It bothers me that at age 40 I still don't know which cut of beef makes the best pot roast. These questions that can so easily be answered-- by Google, by my mother-- that I can't seem to find the answers that sometimes keep me awake at night, like I haven't earned the right to the answer.
I'm a good cook. I don't even think that's debatable, but because I don't cook often, it feels like it is. There's an unwinding that happens as I walk from my school to my car and begin the drive toward home that I can't seem to turn off. And it's not that I'm physically tired, it's more of an unwinding of mind and spirit, a release of duty that is nearly impossible to reverse. I am often the last person to return home, and this usually has me asking, as I go through the mail on the table, "What's for dinner?" to the nearest male. The answer is usually a sigh, a moan, a suggestion to eat out, or an actual answer if you're my self sufficient youngest son. He waits for no man, that one. He likes cooking and being in charge of when he eats and what he eats. Also, he's good at it, and he shares.
That doesn't mean I never cook, but I've taken to crockpot dinners and quickie stove-top meals, not the fried chicken of my youth. My mother used to buy a chicken-- an entire chicken-- remove the insides, cut the thing up, create a flour coating and fry the pieces in Brady-mom Wesson.
I think of this, I consider the effect such a meal might have on my family, and I remain solidly unmotivated.
Maybe I will make a cheesecake from scratch over Christmas break. I used to do this all of the time when I was a stay-at-home mom. I cooked pot roasts, homemade biscuits, casseroles, stir-fry, even an occasional stew. I guess I need to recharge, to coil that creative energy back up and ladle it out over carved turkey or hand-mashed potatoes.
But not before I write. Darn it. I've got to write this break. Write now, cook later. My kids seem willing to forgive this transgression in favor of McDonalds or Cousin Vinny's Pizza a couple of nights a week.
You there, the one about to comment on what a dreadful mother I am? No need. I'm well aware. Thank God, they're healthy and not overweight. They are getting soft though... maybe they could pick up jogging or sit ups or something... or sit and think about doing those things like their mom.
I diverge. I divulge. I wish I cooked more often and varied. I wish I exercised with my kids, so we could all tone up. Well, they'll tone up, I'll lose 45 more pounds. Yep, that seems like a good plan.