It’s January, and that means the crock pot is my new bff. This is from the archives, folks, but too good to let it stay dusty. Enjoy!
When I left my career to care for our daughter, not cooking was not an issue. We were blessed with faithful and talented houseguests who kept our fridge and bellys full. After Donna died a group of parents from her pre-school organized six weeks of cooked meals that somehow lasted longer. The winter set in and our houseguests got back to their own lives. I was home with a then one year old boy and would spend my days grieving for Donna and caring for Jay. They were full days. My man would get home from the office and cook dinner for us, just as he had before we moved to Cancerville.
As spring neared and some of the initial fog of grief lifted, I came to realize that I was officially a stay at home mom. Circumstance had brought me there, not choice, but there was no denying it. And from my POV, the gig of a stay at home parent involved kids, home and food. I was solid on kid and home, but was coming up very short with the food. So, I taught myself how to cook. Nothing too ambitious, but generally delicious. I deemed May as “Make My Husband Dinner Month” and worked to have five cooked meals for him each week.
The food came to be a revelation for me. I was expressing love through food and I liked it. (Isn’t that a Katy Perry song?) I didn’t recognize myself, but that’s okay. My man loved it. Loved it. I mean, who wouldn’t? We were eating well and I got a bit more ambitious. I started to have opinions about cookware. My mother-in-law, a card carrying foodie, bought us a fancy pan and baking sheet. Cards on the table, I was resentful for a moment (or a week), but then I used first one, then the other. She had converted me. All apologies, dear mother-in-law.
But what does all this have to do with Mary Tyler Mom? Six weeks into my new gig I realized that I was still doing all the cooking. Last week I served two slices of deli roast beef on a low-fat wheat tortilla smeared with no-fat cream cheese and called it dinner. The lettuce inside the wrap counted as the salad. Yeah. Not good. Honestly, folks, we don’t have a new division of labor yet, the husband and I. We’ll get there, but for now I’m planning the menus and executing the meals five nights a week. So I stepped it up this week. Enter the Crock Pot (another purchase from my mother-in-law, herself a gal who raised two kids while working full-time). I think I’m in love.
Just after I got Mary Tyler Son to sleep Tuesday night I pulled out my cranberry hued crock (isn’t she beautiful?) and we had our first fling together. It was a little akward, as most new relationships are, but something about it just felt right. In ten minutes I had it locked and loaded, wrastled it into the fridge, and felt superior for the rest of the evening – – my dinner was done roughly 22 hours ahead of schedule. I never finish anything in advance, so you’ll forgive me the self-righteousness that lulled me to sleep that night.
There was a bit of a panic at work the next day, which revolved around intense fear that I burned our home down to the ground for the sake of a delicious and nutritious meal, all the while expending minimal effort. But it was short lived. I got home after picking up the boy, and smelled the warm scent of tomatoes and cilantro before I had even turned the light on. Dinner was served. Yum.
So what about you, dear reader? If you work, how are dinners handled? Who cooks? Who cleans? What is your division of labor in the kitchen, and more importantly, does it work?