So I thought I would update you all on the co-habitation/engaged/housewife front. Though I am a fairly good knitter, you may noticed that I rarely blog about food, the way other knit bloggers do. The thing is, I enjoy eating food, but I am not particularly overcome with a need to document it. I eat it, it’s in my tummy, yay. But co-habitation has changed this.
First of all, I have enjoyed a New Yorker’s relationship to food since college and beyond. I ate out (by myself and with friends); I ordered take-out; and I ate cereal for dinner. And sometimes, I would cook a big batch of something and then eat it at work for lunch for a week–bean chilli, etc. This has been going on for more than a decade. I will say, in my parents’ defense, that I grew up with great food–my father is an excellent cook (my mom, not so much, sorry mom), and after working a whole day at the office, my dad comes home every night and makes a multi-course meal. With my dad, there’s always a soup, a starch (generally rice), and at least two to three family style dishes, often a meat and a fish, and vegetables. We never ate packaged food or “semi-homemade.” The most my dad would resort to is occasional canned chicken broth, but everything was from scratch. And of course, on the weekends, we went out for dim sum.
But as an adult, I totally did not live up to my dad’s example. New York is not only filled with great restaurants, it’s filled with lots of mediocre and cheap places to eat. I never lived in the suburbs, but I could see how one might be more incentive to cook if it’s hard to get anywhere without getting in the car and then having to eat at a crappy chain or something, but in most neighborhoods in New York (okay, maybe not Staten Island, but Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan, and probably the Bronx), you can walk out and get a taco from the bodega or Chinese takeout or a sandwich at the deli or a late-night grilled cheese at the diner. Hence, my slackertude. It’s not just me! Beyond the famous example of Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City keeping her shoes in her oven, I just read TWO articles in the real estate section in the New York Times about people who used their kitchen as regular storage, since they never cooked. Both were middle-aged bachelors–one a retired schoolteacher and the other, a fabulous interior decorator. (Both kept files on their stove.)
Anyway, but now that I am working at home and Adam is living with me, I felt that I should at least try to cook regularly. What I have learned over the past couple of weeks is that three nights/week of homecooking is enough to do me in. Perhaps in time, I can build up to my dad’s seven days/week skill set, but three days a week is hard enough. And you have to start early! You have to start prepping at 4:30 or 5 AT THE LATEST. Man, being a housewife is hard. (We won’t even talk about the rooms I have to clean and whatnot.) If I had kids and had to make three meals a day, let me tell you, I completely understand why you would be chained to the stove. And forget my dad’s multi-course meals, one dish is about all I can put together.
So I told my mom this (my mom, who almost never cooks) and she snickered. She was all, “Maybe you should get an office job where you make a lot more money so you can hire a housekeeper. Maybe you should go to law school. Besides your knitting, I’m not sure you really have any good homemaking skills.” Then I told my friend about my plan to cook and at first he was all, “Hmm, dinner when I get home at night? Maybe this is why people get married.*” But then he started thinking about this and was like, “Wait, is this just a scheme to get Adam to end up making dinner for you?” (No.)
*This same friend recently told me how to broil chicken breasts. I was like um, I know how to broil chicken breasts, ye-who-did-not-even-own-a-can-opener-in-college.
Like all cooks, I’ve had my successes and my failures, but because cooking is more of a process, I guess I understand why people feel a need to blog about it–it’s so DIY. Anyway, above is a photo of my biggest success to date–it’s a minstrone from scratch from the January 2010 issue of Cook’s Illustrated. (I have the web subscription.) It really was very tasty (lots of delicious secret ingredients including porchetta, parmesan rinds, and…V-8! Highly recommended) and received the highest of housewife rewards: raves from one’s man. I say, WHATEVER to raves, give me a tax break already. I swear, cooking has made me all Betty Friedan.* But then I remembered one of my friends who is the best home cook I know is also a full-time doctor. Sigh. Way to make everyone look bad, FRIEND.
*”Each suburban wife struggled with it alone. As she made the beds, shopped for groceries … she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question — ‘Is this all?” (<–you have to say that quote in a very ominous voice, because it’s obviously the voiceover to a movie where the wife starts an illicit suburban affair or something.)
Excuse me. I have to go clean.