The Year in Cooking 2014

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I measure my life in meals. When the kids are off from school, it seems the kitchen is in constant state of use, clean-up never quite complete. The dishwasher just beeped in the next room. It’s time. Again.

To be honest, I haven’t made a proper dinner this week, and yet it seems like we’re eating constantly.  We’re on vacation time: staying up late, sleeping late, eating with family and friends. Fortunately you can’t see me or my house right now. There may (or may not) be stuff all over the place. My real estate broker texted me about showing our house next week. I looked around and sighed.

Most of the time, I’m a veritable cooking machine. Sometimes I think that I could (should) spend less time in the feeding of my family. The planning, the procurement, the preparation. That is not, by the way, a humble brag. I’m not saying that I’m whipping up gourmet meals on the daily without breaking a sweat. I’m not the prettiest cook. Or the fanciest. Or the nicest. Generally I prefer that my kids stay out of my way.  Our generation of parents is supposed to cook cheerfully while supervising one child chopping, another child stirring.

I’m more the flushed cook moving too quickly, cooking many things at once, shooing my children out of my way.  I may even have (gently) swatted a hand trying to taste something before it’s ready.  Cooking together is for weekends.  Everyday weekday cooking is more of a kick-ass warrior solo event.  It has become my most cherished chore, though like everyone, I get burned out.  My own love of food and my always-hungry, mostly-appreciative eaters keep me going.  Individuals can and ought to pitch in.  But there has to be a point person.

There has been much spirited discussion online and off this year about what some see as the glorifying of the home cooked meal and what this may or may not say about our current state of gender roles and expectations. (click here to catch up on your reading). Though I’ve enjoyed the debate, I’m going to bow out and say this: I’m a person and a mother who does many different things. Cooking is one of them. It can be tedious and boring and unsatisfying. But mostly it’s not. Mostly it’s my favorite thing.

It’s been a good year in cooking and I’m going to tell you about it, mostly so I can remember it myself. Going into January, I’d like to remember what worked, what didn’t work, what got rave reviews, and record some new “keepers”.

See you soon with the first in the series!