Here’s the Beef
You want to know where the beef is?
Well, here it is.
I have it.
Yep, you heard me.
I have a beef with some of you.
Want to know what it is?
I’ll tell you anyway.
Too many of you now, after I share a delicious recipe post, have left comments about them here or on Facebook. And while many of the comments are thoughtful and nice, others are not. Not nice at all.
Comments like, “Wow, that looks amazing! I know I could never make something like that myself, but wow!”
“Hey, that looks like another delicious recipe. I’d love to try it, but I’d never make it for just myself.”
What? You think those comments sound nice? Well they’re not. Because think about it: Saying you can’t do something a Domestiphobe can do, is like admitting you weren’t potty trained until you were eight.
Those comments are mean to the people who wrote them.
And my beef is, whenever you deny yourself a pleasure simply because you think it’s too difficult to do or because it’s not worth the effort if no one else is around to enjoy it, you are doing YOURSELF a disservice.
And I have a beef with that. I can’t help it.
First, basic cooking is not difficult.
I didn’t learn this fact until I was 25-years-old. Until then, I’d thought of cooking as this mysterious kitcheny task with which only certain people were
burdened gifted, and that I was a soul relegated to takeout, convenience foods, and depending on my husband’s sporadic cooking spells for sustenance. (Justin enjoys cooking, too. Just not with vegetables. Ever.)
Knowing that I was a quarter-of-a-century old and thereby not getting any younger, a diet based on meat, potatoes, boxed meals and restaurant food was not the best thing I could do for my body. Or our budget.
So I started looking up recipes. And following blogs with step-by-step cooking photos. And looking up things I didn’t know on Youtube, like “how to blanch asparagus” and “how to dice an onion.”
I had to look up everything.
But, once I saw someone else do it, I realized it wasn’t nearly as hard as I’d thought.
The mystery had made it seem unattainable. But once that curtain was raised, it was like an entire slew of mental obstacles were removed and finally, I was able to try.
And really, that’s all you need to do. Will you (or I) ever be a gourmet chef? Certainly not. That takes a natural talent and passionate dedication I know I’ll never have. And will I mess up? Certainly. Many a meal has turned out less-than-savory or completely inedible due to mistakes on my part.
But, just like anything else, mistakes are how we learn.
What bothers me more, my friends, than a lack of desire to try (after all, that’s your prerogative) is the lack of desire to make an effort for just yourself.
The military takes my husband away for the occasional week or 6 at a time. And, when he’s gone, I live like a single person — a single person who’s not allowed to date or have sex with anything other than a battery operated device. So. You think I’m just going to keel over and subsist off of nothing but Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and Tuna Helper for the duration of his absence?
I mean, I keep those things around. Don’t get me wrong. And sometimes I do resort to making them, especially on nights when I’m feeling particularly lonely and nostalgic for the simplicity of the boxed meals of my youth.
But the truth is, the nights I feel the best are the nights I take the time to do something for myself. When I get home, pour myself a glass of wine, turn on some music or the news, and set to work.
Work, it turns out, isn’t so bad when you get to enjoy the fruits of your own labor. And the process itself is a great wind-down from the day. Start boiling the pasta; set a pan of bacon sizzling on the stove; mince up some garlic; grate some Parmesan; saute some frozen corn; toss it all together with some egg yolk and pasta water, and we have a creamy, satisfying pasta carbonara for one.
It sounds like a lot of work, but this can be done in 15 minutes. Just buy yourself a decent knife and take the time to learn the basics — like how to mince a clove of garlic and how to boil a pot of water.
Trust me — if you can learn to follow directions, you can learn how to cook. That is to say, if I, Ms-how-much-water-do-I-need-to-cook-pasta-and-what-pray-tell-is-a-“pinch”-of-salt? can do it, than you most certainly can do it.
If you want to.
Go to the “Living and Learning” tab at the top of my page. Click “Down the Hatch.”
Then, pick one.
Make a half batch of this chili. Bring the rest to share with co-workers, or live off of the leftovers for days.
Make yourself a Grilled Veggie Sandwich. The flavor will surprise you in a very, very good way.
Feeling daring? Make this pizza. Six ingredients never tasted so good. Your tastebuds will thank you profusely.
Or, do like I did last weekend and make yourself a mini appetizer plate — mine had mixed olives, smoked salmon, dill cheese, and chocolate.
Best. Dinner. Ever.
The point, dear friends, is that you really are worth it. So much more than shampoo, feeding yourself well makes you feel good from the inside.
You only get one body, and consistently stuffing it with processed junk isn’t doing it any favors.
Besides. If YOU’RE not worth the effort, then who is?
I love this post! Not everything has to be made from scratch, but getting real food on your plate is not that hard. It’s easy on the wallet, and sometimes it’s even quicker than waiting for the incompetent drive-through person to get your correct order to your car.
You know my passion for food/cooking…so I can get on board with this.
I’m excited about trying out a sweet potato muffin recipe I discovered a few weeks back. If it is successful (meaning my co-workers don’t die) then I’ve found one of my contributions to Thanksgiving this year.
Those sound delicious! You should definitely send me the recipe, too. :)
I do agree with you, but I also know I am completely guilty of what you’re talking about here. I actually love to cook and I think I’m pretty good at it, but I’m afraid a big part of it for me is the positive feedback I get, so when it’s just an audience of me, it’s often celery and peanut butter. I should work on that though.
Well, that’s slightly different, because you’re motivated by the feedback — not the actual food. Maybe you *love* celery and peanut butter, but it’s not exactly company worthy. ;)
I’m completely the opposite! When my husband is on the road, I am subjected to countless meals of tacos, pizza, sloppy joes, spaghetti, or cheese it crusted chicken (which I actually really like). When D is gone, I cook for the kids. I hate slaving over a stove after an already exhausting day just to have them not touch it. SO, I cater to them. When D is home, its a different story. I make what we are hungry for. I also have backup for when the kids don’t eat & I send them to bed without supper- they won’t starve between dinner & breakfast, I promise. When I am alone, I am ALL about making that yummy feast that only I would normally enjoy. Rare tuna steak? sure. Leek & pancetta pasta with cream sauce? most definitely. I gorge myself on the yumminess….If only I got more of those nights!
Ahhh those last meals you described sound so delicious! (And don’t worry about the letting your kids go to bed hungry thing — my parents used to do that to me, and I turned out just fine! And a LOT less picky.) :)
I probably more guilty than the average person since I went and graduated with my culinary arts…….when i get cured of this case of “Singleness” that seems to be cased by the fact or so I am told that i am a “great guy” and will make someone(else) a great b/f and actually have a g/f to pamper and cook for that thinks having a “great guy is a “good thing”. I will definitely be cooking more and will look at some of your recipes again. For now though actual cooking makes me feel even more “single” than normal ,,, soo I just stick to very basic stuff that involves hardly any preparation or effort.
Maybe it is different for you because even when your “alone” your really not. I know people who have had relationships where they were not even in the same country the difference is you know you have someone that cares for you and in your cases is coming back soon, is thinking about you, missing you and loves you for you. That right there knowing your not alone in this existance makes all the difference in the world.
Eugene!! You never told me you’re a freakin’ CHEF! :) I will say this: I think it’s a shame you don’t feel that YOU are worth the spoils of your gift. My point is that, especially if you’re single (but even if you’re with someone), you should love yourself enough to want to do nice things for YOU.
That said, I understand your point. I’ve been with someone so long, I sometimes forget what it’s like to feel truly lonely. But long term relationships can have their own set of problems — and every so often, a different kind of loneliness. I don’t doubt that you’ll find the right one someday. You remind me a lot of my friend Matthew (insidetheniceguy.com). He was also always labeled the “great guy,” etc. etc. but recently he found a great girl, who — gasp — actually appreciates that in a man. They’re out there — you just have to keep looking. :)
I LOVE cooking for myself, it is the only time I am guaranteed not to hear, “is there any broccoli, asparagus, etc. in this? What’s the green stuff, do you have penne instead of linguine…?” Like you my DH is often gone at dinner time and those are the nights I can get creative… or not…
[…] My point is that eating alone doesn’t always have to mean Easy Mac and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I’ve written about this before. […]