I hate to cook. People have said to me, “Just start cooking. You’ll learn to love it.” Guess what? I don’t. We can’t all be Gordon Ramsay. If we were, the world would be full of restaurants serving beef Wellington and risotto, and I’d have a reason to run around my kitchen and yell at people who can’t cook. We were not all gifted with the love of things related to food beyond simply eating it. I was especially not gifted with anything beyond the ability to open an oven, and even then I’ve been known to forget to vent the plastic cover over my Stouffer’s lasagna. The truth is, I hate cooking and always have — even before I had kids. Now that I have to cook, it’s especially painful, because:
1. Everyone wants to eat every single night.
Where’s the variety? If we went to the zoo every single day, it would get boring. Why not move onto an every other evening meal plan, or every three days. Not only would everyone be super excited about dinner, but they would also be so hungry they might actually eat it.
2. It’s time-consuming.
In the time it takes me to completely ruin a meal, I could have already ordered a pizza, and we could be moving on to baths.
3. It’s boring.
Let’s face it, watching chicken sear isn’t exactly the same as watching a wrestling match. You can’t even drift off and have a “you” moment without the very real possibility of setting your stove on fire.
4. It’s messy.
There is no such thing as a clean meal prep unless you are eating at a restaurant. Sure, you can clean as you go, and I do, but food always manages to escape into the burner coils, or leap onto the floor to avoid getting plated. Cooking is like Play-Doh — no matter how careful you are about keeping things clean, there is always an aftermath. Always.
5. It’s stressful.
You don’t see anyone on Hell’s Kitchen dodging toddlers while they’re running around ruining meals — meals that they should know how to cook since the same crap is served every single season. Tossing a few kids into the mealtime mix turns your kitchen into a mini-version of the The Hunger Games.
6. It’s hard.
Anytime you wander off the taco, spaghetti, easy-to-cook meal wagon, it gets complicated. Suddenly your recipes include actual steps and use words like “fillet” and “render,” which is a fancy way of saying, “baking your beef for so long it liquefies.”
7. No one ever eats it anyway.
Unless I’m serving peanut butter sandwiches and those little yogurt cups with M&Ms, they just look at their plate of chicken and vegetables and quietly sob.
8. There are always dishes.
You simply cannot avoid this. Even if everyone ate from paper plates and used their hands instead of utensils, you still have to clean whatever you cooked the food in. You can’t cook meals on paper plates. Trust me, I’ve tried.
9. Food prep takes a lot of time.
This includes getting the food from the grocery store. Then you have to bring it home and prepare it. Maybe you like to set aside time to prep and freeze for Crock-Pot dinners. Maybe you like to prep around noon so you can slap it in a pan and bake it up. Regardless of your method, it all takes time away from other things, like not prepping dinner.
Also known as “the stuff no one ate that’s sitting in the fridge and has been there for so long it’s moving by itself and possibly even multiplying.”
For me, and others like me, cooking is a nuisance. “Let them eat cake,” we say to everyone, “as long as we don’t have to make it.” Eating out every day isn’t an option. Most of the time, I try to keep it simple for me and for my kids.
Maybe someday I’ll have the time to experiment in the kitchen, but probably not, because in the time it takes me to completely ruin a meal, I could have already ordered a pizza.