Cooking (or lack thereof)

26 May

The latest in my life is that cooking has gone from being a hobby and something I enjoyed to my nemesis each week. And I really don’t know for sure how it got to being this way. I used to enjoy planning and cooking healthy, nutritious food for my family and poring over food blogs, recipes and watching a TV show or two as I cooked. But now it seems like all that was eons ago.

A good guess is that my attitude towards cooking changed when I started on my new job and went from being a remote fulltime employee to actually having to go to work outside the house .I then started stressing about getting weekly prep done on the weekends. This started a few weeks ago and at first I enjoyed having a goal and set of dishes planned out for each week. But then, the whole process got laborious somehow. Even if you take grocery shopping out of the equation, just tidying the kitchen and dishes to begin prepping, actually chopping, prepping and all that, the cooking itself and then storage and clean up all take a significant amount of time each weekend. My weekends are either fun family stuff outdoors, social activities or being Bandar’s sole caregiver if the husband is at cricket and playing with her indoors or outdoors. And these are all such precious moments that I enjoy and do not want to lose out on any of them by having to spend a sizable portion of my weekend in the kitchen.

Then the question that keeps coming up in my mind is – What was the net output of all this weekend work? Just a few subjis or dals to eat with store bought rotis. Or a Thai or Mexican dish for a change. All these dishes I made in large quantities – too large to finish even in 3-4 meals by 2 adults. To add to that  the husband seems to have a teeny tiny appetite off late, preferring to eat fruit and other things rather than food when he can. So we end up trashing a lot of food at the end of a week and then again going grocery shopping to buy new main course ingredients and spices in 2-3 grocery stores to continue this miserable cycle.

So I tried not being so well prepared a few weekends and then dealing with cooking during the week. That by itself is also extremely stressful. Coming home at 6pm with Bandar, who I am dying to just play with for 2 hours and interact with, and having to deal with no food in the fridge. Poor Bandar has no choice but to just play by herself in the living room as I chop and cook from scratch. Also I was usually Hangry (hungry +Angry)  and tired myself as I did this cooking work those evenings.

Cooking late into the night also seems to be out of question as I am usually in bed at 9:30 pm with Bandar at the latest most nights and up around 5:30 am. I truly value my health and unless I have actual office work keeping me up, which thankfully I do not so far, I am going to go to bed. I get up early to get a walk in a few days of the week, and I usually just have time to pack our lunch boxes before I head out. Lunch box cooking is non painful so far and is really not related to our night meals. The husband and I do sandwiches usually for lunch, which he usually makes for us and Bandar does a variation of things that are all 20 minutes from raw material to lunch box. So really it’s the night meals that are stressful.

A large part of this stress also stems from my disorganized kitchen . I feel I need to spend just a whole day cleaning my kitchen up and organizing. Most of my spice jars do not have spoons in them, and I tip the spice pot into the food and harsh taps, over spices the food, leading to more wastage. Yes, I a m that lazy to find a clean dry spoon before using the spice. I have tons of disposal containers , running amok in my limited kitchen storage that have to be neatly stacked and put away for later use. I have stupid warehouse bulk bought groceries lying around in the most unexpected shelves that I need to get around to consuming. The good glass containers I have for food storage have no lids. The fridge itself needs to be wiped down with vinegar. My dals and other desi groceries need to be easily accessible. Spice containers  need to be refilled, instead of pouring from packets when I need them. So much to do and really no time. To do all this one weekend, I will definitely have to take time away from my family and also probably that week’s cooking and I haven’t been able to do it so far. And it is not a one time activity either. Lots of these activities have to happen at some regular frequency.

All I have time to do each day is dishwasher loading, unloading (even this activity is sometimes too much on some days, and I have sink full of dirty dishes awaiting me today at home), and the lunch cooking activity I mentioned above. Anything else seems overwhelming right now. And all this disorganization makes me almost hate regular cooking so much.

An ideal scenarios for me right now seems like getting a desi cook in a few times a week to cook under detailed instruction from me on oil and spice usage. That way I know atleast the quality of produce and overall hygiene and other things, rather than her making all the food away from eyes. And this service is not cheap, but probably something I need to just come to terms with paying for. Someone here even told me you have desi aunties who take over all kitchen organization duties, right down to making a list of groceries for you to buy. I am personally giving myself a few more weeks to deal with kitchen organization and somehow get my cooking mojo back before I go in search of some kitchen help.



6 Responses to “Cooking (or lack thereof)”

  1. Bhavani May 26, 2016 at 11:09 pm #

    Pop, Somehow I never had the enthu to cook for the full week though I have been working full time from day in the US. Always always cook every night well almost…weekend tend to make Dosa, Adai etc batters. We are ok with having dosa etc for dinner and be done. 2-3 times proper cooking happens like sambar, curry etc. I buy/make roties depend on energy. So now I have got used to it and don’t think as a big chore. I keep helping kids with HW etc while cooking. But my kids are a little older and that makes it easier. When they were small it was the same story like yours. And I did have a Punjabi cook to come twice a week who would cook, clean and fold clothes. We got bored after a while and I missed my proper south Indian food. Kids got a little independent too. So am back to being my own.

    Hope things get better for you soon…


    • popgoesthebiscuit May 27, 2016 at 1:44 am #

      B, what time do your kids sleep? Do you cook after that for the next day? Or as soon as you come home? I am unable to do either..I really enjoy playing with her most evenings and then I fall asleep with her at 9:30. I lie down to make her sleep and I cannot get up afterwards. i am up at 5:30 most days. And that lets me prep lunch boxes and exercise. Not sure how I can change any of this. Maybe she will grow soon and not want me to play so much.. but then I always see myself wanting to set aside 2 hours of just being with her in the evenings and talking. Probably need to get that cook. See no other way around this for me

    • popgoesthebiscuit May 27, 2016 at 12:51 pm #

      Ya ..going to give it time and then mostly do a cook. Sadly my child calls me maybe thrice and then stops asking for me if I cooking. And to me at this point in our lives I feel I need to spend those 2 hours in the evening fully with her

  2. princessbutter May 27, 2016 at 4:59 am #

    Do get a cook. What is the point of getting exhausted and sacrificing baby time for a meal cooked by you? As long as you get healthy, good tasting food, as well as quality time, it won’t matter if you made it or paid someone to do it. Totally worth it to get help. If I have a family, I will do the same. You can always change the timings or schedules as situations change.
    I remember, last year, I asked my mom how in the world she managed a job and raising me and proceeded to give a hug to her. She must have been exhausted! She said the only thing she hated was to put pressure cooker for some reason and cooking was fine as long as bai showed up. I can’t imagine man. I even think of the women in early morning and late evening local trains or Pune-Mumbai trains doing cutting, chopping and stuff and my heart goes out to them. Most of my married friends in Pune-Bangalore can afford cooks and have them now. It’s just like, I pay more rent to stay close to work and get more time. I would pay someone to give me a healthy meal(if I could afford) to get even more time.

  3. Dil On The Rocks June 10, 2016 at 1:43 am #

    Ahh! Cooking headaches. 🙂 I have tried it all as well. I did night cooking as well. But ultimately, if the kitchen wasn’t clean, that brought down my intention to cook as well. Did you try looking for cooks or home cooked food services? Its helping us at the moment. Little more time with the kiddo and other stuff around the house. 🙂

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