I am so bloody tired of cooking dinner, that I’ve actually lost all interest in food. You’d think would thin me out a bit, but I guess there are still calories in scotch?
The endless reputation of meal preparation is sucking my will to mom. The meals my kids like, I don’t like. The meals I like, no one likes. And all the engineer talks about is that one time our neighbor made something called a pot roast. I don’t think you can make that with tofu, but do pass along your recipes if that’s a thing. (When we hang out with Whiskey or Smokey he uses company as an excuse to cook bacon…every day.)
The internet assures me that the meals I’m making for my growing children should be whole and organic and from scratch and possibly raw and ideally harvested by hand from imported earth in my backyard (because the local soil has arsenic and is currently growing quite a crop of belladonna). I know a few lovely women who do all of that, well, which makes me feel like burning down all the things and walking through the fire to my new life, preferably as something that lives on carrion and pizza rolls.
Each day I wake up dreading the production that is dinner. Literally, before breakfast is on the table I’m like, “shit, I gotta make dinner AGAIN today.” If it was just me, I would live on goldfish and scotch, but it’s not just me. I have people to keep alive. People with growing brains and bones. I’m not just responsible for their existence, I’m responsible for their future health. Frankly, the pressure is getting to me. I mean, to quote Judge Smails, “The world needs ditch diggers too.”
Little flashback to childhood in the eighties: Our mom worked. Like, a lot. And she traveled and dated and had a life outside of us. That didn’t leave a lot of time for dinner. On the weekends, she’d make pork chops and boil in the bag rice and steamed broccoli. It was not organic. Weeknights, though…oh the beauty of it. Sunday, shopping day, we’d walk down the frozen aisle at Safeway, Whiskey and I flanking the cart. I remember always wishing I’d brought a sweater, but never having one.
We’d scan the colorful boxes behind the glass, anticipating cravings days in advance. Would it be a Salisbury steak kind of Tuesday? What even is Salisbury steak? We’d choose our five meals for the week in five perfect boxes. Whiskey went straight for the biggest boxes, the Hungry Man dinners marketed toward sad, single loggers and shut-ins. I went for whichever came with free stickers and a palatable looking dessert compartment. Polar bears and penguins cavorted on the cover, assuring me that all of my food groups were in perfect alignment. Chicken, Chicken, Meatloaf, Fish sticks, Chicken, my week went. Or, more to the point, Apple pie, Apple pie, Cobbler, Brownie, Apple Pie. For some (nuclear) reason the dessert never cooled, so we had a permanent roof of the mouth blister, but it was worth it.
I can’t tell you how I long to stock my fridge with TV dinners and call it a week. Once the neighborhood caught wind of it, there’d be some sort of intervention, though. Concerned moms would show up with casseroles. They’d whisper about me on the playground.
Maybe, one day, I’ll suddenly start deriving joy from the chopping and sauteeing and braising…and of course that inevitable look of crushing disappointment on my children’s faces as I plate the hour of loving effort.
Or maybe we’ll just go out.