I’m convinced that in my former life (well, if I believed in former lives, I would be convinced), I was a CHEF 🙂 🙂 🙂 And if it wasn’t in my former life, it would definitely be in my next one. Not only to I love to eat food, but I thoroughly enjoy preparing it as well. Unfortunately, I feel like it’s now becoming a bit of an obsession! The one area of my life that is absolutely perfect is my cooking and food preparation. I do think that this has something to do with the bit of OCD that I have which seems to be getting progressively worse as I age, but having said that, this is also one of the areas of my life where I get serious enjoyment and relaxation out of. Standing in the kitchen over pots is something that I thoroughly enjoy!!
So the week starts off with a full Sunday dinner (the equivalent of a Sunday lunch but cooked during the day and consumed after mass on a Sunday evening instead of at lunchtime). My menu is planned out in my head in detail when I do grocery shopping every weekend – something I tried out a few months ago and I’ve seriously never looked back. I did a cost comparison between monthly and weekly shopping and really, for our household, it’s much of a muchness financially. I still end up spending the same amount whether I shop for an entire month and fill up here and there or shop weekly and get only what’s required for the week. At any rate, I usually go to Pick n Pay on Saturday sometime. This in itself is a trip for Ethan and myself (sad, I know!). I usually pack him something to chew on for when he starts getting bored of roaming through the aisles (which doesn’t often happen these days because of my organized list all in my mind 🙂 ) and I buy him a juice of his choice as we near the end of the shop. Once a month, I have to get cleaning stuff for B to clean with and there’s obviously our toiletries but otherwise, it’s usually five packs of meat for five days – Sunday to Thursday – we get take-out on Fridays and usually “wing it” with sandwiches or 2minute noodles (I kid you not – this is not only one of Ethan’s favourites but the hubster’s and mine as well…done the way I do it, I promise, you’ll love it too! It’s a gourmet feast in itself) on a Saturday. Then of course, it’s the fruit and veggies. I plan my meals in such a way that fresh veggies are had on Sunday, Monday and at a stretch, Tuesday, because if I buy the vegetables (pre-cut) for any period longer than two or three days, they’ll be off by the time I want to use them. Whole veggies of course are slightly different but I only really buy potatoes, butternut or squash whole. So for the balance of the week – Wednesday and Thursday – I’ll usually make something like pasta with mushrooms or green pepper as the vegetables in it or we’ll have a meal without any veggies (shh, don’t tell anybody else). Mash and sausages make a regular appearance at the end of the week as does spaghetti bolognaise or mince and beans or savoury rice which I make with frozen mixed veg – all quick and easy meals, all little to no veggies included – or I make something with chips, like tomorrow night, it’s steak and chips 🙂 If I so feel inclined to make something “healthier” (read: with fresh vegetables), I’ll obviously pop by the shop on the way home and quickly grab something, but this seldom happens due to my strict planning beforehand.
Another thing that I’ve made quite a habit of doing is cooking the night before. This mainly came about when I felt that I had too little time to spend with Ethan every night. Now, we do have a full time live-in nanny and I guess I could ask her to cook or to help out (in fact, she has done cooking courses so she’s probably quite capable) but I really do prefer to do it all on my own. So generally, I’ll cook a full meal the night before so that all we need to do when supper time comes is warm the food up and eat. Of course, this isn’t always entirely practical e.g. making roast potatoes the night before and re-heating is just plain gross and a big NO-NO in our house! But most times, if I don’t cook the full meal, I’ll at least prepare for dinner the next night. So take last night as an example – I made a chicken pasta. The night before, I cooked the spaghetti and I cut the chicken up into small strips so that when I got home last night, all I had to do was fry the chicken, add some spices and a sauce and mix in the spaghetti. Easy peasy! It definitely gives me more time to spend with Ethan and I feel less rushed. Also, planning the meal in advance avoids the stress of what to cook for that evening – something that I experienced quite often in the past when I used to start cooking when I got home from work.
The only downside (well, to me it’s not a downside but for the hubster, he’s seriously concerned that my
obsession love of cooking and planning meals is going to lead me to have a nervous breakdown!) is that after Ethan goes down and we’ve had dinner, I then go back into the kitchen and start cooking for the following night. Most nights, I’m in the kitchen until after 9pm. But it really does relax me! I’m not one to stand over the stove and cook with 5pots at the same time. I think, for the most part, that I cook quite efficiently – so I’ll easily boil rice in a pot and once it’s done, cook the meat in the same pot. This also means that while I’m waiting for the rice to cook, as an example, I get to sit in the lounge and catch up with the hubster. So in a nutshell, cooking for me is really done at my leisure. Okay, I only get to really let go and unwind at around 9:30pm and then I’m in bed by 10, but hey, it’s what works for me. My mother was actually the one to suggest that I cook dinner the night before, and when she initially did, I thought the idea crazy but it really has now become a way of life.
My one problem though is that I
never ever very rarely deviate from the plan. There’s very seldom a spur of the moment let’s get take-out mid-week. There’s never rarely an evening that I don’t cook after Ethan goes to bed unless I’ve already thought up plan B in serious detail. I usually know the weekend before what I’ve got myself in for for the week ahead so if there’s a work dinner, there’s no leaving hubby to deal with supper on his own – food is cooked and prepared before, he just comes home and eats. No fuss, no hassles. Having said this, it is becoming increasingly hard for me to let go or loosen up in this area of my life and this is what’s becoming a problem. Where the hubster sees this as an area that he can help in and give me a break by simply ordering take-out or choosing toasted samis over a cooked meal (he’s a seriously easy eater – in fact, all this pressure that I have of cooking is totally self-inflicted…and there you were thinking that he’s a demanding husband hey?!), I cannot do this. It disrupts my entire week and is seriously hard for me to do. Yup, the OCD talking again, but I kid you not, this is a serious challenge for me. Last week, my sister picked Ethan up and took him out for the afternoon. The plan was for me to meet them at Papachinos and that afternoon, I made the decision to rather get pizzas for dinner while we were there instead of rushing home to cook dinner. It really was amazing. Ethan made his own pizza – ate most of it in the car on the way home – and when I got home, the hubster and I ate our pizza together at 6:30pm. We had all eaten by 7pm and were all relaxing. Come 8:30pm, I jumped up to put the oven on to roast the chicken for the next day’s supper. As soon as I turned the oven on, the electricity tripped. After turning the electricity back on, I put the oven on once again, and again, the electricity tripped. I joked to the hubster that it was a sign and that for one night, I was going to skip cooking. Can you believe it – the following night, I turned the stove on to cook supper and it worked absolutely fine! No problem, no electricity cutting out! I don’t know if you believe in signs but I do and it couldn’t have been any clearer that evening. I just needed to relax, take a break and “go with the flow”.
Perhaps it’s not such a bad thing after all? Perhaps I should slow down a bit and stop being a clean mean cooking machine!! 🙂 🙂 🙂
This weekend is going be a bit of a challenge but a seriously much needed break. I’m off to George with my best friend for a girls’ weekend away and we’re not lifting a finger. We plan to eat out both nights and get other food and snacks from the good old faithful…Woolies…but more about that in another soon-to-come post!