddler and attending to my professional work – leave me on the couch, giving dirty looks at the stove. By the end of the day, my son hangs on my legs and shouts while I attempt to make dinner very, VERY quickly. So no, I am not finding much joy in the kitchen right now and that’s ok.
So if you are one of the magical unicorns who has been experimenting with new and complicated recipes and impressing your friends with your homemade kombucha, this post is probably not for you….And P.S. I can send you my address if you want to drop anything off on my doorstep.
If you are struggling in the kitchen like me, I have pulled together a handful of ideas and resources to help you keep your head above water.
- When I want a meal without cooking, I throw together a smorgasbord that might include: pita chips, sliced sourdough bread (never homemade at my house), flatbread; hummus, spinach dip, babaganoush; charcuterie, deli meat, cheese; sliced cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes. You can, of course, add olives and other pickled veggies. Feel free to top it off with a glass of wine or my very fancy pineapple spritzer (half pineapple juice, half sparkling water – you see how elaborate things get at my house!).
- Burgers of all kinds. This has literally been my saving grace this summer. Find your favorite frozen patty – beef, chicken, turkey, seafood, black bean, quinoa – there are tons of options. My current favorite is the Chicken Chile Lime burgers from Trader Joe’s. Heat your patty in the pan while pulling out condiments to spread on the buns – mustard, mayo, ketchup, bbq sauce, buffalo sauce, sriracha, salsa, tartar sauce. Then throw in a couple of toppers to keep things interesting – lettuce, tomato, pickles, avocado, or my absolute favorite (that I put on almost everything), Trader Joe’s Hot and Sweet Jalapenos. Add a side of potato chips and/or baby carrots and call it good. You can mix and match a dozen different options based on this short list of ideas. And I bet you could add to the list!
- Breakfast for dinner. Have a cold cereal party and top it with bananas and berries, which are delicious this time of year. Scramble up eggs and cheese while making toast. A balanced dinner does not have to be elaborate to be adequate!
If you want even more kitchen inspiration, I highly recommend you check out Wendy and Jess, the amazing duo of Food Heaven. Their podcast is gold and their episode, “What to Do When You’re Sick of Cooking,” is loaded with inspiration.