In Manhattan, you can order any cuisine at virtually any time of day that you’d like. There are even cupcake vending machines! Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert are all at your fingertips.
I apologize to my Jewish heritage, as the whole idea of cooking a big ol’ meal does very little for me. It allows you to eat and continue living, but the prepping and the cleaning take the fun out of it. In all honestly, I find it boring.
I Have Good Intentions!
Since I work from home, I 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 lousy 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 crockpot rotisserie oven thing. My interest perked. Ooh, this might work! It looks so easy, and it’s dishwasher-safe, too! If you “Buy now, you get one free.”
These infomercials are aired in the middle of the night for a reason. There I was, half asleep, pretty much a salesman’s dream. This is a must-have. It’s like 1:00 a.m., and we are both watching this intensely. I’m a little excited, and I thought my husband was game. We watched for the entire 30 minutes, and then he went and shut off the television. “Hey! I want that. I will cook! I promise!” No response, except for a snore. He knows me too well.
I went to a Pampered Chef party a couple of years ago, and the host hated me. Not my friend who hosted (I hope!), but 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 Dutch oven that she used could be my savior. You could braise, simmer, slow cook, fry, boil, bake, broil, microwave, and grill in one pan! I’d buy it and instantly become “the” suburban mom!
I was 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 might have folded. However, since it was cooking, I listened and decided not to purchase anything. I tried to avoid the cooking sales lady, but she soon approached me asking what I’d be buying, and I replied that I would pass. I don’t know if I had a look of fear as she gave me an interesting stare and mumbled, “I’m not sure what you’re so afraid of.” Ouch. True story.
My Family Does NOT Starve
What my husband and I seem to do well is “prepare” (and he “prepares” more than I do). We’ll do tacos with those already-made grilled chicken strips, a simple pasta dish, or big salads with shrimp. On 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 a staple once a week. 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!)
We also order takeout once or twice a week. When my husband travels, dinner may 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. My kids have also gotten overly excited about a bowl of pasta for dinner. Their favorite is “Make Your Own Sandwich Night.” I’ll put out a bunch of cold cuts and cheeses, with some options for bread, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, and condiments. I always have a happy crowd. Sometimes the side will be french fries or sometimes even potato chips.
The Meals of the Future
It’s not only the women in relationships who cook. Many men are awesome chefs. 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 we are happy to have you in the club!” I certainly set you up pretty well. Alternatively, if she likes to cook, I’ll say, “You’re welcome!” because you have one-upped your mother-in-law.
Let’s Focus on the Positives
Although I’m far from a master chef, there is one must-have at our dinner table, which has nothing to do with the actual food. Unless we are traveling or have a commitment outside the house, we 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 takeout menu!