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Cooking Confession

I have a secret. I’ve come to enjoy cooking. Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone! Especially not my foodie friends. They’ll want to start sharing stir-frying tips.

Back in January and February when I started this whole weight loss endeavor, one of my biggest challenges was that I basically couldn’t eat out anymore. If I did eat out, the only ‘safe’ item was the salad. And really, how many salads can you eat in a week before you start dreaming of firebombing lettuce fields?

I had to learn how to cook. I had some basic cooking skills since my mom made dinner every night and baked brownies or pies occasionally, which is evidently more than some people’s kids can say. I once babysat a girl at my house and she was gobshocked that my mother had made brownies from scratch. She was simply amazed that someone had made a food product using raw ingredients and not by sticking something in the microwave or the toaster. Poor girl. Her mom was recently divorced and working full-time, so I couldn’t bring myself to blame the woman too much.

Those first couple months of adjusting to cooking all my own dinners was really tough. Not only did I have to spend anywhere from 15-45 minutes a night making something, I also had to find recipes that fit into my diet. It was rough. I didn’t enjoy it at all. I considered it a hassle and a pain and wished I was just rich enough to hire a chef like Oprah.

But sometime in the past year my attitude has changed and I barely even noticed it. I started to accumulate several recipes that I liked that didn’t take an entire phase of the moon to prepare. It’s such a thrill to try a new recipe and discover it tastes really, really good. At a recent church meeting, my mother made a Parmesan Chicken recipe I found and people kept asking for the recipe. I felt so good that I almost convinced myself I’d invented the dish myself.

I realized recently that I actually like making dinner because I know I will be making something I enjoy and per bonus is actually good for me. As I progress closer to my goal, I find I can stand around in the kitchen without feeling much pain in my feet at all. (I suspect my 18 years of Catholic church services helped develop my tolerance to pain while standing too. That 10-minute reading the Sunday before Easter is particularly brutal.)

It’s gotten to the point now where I’m actually thinking about buying a set of chopping knives. It’s like I’ve gone completely mad! Before you know it I’ll be looking for a flour sifter after all.

My approach to the grocery store has totally changed too. I hardly ever go down the middle aisles, sticking mostly to the edges, only darting in for the frozen foods or the diet sodas. They could have dressed the potato chip aisle in feather boas and Christmas lights for all I know. I never go down there anymore.

It makes me wonder, with all these changes in my attitude towards food, food preparation, exercise etc. am I really even me anymore? I think it’s time for a revision number like they do with software. PastaQueen 1.0 has been upgraded to PastaQueen 1.5, now with better support for nutrition and fitness! The external changes in my body seem so meager compared to the software revisions in my mind. I am what I eat, but even more so I am what I think.

Chocolate & Vicodin: My Quest for Relief from the Headache that Wouldn't Go Away
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6 Comments

Hilly • December 2, 2005 at 9:44 am

Hahaha, you totally SHOULD have a revision number! I find that as I lose weight and grow healthier, my whole being DOES change but maybe this is who I should have been all along, rather than that girl who sat on the sidelines hating herself. Okay wayyy too deep for a Friday morning, sorry!

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Mark • December 2, 2005 at 11:04 am

One think I’ve noticed over the years as I cook more and more is how the definition of “ingredients” has changed for me. Spaghetti sauce in a jar was once an ingredient, but then I became more sophisticated and made spaghetti sauce using canned tomatoes and tomato paste. The next step was realizing that tomato paste was a scam, and you could just reduce the canned tomatoes. Finally, I realized you could use fresh tomatoes to make tomato sauce. Who’da thunk? Along the way I dropped all the meat and spices and now just use olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, salt, and pepper, and it tastes great.

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Queen • December 2, 2005 at 7:13 pm

HA! Who’d a thunk it? I do all the cooking in my house. And sometimes, I sneak in more than healthy things and never say a word.

Probably because I’m feeding myself & Mom who’s over-carbed menu helped me to become the CARB-QUEEN that I am — er — was. Good carbs/bad carbs — they all hate me and I think they’re evil.

Good for you not only cooking, but beginning to enjoy it!

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alice • February 28, 2007 at 12:11 am

Ha! If you think that standing during a ten minute reading is bad, you should try being Russian Orthodox. We have to stand during the whole service.

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Linda • August 6, 2008 at 9:36 pm

“I am what I eat, but even more so I am what I think.”

PQ, I think you uttered profound words of wisdom there that I’ve been trying to incorporate into my 49 yr old thinking. Brava!

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Chris • March 22, 2011 at 1:28 am

Hehe, it’s funny, the perk of the “diet” I’m on (which is simply a reduced calorie diet, trying to keep to a reasonable fat/carb/protein breakdown) is that I don’t have to prepare food from scratch: as long as I can find the nutrition facts (and its not pure sugar/fat) it’s fair game! Still…I can imagine if I took the time to learn to cook more than popcorn (like I can even do that…it burns half the time) and lean pockets, I could probably be eating much more delicious foods with the same calories.

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Comments are now closed on all PastaQueen entries. The blog is an archive only so I don't have to deal with spammers. For fresh discussions please visit my new blog JenFul.

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

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