Saturday, 8 November 2014

Why You Won't Find Any Recipes On This Blog

I come across so many recipes when reading blogs. Accompanying them are always gorgeous, mouth-watering pictures of food. Often, they are good-looking enough to make me hover, mentally calculating what ingredients are involved and how easy it would be to prepare and cook. But after a quick peruse, I click away, both disappointed to miss out and relieved that I decided not to go there.

Recipes these days, even ones designated 'easy' or 'quick' are just way out of my league. Here's why:

Reason 1: I'm rubbish in the kitchen.

I used to be into cooking. I used to buy fresh herbs and make curries from scratch. I loved poring over recipes and exploring new cookbooks. I even used to work in a small pub kitchen in the UK (Husband vehemently refutes this fact. He's got a right to be suspicious). I've hosted a dinner party once or twice and still have, somewhere, a file full of collected recipes.

Nowadays it's a slightly different story. Husband doesn't allow me to cook anymore. That's right, I've fallen from grace. To be fair, I've become terrible at it. Have you ever cooked a bolognese that tastes like warm water? I have. Ever overcooked your steamed vegetables until they turned to mush? Gross, right? I know. So, and this isn't such a bad thing, husband now cooks for us every single night. He point blank refuses to let me loose in the kitchen. For us anyway.

It's true though. When I cook, I make a huge mess, get completely disorganised and then the food tastes awful, so it's really one big disaster.

Reason 2: Getting the kids to eat anything new is a huge battle.

The kids eat well enough. Vegetables in every meal, protein and carbs side by side on their plates. Followed by a bowl of fruit. But they eat 'vanilla' style (read: boring). There are so many flavours they are yet to try. Here's what I've attempted to serve them in the last couple of months:
  • Really mild curry
  • Homemade burgers
  • Pizza
  • Beef casserole
  • Chicken stir-fry
They tolerated the casserole but the rest was pushed around their plates. And I know the advice is, if they don't eat it, don't give them anything else, but Mr B is skinny as a rake. I have to give him something. So if he doesn't want his dinner, I need to make him a sandwich, and then I may as well make Miss P one too. Which has me in the kitchen amongst the washing up from my experimental meal, making sandwiches I shouldn't be, while the babies grizzle monotonously, as their own dinner has been interrupted (given that I am their feeder). Way too much work if you ask me. Why do this to myself when I know I can serve the big kids XYZ and they will eat away contentedly while I get on with things?

Reason 3: Where is the time?

Maybe it's something to do with the having four-kids-under-school-age thing, but it actually hurts my head trying to think about making time to shop for ingredients and trying out new recipes, on top of what I'm already trying to pack into the day. Gone are the days where I used to be able to shop leisurely, browsing each aisle to see what grabs my interest and casually leafing through magazines at the check-outs. Nowadays, I'm either in a rush to get home to the kids, or I've got kids with me and find the whole thing really stressful. Either way, it's a get-in-and-out-as-quickly-as-possible situation.

So when I'm skimming over new recipes to assess the can-do factor, I'm quick to veto anything that adds to my shopping time while I hunt for the ingredients. Some completely baffle me. Like buckwheat. Or almond meal. Or chia. I honestly don't know what any of these are. And I hate them for it. I will also veto any ingredients that can only be found in specialist shops. I don't go to specialist shops. Obviously.

Even if I manage the full set of ingredients for a recipe, the motivation to make the dish still eludes me. Take hummus, for example. I finally found the tahini paste, in the health food section of the supermarket. The rest of the ingredients were easy: I have the lemon in the fridge, and the olive oil, cumin and chick peas sit proudly in the cupboard alongside the tahini. Should be easy from here right? They've been there for a month.

I know these things shouldn't be so difficult. That if I made the effort, these problems could be easily surmounted. But right now, and for the foreseeable future, my fried little brain just can't cope with the stretch. I don't know why I find it so hard. I'm tired. Just give me a bit more time, ok? The best-before date on the tahini is two years away. I will definitely make the hummus by then.

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