So you say you don’t have time to cook…

Posted by    |  May 24, 2010  |  Filed under: Foodlife, Home

“What would you say to someone who said they don’t have time to cook?”

This question was posed to me by a local journalist who was at my house about two weeks ago.

Before I tell you what my answer to that is, let me describe that day.  It was a Monday and my shopping day.  I hadn’t slept all night for the second night in a row- typical kid sickness and insomnia stuff.  After doing the breakfast, dishes, get-‘em-off-to-school thing, I headed out to tackle “grocery day.”  I returned home to put the refrigerated stuff away. Heading out the door to pick up Sally by noon, I listened to the message on the answering machine regarding a business “project” I’ve been involved with.  There was a little crisis with that.

Sally, Penny and I headed off to Costco.  While in Costco, someone called about “the project” and gave me some information that alarmed me.  I went into crisis mode right in front of the sample lady with the dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets.  I gave each kid a nugget.  When the call continued, the girls got bored and asked for more chicken nuggets.  The kind sample lady let me give them some more nuggets.  Penny promptly dropped hers on the floor.  I decided that whatever is on the floor at Costco is probably healthier than whatever is actually in those nuggets.  I picked them up and passed them back to Penny, unfazed by the wincing gazes of on-lookers.

We brought the Costco haul home, and while I unloaded the groceries I made a flurry of phone calls about “the project.”  After the groceries were put away, I reallocated the time I’d hoped I’d be using to clean up the main floor of the house to managing “the project” crisis.  I had visions of reading in my local paper that, “While Ms. Shepherd might be able to cook, the time to do so clearly comes at the expense of housekeeping.”  Whatever.  I’m all about authenticity, right?

The journalist arrived.  I parked the girls in front of the electronic babysitter (a.k.a. TV) and we had a lovely conversation, enjoying the fine weather on the front porch.  Realizing I was rambling, it occurred to me that my sleep deprivation had made me just about as articulate as a drunken parrot.  When the elementary school kids got home from school we did a photo shoot for the paper as we shelled fava beans. I’d planned to have fava bean succotash with vadouvan grilled shrimp for dinner.

As I wrapped up the interview, I heard a loud thud and scream from the living room.  My 5-year-old fell (okay, was pushed) off the sofa and hit the back of her head on the edge of the coffee table.  It was bad.  The journalist escaped out the front door while I raced over to the neighbor’s house to see if she could watch the other kids while I took Sally to the ER.  She got four staples in her head.

The fava beans went back in the fridge and weren’t consumed until Sunday night.  Dinner was created in the kitchen of Corner Bakery.

Ah yes.  So back to my answer about the time question.  What would I say to someone who said that they don’t have time to cook?

Horse pucky.

Of course, that’s not what I said to the journalist, but that IS what I thought.  Every mom I know has a very full day.  Some moms work full time, some part-time, some are “so-called” stay-at-home moms who do lots of unpaid jobs all over the community.  We’re all super busy.

The reality is this:  if you are claiming that you don’t have time to cook, you are not being honest.  If you look the bear in the eyeballs you’ll see that you’re just disorganized and/or don’t think cooking is important.  Don’t be mad at me.  I’m right, aren’t I?

Here’s the deal with that:  that’s okay.  When I was a smoker, I had an epiphany that the reason I’d never been able to quit was because- quite frankly- I didn’t want to quit.  I realized that I needed to want to quit before I ever attempted it again.  I loved smoking and smoking was kind of an integral part of my identity.  I had to visualize what a non-smoking Jill would be like- as weird as that sounds.

Let’s be honest.  We all know it isn’t about time.  It takes as much time to load the kids in the car and go out to dinner as it would to cook something from scratch.  You’ll go to one of those cooking clubs and spend a few hours every couple weeks assembling meals.  You could just as easily get together with your husband and kids and do the same thing in your own kitchen.

If being in the kitchen freaks you out, admit it.  If you are afraid of food because you struggle with an eating disorder, fine.  If you feel stressed out while you’re cooking because you’re thinking about all the emails and phone calls you should be doing instead, that’s okay.  If you just don’t believe it matters what you eat, be honest.  Just don’t claim that it’s a time issue.

I am way behind on writing posts.  I haven’t responded to anything but the most urgent emails in almost a week.  I’ve been sitting behind my laptop trying to crank out this week’s posts all afternoon and on into the evening.

We ordered pizza for dinner tonight.  It’s not because I didn’t have time to cook.  It’s because I wanted to get caught up more than I wanted to have a homemade meal.

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