I suppose it's my turn to send you a coNUNdrum. Here goes:
When Sam and I entered wedded bliss almost 24 years ago, I had one meal in my cooking repertoire: non-gourmet lasagna, cucumber salad, and "cheesecake" poured into a ready-made graham cracker piecrust—covered by a layer of strawberry Jell-o.
Amazingly enough, Sam didn't feel ripped off, but I was smart enough to know that might not always be the case.—ergo, I dove into cooking, and baking with gusto. It didn't matter that we lived in a quaint and kimchee-filled Korean village. Sam had gone out of his way and budget to buy me a narrow stove and oven—NOT typical where we lived. He's always been altruistic that way.
I biked to the library on Camp Red Cloud, checked out a stack of cookbooks and was on my way to gastronomical achievement.
My mother-in-law (Mom), who is an EXCELLENT chef, continued my education once we returned to the states. Then we moved to a country house, where I was able to put all this learning into practice—dinner parties ensued.
Fast forward to last year. Maddie and Katalina and Spencer (off-spring), all had reached or were closing in on their 20s and were doing their own thing. I began a full-out love-affair that had been brewing on the back-burner for years—writing. Short stories, devotionals, novels, not to mention Facebook (hangs head sheepishly)—and now a blog. With all that time at my laptop, there hasn't been much time at the stovetop. Not that I'm conflicted. I don't WANT to spend time in the kitchen. I fix healthful meals—90-second brown rice, microwaveable fresh vegetables, grilled meat, but Sam is accurate when he says: Honey, no one opens up dinner like you.
Not that he's complained—much. His eyes do light up when, on the rare occasion, he observes me dust off the stove's glass top. (Sometimes I find a sad face fingered into the dust before I wipe it down.) Sam has become a huge fan of "Hell's Kitchen." I don't know how to read that. And what about the droolish appearance he gets when Recently-Married-Maddie describes what she's been making from the "Cooking Light" magazines I pass to her—even though the subscription was a gift to me from "Mom." Hey, I wonder if Sam put "Mom" up to that. I wonder , too, if "Mom" is reading this.
Food is foundational—nourishment, communion, comfort, so here are my questions related to this coNUNdrum:
1. Do I need to force myself back into the kitchen?
2. Is it okay to take a break? If so, how long?
3. Any advice (offbeat or otherwise), for getting back into cooking enjoyment?
4. Any other solutions?—ones that I can afford. All that writing hasn't made me much money—yet.
If you have an answer too long for the "comments" section, you can email it to me. I'd like to post some answers on Friday.
I appreciate any insight/help you send my way!
Lost that Cooking Feeling