Friday, April 19, 2013

Day 40 The reluctant cook

I haven't cooked much at all since I got sober and that's been more than 20 years. I used to cook with an open bottle of wine as my sous-chef. I didn't use it in cooking. I just drank it. And when I got sober, I just couldn't face being in the kitchen. So I stopped being a cook and became a fixer. I fixed food for myself: take-out, deli food, even had somebody else cooking for me for a while (way too expensive). Occasionally I'd steam vegetables or make a salad, but mostly I ate frozen food or deli food, especially once I moved to Portland and had access to the New Seasons deli.

Some of this had to do with taste. I wanted fancy dishes with many ingredients and didn't want to spend the time. I'd rather just earn more money and buy it. But all of that is changing now as both what I eat and how I feel are changing. Most of the foods I bought before have ingredients I'm not eating. They have cheese or butter or wheat or soy. Even at the New Seasons deli. I'm reading labels and I'm very careful. So while there  are still some things that I can purchase and do, if I want variety, I have to fix it myself.

And here's where the unrelenting cheerfulness comes in--or maybe it's the increase in energy and stamina--or maybe both. Things that used to seem such a burden don't anymore. They just don't. Almost every day I use the juicer (about 12 minutes from start to finish) and I'm making slow-cook oatmeal in the rice cooker. The last 3 weeks, on Mondays, I've made a soup or stew in the crock pot, and yesterday I baked yams and sweet potatoes and yellow peppers for one dish and chicken and artichokes for another.

I readily admit that I am still taking short cuts. The yams and sweet potatoes were already peeled and cut up. The artichoke hearts came in a jar. The broth base was organic and from Pacific. So in a sense, I'm still fixing. But I'm being much more creative and I'm much more interested in it all.

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