Friday, July 25, 2008

You Have No Idea How Much I Appreciate These Nights

sometimes Alex cooks

The nights when my husband cooks, that is. I don't love preparing meals. In fact, I don't enjoy preparing meals much at all. Cooking or baking one thing? Sure, that I can enjoy. But the daily grind of thinking up, planning, shopping for and preparing a balanced protein/veggie/fiber combo that is not only nutritious but tastes good, appealing to both a 5-year-old and finicky 41-year-old palate? That sucks, and it wears me down, one day at a time.

Some nights, I'm just not up to it. And most of the time, Alex will not complain about my not cooking, because he doesn't want to do it, either. He's tired. I understand tired. BELIEVE me, I understand tired. But if I abdicate the responsibility of providing the meal, my husband will, nine times out of ten, order out. Which drives me nuts, because we can't afford it. So I wind up, sometimes, cooking in self-defense, to keep money from being spent on food that isn't good for us. And I probably don't have to tell you that those meals are subtly flavored with resentment.

The frustrating thing is that my husband CAN cook. He's a good cook, and not just on the grill. He even once, legend has it, baked me up a nice batch of snickerdoodles. So it occasionally aggravates me to pieces that he won't pick up so much as a spoon in the kitchen.

So on the rare occasions that he does take the culinary helm, do I complain if that means a giant slab of beef cooked on the grill? NO, I DO NOT. I skewer up some baby okra, brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with seasonings, to accompany those steaks on the grill, and then I get right on out of the way. I know that there will still be a mess to clean up later, but that would've been true if I'd cooked, too. Besides, the man makes a mean steak.

Oh, and those okra? Really good. Brush 'em with oil, add whatever herbs or spices you like, and skewer them. To avoid "okra slime," select the smallest pods, no bigger than 2-3 inches long, that you can find. Roast them over high heat until they're nice and crispy on the outside. Char-marks are good. YUM.

grilled okra

So...how do you handle the daily tasks that no one wants to do, but someone has to?

13 comments:

  1. Dang, your blog really makes me want to cook more. The okra stuff looks like it was awesome (care to share any leftovers with a single guy?).

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  2. You've forced a confession - we've ordered out or gotten take out almost every night for the last year...I HATE planning and cooking meals. Hubby works until 9 p.m. or so, so it's just me and whatever kid(s) happen to be home. I am a bad person.

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  3. one way i got around the dinner grind: once a week get a few of your friends together (just one or two), multiply # of people with 2 bottles of wine and proceed:

    every person is required to bring food (1-2 bags of groceries), casserole dishes (those disposable gladware(r) thingies work too), and wine (don't forget the wine).

    then cook and drink as much as possible for about 2-3 hours straight. talk, gossip, let the kids loose on each other (or send the husband out with the "childrens".). then eat some of it and pack the rest away. for at least 3 or 4 nights you're going to have meals that require little less than a microwave and maybe a can of corn . . . =)

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  4. Um. I'm single - I do it or it doesn't get done. Which, as I'm sure you well know, sucks sometimes...but it's also nice sometimes. I eat what I want, when I want and have no one else's likes/dislikes to figure into things.

    Doing all the cooking I don't mind - I tend to cook the same things over and over again and that's fine with me. It's being always responsible when stuff needs to be fixed around the house that grinds on me. I hate that stuff - and while buying my house made/makes sense for a whole host of reasons, THAT alone sometimes makes me wish I still lived in an apartment.

    I guess it's always something, isn't it?

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  5. I've never had Okra before, I don't think. They look tasty, but also vaguely erotic.

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  6. i would love to answer your question about the daily tasks that no one wants to do, but someone has to, but i'm too busy drooling.

    i'll get back to you on that :)

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  7. I actually planted okra in the garden a few years ago; it didn't like our Wisconsin climate. :) Now that the beans are ripening, I'm happy. Throw a slab of meat on the grill, throw fresh beans in the steamer, and yum!

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  8. for someone who doesn't like to cook, you give me good ideas. i have never tried grilled okra (and yes, okra slime came to mind so thanks for saying how to avoid it) and i'm determined to make some watermelon rind pickles now. i thought of you yesterday when i was at our local, high-end grocery store that had TONS of local (some organic) produce. calhoun county, illinois peaches are the best. om nom nom nom.

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  9. We've been ordering out A LOT. After a year of non-stop cooking I gave up when I went back to work. He BBQs a lot but I am mostly vegetarian so it is hard. Cereal is great for suppertime.

    The way that works the best for us is to pick out our meals in advance for the week (one day leftovers, one day eat out/fend for yourself). It helps us only buy groceries we need (saves money too.)

    Doing the housework more routinely is the next thing to get organized (but we are only partially thru renos and it is summer).

    I don't know how my mom makes so many different meals all the time. I need to take cooking lessons from her, but often I trade gardening work with her for a meal.

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  10. I think they look a bit like jalapenos, but don't get their turn on appeal.
    That said, I'd like to sample them.

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  11. Hmm...grilled okra...very interesting and makes me want to try. I firmly believe that the application of high heat from a grill makes everything better. (Even though my preferred preparation is having it fried up in a cast iron skillet by somebody's grandmother! I also like pickled okra, too. And thanks for the "avoidance of slime" tip!)

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