What Counts?

17 Oct

I have spent the last couple of weeks cooking dinners for my family. This came after I realized we were eating out sometimes as much as 5 or 6 nights a week, mostly due to poor planning and laziness. It’s not healthy for us, it doesn’t set a good example for Michaela, and it’s really expensive. Mike has traditionally done the bulk of our cooking, but he’s been working a lot lately, including a lot of nights out of town, so I though I’d pick up the slack.

I follow a pretty healthy number of food blogs and am always bookmarking things that seem interesting, so I mostly have been going through my bookmarks to find things that sound good or work together (e.g., buy broccoli for stir fry, use the rest of it later in a pasta dish). It’s going okay, although I have to admit, a few days in, I was exhausted. Tired of cooking, tired of thinking about cooking, tired of washing dishes. I have mostly gotten over that for now.

Some of the stuff I’ve made has been really good. Other stuff, only okay. I track it all in this Tumblr, where I add little notes about what I changed in the recipe, how everyone liked it, etc., so if you’re interested in my hits and misses, that’s the place to look.

Last night, I made ravioli with sage, walnut and spinach brown butter sauce. The recipe called for store-bought ravioli, which got me thinking– does it really count as a “homemade” meal if you buy the major ingredient? Does it matter? Are my expectations too high as far as my nightly dinner making goes? Am I crazy to want to try different recipes all the time, especially since it kind of stresses me out to have to get home and get dinner ready? Would it be wrong to pull out a frozen pizza once a week? It’s still eating at home, but it’s… not “real” cooking.

Does any of that even make sense?

It’s not a contest. It probably doesn’t matter in the scheme of things. But it’s something I have been thinking about a lot since I started cooking dinners.

Earlier this week, Mike was out of town and I had some veggies and an open jar of spaghetti sauce, so I decided I’d be lazy and we’d make pizzas on pita bread. Michaela was thrilled to get to top hers (she chopped up her olives so it looked like a spider), said it was the perfect amount of food, and she really enjoyed eating it. Maybe that should be enough?

Who knew dinner was so fraught with deep questions?!?

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