Minimizing in the kitchen

It’s no secret that I hate cooking. I also hate being in the kitchen in general. So why do I have kitchen appliances that I can’t immediately name and 37 knifes? Why do I have “good plates”? One thing that has made it a little easier for me to be in the kitchen is not having so many appliances and cookware that I will never use. I think I got rid of about four frying pans and six pots of various sizes. At best, each of these was used once a year. What I have left is a very large pot, a small pot, and a frying pan. Here is where I did go out and buy something–a cast iron frying pan. I use it at least two or three times a week, and it seems to be true that things taste better when they are cooked in it.

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The pan I bought, which is super heavy. I think the brand name is Lodge.

I also thought about minimizing cooking without sacrificing money or healthiness. I’ve been reading about those industrious people who cook all their food for the week on one specific day a week. I’m the type of person who could eat the same thing several days of the week, and not be bothered by it, so this idea appealed to me on that merit. But I wanted to start small, because the task was so daunting to me. After looking online for the kinds of things that fared well, I went with rice and beans. It took about an hour to cook up, but I made a ton, and we can eat this every day (with other foods added for variety) with hopefully minimal effort.

If anyone is interested, here is the recipe:

3 cups brown rice

1 medium onion

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon garlic paste

1 can black beans

1 cup frozen peas

2 tablespoons vegetable soup mix

Cook the chopped onion in the olive oil and add garlic paste (or chopped garlic). Add water and rice and bring to a boil. Add beans, peas, and soup mix. Cook on simmer for 45 minutes or until water is gone and rice is cooked. The finished product was pretty tasty, and I think pretty healthy too! It’s easy to heat and eat with a salad, an egg, or whatever else you have, because it does seem to go with almost anything. Of course it can always be eaten by itself if you’re in a rush and nothing is around.

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Here is a not-very-appetizing photo, but I’m not a food blogger per se, so I think it’s good enough. And by the way, this was all made and is currently stored in the one large pot I kept, so they is very little clean up.

If you have any very easy, moderately healthy, make-ahead recipes, I would love to hear them!

My list of strong dislike

Recently, my husband asked me to write a list of things I hate. (Why we give each other seemingly arbitrary and meaningless tasks is a story for another day.) My list, of course, is still in progress, as I expect to continue and maybe even grow my hatred as I get older. Anyway, here is the first draft of the list:

1) All puppets with the exception of sock. Do I really need to explain? All are so creepy, especially ventriloquist dummies. Sock puppets, however, are on my love list. All my sons’ school projects will hopefully be able to be done in sock puppet.

2) When, on a television show or movie, or in a book, someone throws away the results of a paternity test without opening it. I will stop watching. Seriously, it’s why I stopped watching Veronica Mars. (That and I couldn’t tell any of the male characters apart for some reason; they looked like identical clones to me.) If you are going through the trouble of ordering the test, at least look at the results!

3) Cooking. There are few things in the world that I hate as much as a hate cooking. Even though I am half Italian, I get little to no joy out of watching my kids eat something I’ve cooked. One of the reasons I still bother release paper copies of my books is I love seeing the tangible results of my endeavors. When you cook something, the most you can hope for is that it will all be gone in an hour or two. No matter how yummy it is, I think, “Why did I even bother?” I also had to stop bringing sandwiches to work for lunch because the act of putting something between two slices of bread and wrapping it up was enough to infuriate me. Now I just bring frozen dinners that everyone yells at me for eating because of the salt, but at least microwaving them doesn’t make me want to rage at the world.

I think it’s also the time sink of cooking that bothers me. When we get home from work and school, we have very little time together as a family before the kids go to bed, and I would really rather spend that time with them than in the kitchen. Nothing puts me in a better mood than going to the park after work, and then getting a slice of pizza. I get to have fun outside with the kids, and then no cooking and no clean up. But even though we live in New York City, and yes, we have some of the best pizza available, sometimes I am forced to cook nevertheless. But nothing makes you appreciate the days of swings and mozzarella like those days with the oven and dishes.

As I’m writing this, I remember my son reprimanding me this morning for using the word “hate,” so I am downgrading this to the list of strong dislike. But I want it noted that “dislike” doesn’t seem like a powerful enough word to adequately describe the loathing and horror I feel when I see a ventriloquist dummy.

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