Everywhere we turn, advertisements, magazines and websites tell us how to save time. Streamline your day, they say, and you will be able to get a lot more done! Here is a “quick and easy” way to feed your family, wash your clothes, clean your house.
Wait! There is something to be said for stopping, reflecting — and taking your time in the kitchen. Cooking is a pleasurable pastime and when we put a little effort into it, everyone benefits. Our kids get more wholesome dinners, we feel good about our gastronomic accomplishment, and the family enjoys the time at the table, eating tasty, balanced meals.
Oh! You probably will save money, too. It’s not always possible to save both money and time and these days, we all want to save money!
The Trade Off
We live in a marvelous world. Twenty years ago our mothers never would have imagined they could buy a frozen pot roast, add water, and in a short time have dinner. Fifty years ago, our grandmothers never would have imagined picking up a rotisserie chicken at the supermarket and serving it for supper.
These are helpful timesavers. No doubt about it, and there are times when they meet our needs. But they are not the only answer.
If you buy a nice brisket or chuck roast, fresh vegetables, and some herbs, you can make your own pot roast. If you buy a whole chicken — which by the way, is far less costly than buying chicken parts — you can roast it in a little more than an hour.
There is something therapeutic about chopping, slicing, mixing and stirring. It’s not exactly mindless but it’s reassuringly repetitive and a way to meet a goal in a short time. At the end of a stressful day, spending 30 or 40 minutes in the kitchen with some good knives is satisfying.
Touching, smelling, and looking at fresh food is equally gratifying. The textures, aromas and colors soothe. Take a little time to enjoy the sensual pleasure of cooking.
The Pay Off
It’s not all Zen like. When we cook, we end up with good-tasting food, prepared as we like it and containing only what we put in it. This is comforting to parents who want to nourish their children — and it’s great to eat something we like. The food can be simple. Home cooking does not have to be complicated to be good.
The more you cook, the better and more confident you will become. If you make a mistake in the kitchen, who cares? Next time, the meal will be better. Most of the time it will be just fine, despite overcooked pasta or undercooked vegetables.
And what about that pot roast simmering in the oven or the chicken roasting? Both fill the house with such enticing aromas that everyone who walks in the door will gravitate to the kitchen, eager for dinner.
That alone makes it all worth it!