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.