As much as I adore living in Westchester, I have come to the realization that it’s entirely possible that I was meant to live in Manhattan instead of the northern suburbs of NYC, for one primary reason – I’m not a fan of cooking. In Manhattan you can order in any cuisine at virtually any time of day that you’d like. There are even cupcake vending machines! Breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert all at your fingertips. Should I have moved south instead of moving south?
I apologize to my Jewish heritage, as the whole idea of cooking a big ol’ meal does very little for me. Obviously it allows you to eat and continue living – though the prepping and the cleaning takes the fun out of it. In all honestly, I find it boring.
I Have Good Intentions!
Yet, since I work from home, I do often envision cooking an extravagant meal for my family. I’ve saved recipes from Pinterest and Facebook. It’s not necessarily that I believe I’d be a bad cook – however, it just never comes to fruition.
One night my husband and I were watching late night television. There was an infomercial for this magical crock-pot rotisserie oven thing. My interest perked….Ooh – this might work! It looks so easy and it’s dishwasher safe, too! And if you “Buy Now,” it’s buy one, get one free. These infomercials are certainly aired in the middle of the night for a reason – here I am, half asleep and I’m pretty much a salesman’s dream. This is a must have. It’s like 1:00 am and we are both watching this intensely. I’m a little excited and I really thought my husband was game – we watched for the entire 30 minutes and then he goes and shuts off the television. “Hey! I want that – I will cook! I promise!” No response, except for a snore… He knows me too well.
A couple of years ago I went to a Pampered Chef party….and the host hated me. Not my friend who hosted (I hope!), rather the lady who did the show. No seriously. She did. The cook lady did her thing for us and voila – perfection. The meals looked easy enough – and they were yummy! This clay dutch oven that she used could be my savior. You can braise, simmer, slow cook, fry, boil, bake, broil, microwave and grill in one pan! I’d buy it and I’d instantly become “the” suburban mom! So so so tempted, but before I left the house my husband asked me not to buy anything. If it were a jewelry or clothing party, I may have folded….. However, since it was cooking, I actually listened and decided not to purchase anything. I tried to avoid the cooking sales lady, although she soon approached me asking what I’d be buying and I replied that I was going to pass. I don’t know if I had a look of fear on my face, as she gave me an interesting stare and mumbled something to the effect of, “I’m not sure what you’re so afraid of…” and walked away. Ouch. True story.
Now My Family Does NOT Starve
What my husband and I seem to do really well is “prepare” (and he “prepares” more than I do.) We’ll do tacos with those already made grilled chicken strips; or a simple pasta dish; or big salads with shrimp. Other nights we may have shake-n-bake pork chops, hamburgers or hot dogs. Not necessarily a thousand percent healthy all the time, but it’s all in moderation, right?
And speaking of hamburgers, McDonald’s is once a week is a staple – ironically after the kids get out of Hebrew School. We will stop by the drive through and bring home dinner. Sorry – that’s just the way it is. (Please don’t throw me out of Westchester!) And we may also order in once or twice a week. When my husband is traveling, dinner may even be a little more hodgepodge – soup, cereal, mac-n-cheese, maybe. I’ll also throw in baby carrots, cucumbers or celery to fulfill the veggie requirement.
My children, bless their palate, have very low expectations. My son loves my scrambled eggs and bacon. Both my kids have gotten overly excited about a bowl of pasta for dinner too. Their favorite is “Make Your Own Sandwich Night.” I’ll put out a bunch of cold cuts and cheeses, with a couple of options for bread, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, condiments and I have a happy crowd. Sometimes the side meal will be french fries or sometimes just potato chips. Cause since most our meals aren’t exciting or fancy, I gotta keep them guessing just a bit!
The Meals of the Future
Obviously, it’s not only the women in relationships who cook and there are many, many men are awesome chefs, but let me address a few possible future family members with those traditional expectations of “the woman is the cook”:
- To my daughter’s future spouse: I apologize if my daughter takes after me in the cooking department. Being that she is already “me” in most other categories, the chances might be strong that you’ll have a non-cooker on your hands.
- To my son’s future spouse: If you are also not a fan of cooking, I say “You’re Welcome! And happy to have you in the club!” I certainly set you up pretty well. Alternatively, if she does like to cook, I’ll also say “You’re Welcome!” because you have one-upped your mother-in-law. (Little lady, that will be all you’ll have that one up on. Understood? My mother once told me that mothers of boys are BAD. Yeah, I can see how that happens!)
Let’s Focus on the Positives
So although I’m far from a master chef, there is one “must have” at our dinner table – and it doesn’t have anything do with the actual food. Unless one of us is traveling or has a commitment outside of the house, the four of us ALWAYS sit down to dinner together. Growing up my husband’s family ate dinner together, as did mine, and we hope our children pass this down to their families.
I’m betting that’s what my children remember – not the fact we hardly eat fancy home cooked meals, but that whether it’s Mickey D’s or a bowl of pasta, we eat together as a family. And that, in my opinion, my friends, is the most important part of the meal.
Now, pass me that take out menu….