I used to love cooking. I have a kitchen full of useful (and not so useful) gadgets, some nice knives, a well-stocked pantry, a whole shelf of cookbooks, and a husband who will try anything once.
I also used to have a job that got me home at 5:15, few other commitments, and about seven solid hours of sleep a night.
We used to spend Shabbat meals socializing with other couples. I loved to have people over Friday night, so I could make soup as an appetizer. Six or eight people was nice.
Now I have carpool (three or four times a week), speech therapy (twice), music class (once). I work for a minimum of four hours a week (when my new!babysitter! comes), but it really should be more.
I am in two book clubs. I attend La Leche League meetings, although it was with some relief that I gave up hosting the meeting (can’t ever miss if you are the host).
I do a lot of laundry; I tend to small people who cannot yet bathe themselves, have bizarre food preferences, and try to pummel the snot out of each other at least twice a day.
I go to bed late and wake up early. I have a favorite treadmill at the gym.
The friends with whom we socialized back in the day have, with one or two notable exceptions, moved to the suburbs. Nobody goes out Friday night anymore; the kids have bedtimes. (Except in the dead of winter, when Shabbat starts at 4:11, we don’t go out Fridays either.) I have spent many years inviting people we meet through one channel or another over for a meal, couples without kids on Friday nights (soup!), families with kids for Shabbat lunch. Only rarely are these invitations reciprocated. It makes me, by turns, furious, sad, and paranoid. We are nice people, our kids are pretty well behaved, and returning invitations is polite.
All of this makes it difficult to get myself back on the cooking bandwagon.
Rosh Hashana, which is kind of the Thanksgiving of the Jewish holidays, is in a little over a week. A lot of people go to their parents’ or in-laws’. We stay at home. We used to have a cadre of friends who were raised far away or did not grow up religious; they also stayed around. So we’d spend a meal at home, with company, and the rest out with friends. No longer. Now it’s a week to go and I haven’t planned a thing. Taxman would like to have company, but most people have probably had plans for weeks. I guess we’ll eat alone and get to bed early.
Cooking seems so much more taxing and expensive. Kosher cheese costs twice as much as regular cheese. Kosher chicken never goes on sale. Buying organic, while good for our health and the planet and all that, costs a lot. Kosher organic is crazy expensive. Plus: Standing up in the kitchen, hot pots on the stove, with small people foraging in the fridge for “nack”? Not my idea of a relaxing fun time. Creating dirty dishes seems like so much trouble. Couldn’t we just eat cold cereal and tuna fish and call it a day?
The drudgery of it all makes me depressed, but worst of all is the loss of something I used to love. Just no joy in it any more.
If you have a recipe for something you think would help to start pulling me out of my funk, please pass it on.