Friday, January 17, 2014

Cooking Every Single Day

After I retired I suddenly realized that Hubby, who had always been our main chef, had resigned his culinary duties.  I think he quit partly because standing in the kitchen was so uncomfortable for the arthritic knees and, back then, his erratic heartbeat made cooking duties somewhat frightening. 

I took over the kitchen work two years ago, but not happily.  Diet restrictions because of the heart issues limited ingredients.  "Old Man Taste Buds" limited the variety of recipes that were found "acceptable" at our table.  For  a while there we ate tuna fish salad three times a week.  Boring but Hubby liked it. We could not have tuna casserole -- Hubby does not eat "hot" tuna of any sort.

Then swallowing became a problem and suddenly, the always successful steak and roast dinners were off the menu.  Hamburger in all forms was okay and pork chops seemed to go down when steak would not.  I worked the heck out of all the hamburger casserole recipes I could find, but most were deemed either "unsavory" or "too bland" or simply "boring."

Spring, summer, and autumn seasons provided us with interesting fruits and some vegetables that Hubby can/would still eat.  However all the blood thinners mean that leafy green vegetables, the ice berg lettuce and the cabbage that Hubby really likes, were on the restricted lists.  Now that we are in deep winter, we're back to green beans, beets, and corn. 

Baked potatoes, once a favorite, now won't be touched.  I have no idea why, but I can't just serve up a baked potato with hamburger topping -- that meal gets fed to the dogs.  Sausage is good for breakfast but because of the fat and salt content has to be limited.  Same with eggs. 

Then I got "down" -- I'm not sure it was depression, but it sure was dis-engaged.  Cooking became even more problematic because I couldn't think of a thing that would drag me to the kitchen and make me want to "cook."  Hubby and I took to eating entirely different things.  He got chicken nuggets -- something he WILL eat pretty regularly, especially if paired with mac and cheese -- and I'd eat a fried egg sandwich.  He'd have hamburger "something or other" and I'd have oatmeal.  This wasn't particularly healthy for either of us, but it got us through and we weren't dining out or grabbing fast food. 

This morning I woke up, thinking as usual about what the heck I could serve Hubby today -- and felt more inspired.  Actually, this has been happening more and more, lately.  Plus, I've found that if I do all the prep work (brown the hamburger, chop all the onions and peppers and then saute them) Hubby is willing to venture into the kitchen to make some chili or some spaghetti.  This past week I've been slurping up bowls of his chili with abandon. 

In the kitchen I peeled and chopped the onions, cleaned and diced the green peppers, shelled the hard boiled eggs and whipped up another round of tuna for lunch today.  However, I also got several small, thawed packages of steak from the frig, diced them, and set them in the crockpot with more onions, green peppers, and spices.  The smell now is delicious.  In a couple of hours I'll dump in some veggies and taters and we'll have steak soup / stew -- soft enough for Hubby to swallow with ease.  Yummy enough to please us both.  

Cooking every day is not something I never thought I'd be doing, but if the cooking equipment is satisfactory (crockpot, even oven temps, good pots and pans) and the larder is full of food we like, it's not too bad a job to hold while retired.  Plus, we save money eating at home and I can control the salt and fat content (to a degree).  Now if we just had a big old box of donuts for dessert . . .


Margaret said...

I hate to cook and am not very good at it. I was motivated when my family was around, but's hard to get up the energy or creativity to make a meal. Although I do eat, it's not sometimes the best stuff.

snugpug said...

I've a crockpot but probably used it just once. My form of cooking impatience is that it should not take longer to cook it than to eat it.