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What’s Cooking? #mealplanning #cooking #homemaking #burnout » Jolana Malkston
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May 112017

If you’re a homemaker, unless you’re Rachel Ray or Martha Stewart, after a time you probably found yourself becoming burned out on planning meals and cooking. I know for a fact that I am already there and have been for quite a while.

As a newlywed, I had a very tiny dinner repertoire. I could make pasta sauce and meatballs—being of Sicilian descent, I would be disowned if I couldn’t—and I knew how to bread and fry veal and chicken cutlets. In addition to preparing a few other dishes I learned from my mom and grandmother, I was extremely adept at opening a can of soup. My favorite cookbook was Peg Bracken’s The I Hate to Cook Book.

I gradually added to my repertoire through the years, only scorching food on occasion, and for a while it was interesting and challenging. Eventually, my enthusiasm waned. I found myself gazing into the maw of unending menu planning, forever ingredient shopping, and infinite meal cooking. In plain English, meal prep became a colossal drag. If I didn’t need to eat to go on living, I wouldn’t cook given a choice.

So it came as a surprise when MG developed an interest in cooking after he retired. Had he gone off the deep end? I was more than thrilled whenever he pitched in by doing the dishes. This new interest was totally unexpected from a guy whose only cooking expertise was in making beanie-weenies and popcorn.

At first, he cut out recipes from the newspaper for me to try. Once MG began using an iPad and joined the rest of the family on Facebook, he started collecting the recipes and how-to cooking videos in his newsfeed. He then took his new obsession one step farther. He began to prepare those recipes on occasion.

His newfound interest in the culinary arts astounded me, but in no way did I discourage him. My mama didn’t raise a fool. I was pleased that his derangement had taken a direction that benefited me personally.

A few days ago, MG nearly floored me with a startling announcement. He said that he believed he should help me out in the kitchen by preparing dinner one night a week. He would go the whole nine yards—plan the meal, shop for the ingredients, and cook it himself. I congratulated myself on being able to remain standing and not lose consciousness upon hearing this incredible news. I heard a squeaky voice say, “Really?” I determined upon retrospect that it was mine.

MG’s first outing as a volunteer chef will take place this week on Friday evening. I am so looking forward to not cooking and being the one who is served.

O brave new kitchen that has such people in it!

  4 Responses to “What’s Cooking? #mealplanning #cooking #homemaking #burnout”

  1. You too? The I Hate To Cook book was one of my first, and most cherished, bridal shower gifts. Best of luck with the recent windfall. No matter what he cooks or how it comes out, your job is to convince him it’s delicious!

  2. Nothing better in this world than a man who can cook! I’m hoping mine will contribute more when he retires. He has a few recipes in his repertoire now and I’m always happy to turn the kitchen over to him. Love it that the one and only son is a cook and it’s great when he’s home. This mama has cooked enough!

    • Amen to that! Our spouses and children helping wth cooking chores is so appreciated because homemakers never get to retire. It’s a lifetime job! ?

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