Confession. I have a passion for not cooking. It’s not that I can’t cook. I can follow instructions with the best of them (whoever “them” might be). It’s that I’d rather not cook. And it’s a crying shame because I love eating.
I’m certain my passion for not cooking is genetic. My mother has the same passion. As one of 12 kids growing up, food in her family was made solely for survival purposes, not necessarily for enjoyment. Evening dinners required strategizing by Grandma—14 mouths on a budget!—and survival-of-the-fittest tactics by each child to fill his/her plate. Making meals was never about the process but about an end to a means. Twelve mouths screaming “I’m hungry!” will do that.
In marrying a farmer, Mom maintained that view of cooking. Crops needed planted or harvested. Animals needed fed. Kids needed tending. Time was of the essence. Hooray for Hamburger Helper, casseroles and cans of tuna!
I’m not by any means complaining. I happened to love all meals courtesy of the talking oven mitt, casseroles and tuna sandwiches, the latter of which were always served with potato chips and applesauce. When I went away to college, I lived off of cereal. Not necessarily because of its convenience but because of the love I had for it. The convenience was simply an added bonus. A roommate one time noted that I had seven boxes of cereal open simultaneously. She was impressed. I was impressed. I poured myself another bowl.
I’m out of college and in the professional world, and I still love the simplicity of cereal. And any other meal I can whip up in two seconds flat. After a long work day and an hour and a half at the gym, my hunger level is high and my patience level low. Those levels always seem to be mutually exclusive.
However, these days—and thanks to someone who enjoys cooking with and for me—I’m beginning to be far more appreciative of meals that require my-definition-of detailed planning and ingredients like coriander or coconut milk. Though those meals take longer to make (seriously, EVERYTHING takes longer to make than a bowl of cereal), they’re always worth the wait. And the process? It’s pretty good too.
Maybe one day I’ll shake those genes of not-cooking passion and follow through on planning a week’s worth of meals and cooking every night. In the mean time, I’m going to go have a bowl of cereal.