Monday, February 23, 2009

I thought I WAS cooking!

I never learned to cook growing up. By the time I was old enough to pay attention, mom was going to school and working and she didn't have time to devote to much cooking. Breakfast was cereal or pop-tarts. Lunch on the weekends was opening a can of Vienna sausages and slicing off a hunk of cheddar cheese. Supper was often catch-as-catch-can, with our busy schedules interfering with a family supper. After ruining Thanksgiving AND Christmas dinner one year (what's the difference between preheat and bake, anyway?) I was no longer allowed in the kitchen to help prepare meals.

Fast-forward to my first year of marriage. We had our own kitchen, and DH is an excellent cook. On the few occasions where I had to cook, we had Stouffer's lasagna, Tyson chicken-kiev, Velveeta Mac-n-cheese, Banquet Crock-Pot Classics, and Digorno Pizza. Yes, I burned the food occasionally, even after we got the timer, and I sometimes forgot to turn the oven off until bedtime, but I was cooking.

Six years later, DH and I were contemplating the possibility of my staying home with our 17-month-old son and the one on the way. We wouldn't be making much money after paying for daycare for two, and as often as I had to take off work to stay at home with one sick child, I didn't want to think about how many days I'd miss with two children in daycare! So, DH decided that I could stay home with the children on one condition: I had to learn to cook.

Huh? So what had I been doing the past six years? I thought I WAS cooking! Apparently I'm still just some loser in the kitchen who can't handle a nice dinner. Yeah. Okay. Fine. I'll cook.

So with a bitter heart, I scanned cookbooks, registered on cooking websites, and found a few recipes that looked easy enough for me to do. I got the ingredients and... continued "cooking" what I was comfortable with... when I couldn't convince DH to cook. Knowing I was a failure in the kitchen, I made a conscious decision to avoid showing it off. For two years, I may have tried out a recipe once a month, but mostly stuck with my usual menu.

As I reevaluate my God-given roll as a wife, mother, and homemaker, I've realized that my "cooking" was destroying our budget, low on nutrition, and high in unsavory additives. My selfish, childish behavior was harmful to our family. Through meal planning, I've been able to add new things in bit-by-bit. Yes, it's been a process, but with God on one side and my DH chef on the other, I know I will succeed. Next step... cooking rice (and not the kind in a microwavable pouch!)

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