Sunday, October 29, 2006

Cooking Sunday

Over the past few weeks, I've gotten into a habit of doing a lot of cooking on Sundays. Part of this is because I've been committed to packing lunches and eating like a sensible person. If one hopes to stay true to such commitments, and one is a busy person, one must plan ahead. It's also that I've been so busy during the week that I come home exhausted and don't feel like cooking. So I cook like those women you hear about who make a week's worth of meals for an incompetent husband before they go out of town to visit their ailing sister or something. I make vast quantities of food, enough to feed multitudes, when really there is just me.

Now, the funny (funny odd, not funny haha) thing about me is that I much prefer cooking for myself than cooking for other people. Most people I talk to will say that they can't be motivated to cook when it's just for themselves. They need to cook for someone to be motivated. For me, though, cooking for others is not generally ideal. I find myself afraid to experiment, concerned that the food I'll make won't be well received. I tend to stick to recipes of which I am certain. And this takes a lot of the fun out of it for me. But the cooking I've been doing on Sundays has been of the more inventive variety. While I may start with a recipe, I find myself tweaking it as I go. I don't follow directions precisely; I make adjustments according to my own whims. Or I just make up recipes, and try them out. I've never been in a position where I felt comfortable doing such things when I've cooked for others. When I cook for others, I tend not to try new things. I go with what I know will please.

The liberating thing about cooking for yourself - cooking really delicious things for yourself, rather than just making a stupid frozen pizza or eating cereal or something - is that if you screw it up and the food comes out bad that it's no big deal. There's nobody to complain. You can throw the bad food out if you don't like it, and nobody will be the wiser. And so that then allows you to take risks in the kitchen - to try out something that you've never tried out before.

I love cooking. I think cooking might be my one and only actual hobby. And I think I do make yummy food.

But I'm not a gourmet cook. No, not at all. I don't have the patience for recipes with too many ingredients; I don't have the interest in learning complicated methods of preparation. Instead, I tend to gravitate toward foods that are simple and comforting.

So today, the cooking began with brunch, after I'd gone to the grocery store. I made myself scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese and ham and a piece of wheat toast with blackberry jam. (By the way, I will only eat my own scrambled eggs and my mother's. Why? Because I hate scrambled eggs that are not fluffy (a), that are too dry (b), or that are too runny (c). I NEVER get scrambled eggs if I go out to eat - only over-easy.)

Then, this afternoon, I made a delicious roast. A roast, you say? For one person? Well, yes. But I did something with the rest of it later. At any rate, I made a 2.5 lb. roast, and I made some mashed turnips to accompany it. Mmmm. Love turnips.

After I had my dinner, I then took the remaining roast beef and cut it into bite-sized pieces. And I made some beef, barley, and mushroom soup. While that was cooking, I then took some apples, cored them, and sprinkled them with splenda and cinnamon, used some of that "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!" stuff that is no calories, and baked them.

When the soup was done, I put it in individual serving-sized containers, and I freezed half of them. When the apples were done, I put all but one portion in individual serving-sized containers and put them in the fridge. Then, I had my dessert: the baked apples with a dollop of sugar-free cool whip. Delicious! Like apple pie without the crust! (Though I've got to say, I do make a wicked-good pie crust, and I did miss it, but as it is about 7,000 calories per bite, I will have to wait until thanksgiving for that treat.)

I am really excited for all of my meals this week. And on one night when I'm feeling some cooking energy? I'm going to make one of my favorite things - cabbage and noodles. (I know, it doesn't sound all that great, but trust me - a better comfort food there never was.)


helenesch said...

I myself don't like to cook much, but what you've been doing ounds exactly like what my friend does. She's single and lives alone and spends several hours each Sunday cooking up various concoctions (some of which are quite experimental and seem strange to her friends) and then freezing them for her lunches and dinners for the upcoming week. I'm amazed at how well she eats, and she really likes being able to get home from work each evening and not have to worry about cooking. And this certainly sounds more healthy (not to mention cheaper) than getting take out on a regular basis.

Wiccachicky said...

Cooking is a comfort thing for me too. I like having other people to cook for, but I love Thursday nights when I cook only for myself.