When I was young cooking and baking intrigued me so much that my Mother took the time to teach me all that she knew. In my teen years, I was able to enlarge my food making repertoire by reading cookbooks, going through my Mother’s and Aunt’s collection of recipes they clipped from the newspaper. If the internet was available, I know I would have spent hours on the computer looking at recipes.
All of this interest in cooking and baking projected me further into the world of food by attending the Culinary Institute of America. While there and as I began to work in the field I realized that the sweat and grime produced by working in front of industrial stoves was not for me, therefore I set my goal to work in the front of the house and hopefully manage and not be managed!!
There were diversions to my decision. Early on I had a restaurant and then a bakery, however each gave me a lot of practical knowledge. When I closed the bakery, A catering firm hired me to open a bakery. Each day I faced the heat of the ovens and had to produce enormous amount of mundane items with a sprinkle of items that were creative. This was not following working plan.
Within a short time, management decided I should work parties, as well as baking during the day. I felt a bit of pressure to agree. Initially, I was just a cook/helper, but all to quickly they saw I could cook. I went from cook/helper to Chef of the party. The kitchen area at a party often was in a tent. The grass became matted and greasy from cooking so that I could slide around when I cooked and knew that I did not like standing in the heat cooking Tenderloin, Lamb Chops or Chicken which caused sweat to drizzle down my front, back and forehead.
Fortunately, the Marketing Director had more insight than the owner and demanded that I work in sales. At first I wrote menus for her and the owner, then went to the kitchen and trained the cooks how to prepare the new dishes I had written in the menu. This continued while I began to work in sales and directly with the client. During the upcoming years I continued to train the cooks and sell parties on my own, for the owner and the Marketing Director. My record for selling unique parties that featured one of a kind menus and one of a kind designed themes was instrumental in my becoming the Vice President of the Firm. I continued to sell parties and train the staff to cook my way, but when I did I wrapped myself up in a tablecloth so that my Armani suit didn’t suffer from splashing tidbits of sauce on me.
All of those years I remained in close allegiance to cooking and entertaining. I welcomed the days, particularly in Florida when we had parties in our home. I relished making each party distinctive with decor and food. I had such a collection of china and serving dishes that I had to let them go when we recently moved because of lack of storage.
During the last year and a half I started thinking about how many dinners I have made in my life and that the glow of cooking dimmed. Years ago after my Mother had cooked for over 40 years for my Father and family. She said to me she tired of cooking dinner every day and wished a day would arrive that she no longer felt she had to make sure daily dinners. I found it a little bizarre for her to say that, but my Mother knew! Now I see what she meant. The drudgery of making food each day gets to you. It’s not just cooking, but baking, shopping and planning that begins a cycle of boredom.
I calculated how many dinners I made in my life since I have been with M. Rather than being extravagant with my figures I decided on making 15 dinners a month was fair. The other 15 days I felt were days when we ate out, had left overs or that we were vacationing, invited to a party or someone invited us to their home for dinner. The following are my calculations:
15 meals per month x 12 months=180 dinners per year
180 dinners per year x 40 years= 7200 dinners
Unfortunately, I did not include the many times I cooked for parties, breakfast and cocktails, nor did I add in the times I prepared parties and dinners for yearly festivities. The list would be ridiculous and I just don’t want to know the result. Possibly, to ease my increasing distaste for daily cooking I envisioned that we could move into one of the adult retirement places where all your meals are included in the exorbitant price you pay to live there, as well as, enjoying a large apartment, have a choice of activities and never again have to keep up a home.
NOPE-not gonna go there now. Maybe later–
Guess I will continue doing as I now do and keep my whip, spoon and apron close at hand and think about ceasing my complaints. I wonder if I can!
Please take the poll. I am curious of knowing how you feel about daily cooking. Or, if you wish, leave me a comment in the poll or within the post comments.