My Home Cooking Is On Life Support

I’ve come to realize that one of the casualties of the pandemic is my cooking. I just don’t do it anymore. Well, not with the same zeal.

I am not alone. As this article from People points out.

“Americans have hit their tipping point in the kitchen, as nearly half feel ‘drained’ thinking about prepping their next meal . . .”

I think I really had some good cooking skills and enjoyed it. I even had a professional chef kindly call me “chef” once. But now, I’m having a hard time getting myself pumped to prepare even the simplest dishes. I really don’t know why I fell out of love with it, but that’s what it feels like – flickering love, a dying relationship. Cooking. (Sigh) What did I ever see in you?

Before Covid, I enjoyed shopping. A trip to a grocery or specialty food shop was a delight. After Covid, most of my stuff was delivered to my doorstep. It was and is a wonderful thing, but it keeps me from handling and carefully selecting my ingredients. It is impossible to expect Instacart shoppers to select only the best. They seem to have trouble reading labels or picking which fruits are ripe. I wouldn’t dare expect them to choose a gourmet cut of protein. So, I’ve gone for the easy, the quick, the processed. The typical corporatized American diet. My health and waistline reflect it.

I am venturing back into the grocery stores. Still masked, of course. But, it just doesn’t seem the same. There are supply shortages. Store workers are stressed. Fellow shoppers are still pandemic standoff-ish. There’s little eye contact. I’m wondering if we have forgotten the social skills required to be among people.

To maintain minimal skills with the least prep, I tried every dinner kit service out there: Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, Freshly, Home Chef, Martha & Marley Spoon, Daily Harvest etc. I grew tired of the flavors and the expense.

I’ve let most of my cooking website subscriptions lapse. Don’t need those when you’re eating frozen pizza. I no longer watch cooking TV channels, which I could blame on Guy Fieri or too many cooking competition shows, but I won’t – it’s me.

This was one of my dishes from a few years ago. I think it’s Morrocan chicken with olives and preserved lemons. I even preserved my own lemons. I can’t find the recipe. It’s like looking at a photo of a long-lost friend.

As they used to ask, “Is there hope for this relationship?” Too soon to say. Last evening I served my wife pan-seared chops with a strawberry mustard sauce. Today I am cleaning my six-burner gas range and its 600 CFM hood. There are weak signs of life.

Thought In Memory Of Thomas Brown

“Laugh often, long and loud.”

George Carlin