What's for dinner? Got me.
By Dana Tuszke
It's five o'clock. You've just finished work. Now you must pick up the kids from daycare and get home in time to make dinner. You're half-way home when you realize you have no idea what's for dinner. What to do? Other than panic of course?
a) Make a quick stop at the grocery store and hit the deli for a rotisserie chicken and all the fixings.
b) Dial your husband on his cell and tell him to drive through the Golden Arches on his way home.
c) Dial Pizza Hut from your cell and order the Meat Lover's Deluxe.
d) Scrounge the refrigerator and pantry for whatever (left overs), "throw" something together, and hope no one complains.
If you're anything like me, you'd probably go with:
e) Tell your hubby and kids there's cereal in the cupboard and milk in the fridge and they can fend for themselves.
This seems to be the theme of the month for me. I've run out of ideas for dinner. Okay, that's not totally true. I'm pretty spoiled because my husband cooks 98% of the time. No, really. I have proof. But lately my husband has been working later leaving me to come up with meal ideas.
Don't get me wrong, I like to cook (or at least the idea of cooking), I just don't love it and I think that might be why my cooking isn't the greatest; because there isn't any love put into it.
Honestly, after working 8 or 9 hour days it's difficult to switch from working mama to cooking mama. And knowing that I married a man with a delicate palette and gave birth to a child who refuses to eat anything but Lunchables and Ramen doesn't make my time in the kitchen any easier.
Do I make something kid friendly (read: bland) like mac & cheese with hot dogs? Or, do I make something rich and flavorful to satisfy my husband's very picky taste buds? And what about my effort to eat a healthy, low fat diet?
Alas, you see my dilemma. I often wonder how many women feel the same way I do about cooking. It's like a pop quiz every night. Chicken or fish? Pasta, rice or potatoes? What about a vegetable?
I can understand why some women hate cooking. It's too much work. There's the fear of fire (and burning dinner, or worse, the house). There's the possibility no one will eat what you spend precious time whipping up. And then the clean up! Who wants to spend all that time doing dishes when you could be reading blogs instead?
Okay, I'm kidding. (Sort of.)
Maybe some of us are just missing the cooking gene. I look at my mother, an extraordinary cook, and I wonder where she learned to make her repertoire of recipes. Scalloped potatoes? No problem. Chicken dumpling soup? Easy peasy. Seven-layer salad? A cinch. Strawberry delight dessert? Piece of cake.
Growing up I tried to learn some culinary skills from my mother. I spent hours in the kitchen with her only to discover that I cramped her style. Our kitchen was small and she needed room to chop and grate and saute.
Before Doug and I were married I lived in a tiny apartment in town. I used my kitchen cabinets as book shelves and I'm not talking cookbooks. He still laughs at the time he came over to make me dinner and discovered I didn't own a butcher knife. Picture him chopping onions with a teeny little steak knife. Hilarious.
I think he told people I couldn't cook because I received hundreds of cookbooks at our bridal shower. Even more hilarious is the fact that my grandmother left me her collection of cookbooks in her will. Last time I counted there were 70.
As a working wife and mother I just don't have the time to dig through a cookbook to make some fancy schmancy dish I may not even like. There's got to be an easier way to get dinner on the table without all the hassle.
Am I the only one who feels this way? Tell me, do you cook? Love it or hate it? Are you strictly take-out? Hit me with your thoughts (no throwing tomatoes, please!).
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