Like Darya, I’m the cook in our home, a real “foodie” with a tremendous culinary imagination, a wide repertoire of techniques and skills. When I’m “on,” I can wow my husband three times a day with healthy, delicious meals you could never get even in a decent restaurant out here in the middle-of-no-where Ohio.
However, I do run into the occasional dry spell where I simply can’t bear the idea of hitting the grocery store (and there isn’a Whole Foods or even a Trader Joe’s within 50 miles of here) and have no idea what to prepare and swrve. While Darya is, I think, very hard on herself, I find it completely normal — and healthy — to take a break when this happens without falling into an existential crisis about it. Ordering carry out — or, worse, resorting to frozen meals — because of the expense and, almost invariably, of how extremely unhealthy and barely palatable they usually turn out to be, usually shocks me back into cooking again.
I often work 65+ hours a week (I’m a university professor) and my hubby is a nursing student who works part time. There are lots of times when we’re both mentally exhausted and can’t cover all the bases. I don’t get upset about it, but I also don’t let it go on for more than a night or two. My weekends are often spent preparing lunches, dinners, and things like bread, pizza crusts, side dishes I can keep in the freezer to keep us from ordering or going out. In the summer, I garden and spend a great deal of time canning and preserving the bounty. We still have enough frozen pesto, for example, to get us through this spring as well as loads of home-canned, pickled and fermented vegetables.
I’ve learned that preparing three meals a day is an incredible challenge — and think every day of what a thankless task this was for my mother, who did her best, but hated it, when I was growing up. If you’re not the one who cooks in your household, be appreciative and load on the praise. Tell your cook you love her/his efforts, and, especially that you love him or her.