Cooking in the storm

I’ve always loved books.  I have said that before. Today, I have loved my cookery books.


Pre-kids, every weekend, I would get all my Jamie Olivers, Nigellas and Delias out in a big pile by the sofa and flick through each one, designing my dinner party menus and scanning for week day simple suppers.  I would make a long list of ingredients… draw up a plan and hit the supermarket.


Call me strange, but one of my favourite past times in those days was walking the aisles of the Sainsbury’s or Waitrose in Wandsworth, slowly pushing my trolley, ticking off my list, looking at new products… and if in Sainsbury’s, I would double up with some work tasks – such as checking the shelf edge labels to see if they had updated properly, showed the right price per lb, did they have the right promotional marking… generally, making sure any technical changes we had put in in the buying systems were filtering through to the store correctly.. (I could sometimes lapse into geek mode in my spare time.)


I would then spend my Saturday cooking up a storm, using every pot, pan, dish and utensil… lay a pretty table and take my time to get dressed while the Big Man would wash up, open wine, light the fire and the candles.


Fast forward 10 years….


I could never understand why my Mum, an amazing cook, said she hated cooking and food shopping.  When questioned about the fact, she said it was never the act of cooking she disliked, but the daily monotony of working out evening menus for us as children and then for her and Dad later on.


I can now totally relate.  Cooking has now become a daily chore rather than a weekend enjoyment…   Shopping with two toddlers in a supermarket is my hell in real life… many a shopping trolley abandonned.. Baking has become something we do on a rainy day and while the boys love it, the mess takes me just as long to clear up as it does to cook! It’s the trying to decide what to cook every day, day in and day out that gets tiresome.  And then sitting in front of the same food week in week out that dulls the food senses…  I have gotten to the point sometimes, I just can’t be bothered to cook… willing anyone else to just put a plate of food in front of me…  If I haven’t had to decide it or cook it, it is, to me, manna from heaven…. even if eggs on toast!


There have been periods of reinvigoration…


Nearly 6 years ago when Willy was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease and wheat and gluten was removed from our household diet, I got out my old books, ordered new gluten free cooking books on line and drew up a whole new weekly meal plan for us all…


Just about 3 years ago, when the Big Man came home from seeing a PT and a nutritionist and said we had to eat grass fed meat, full fat dairy, quinoa and sweet potatoes, lots of veggies and protein shakes… again, I was spurred in to action, bought new cookery books, looked on line for latest trends and got excited for our healthy lifestyle…


With the Big Man in London, my evening meals became lazy, bowl foods… greens of veggies or salad (sometimes both) and a lean protein on the top and if I had been working out, added carbs… if I couldn’t be bothered to cook, then leftovers from the pan from the boys’ tea.


In the last week, cooking has become an activity that has soothed me.  I have pulled my old friends off the shelf and been a little more adventurous… I have cooked a lentil curry, a gluten free protein loaf, spicy chicken burgers.. .make smoothies for the boys…


In the last week, cooking has become an activity that has calmed me while in the eye of a storm…Keeping me focussed on the moment in hand.  It has soothed my head and my heart,  not only in the process of page turning, chopping, stirring, mixing and blending but in the eating, the savouring and the satisfaction of making something good, for me and for those I love.


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