I had a chat recently with a woman who said “I rarely cook. You know, I live alone so it just doesn’t make sense. She has always lived alone so it isn’t a matter of learning to cook for herself after years of feeding a big family. Usually I am more polite and would have quietly nodded but this wasn’t one of my more polite moments. Forgive me. I just said no – I don’t know. In fact, it is a total enigma to me. I have been thinking about it all week. Granted it isn’t the first time I have heard it and I guess it won’t be the last since now I am asking you, dear reader, do you only cook when there is someone else to feed?
I did have a neighbour who lived alone and at the end of every week her recycling was filled with pizza boxes.
So now, scratching my head, I am wondering about those who don’t cook. What do you eat? Do you not cook because you have found awesome food to eat every day? Do you go to restaurants for 3 meals a day? Do you use a food delivery service? Do you eat the prepared food in a grocery store? Do you live on pizzas and hamburgers? Oh my goodness, my questions are limitless. Where do you find fresh vegetables lightly steamed or roasted? Don’t you ever crave a big pot of spinach, Kale, broccoli?
I am not a fancy cook for myself – actually not a fancy cook for company. I think I am a simple cook and I do love feeding people. I love to have people around my table enjoying and appreciating something I have made. I also truly appreciate feeding myself. I don’t spend hours preparing dishes but I do make sure that I get lots of vegetables and protein every day. I aim for a balance of carbohydrates, vegetables and protein 3 times a day. I am cognizant of the amount of sodium I consume and 2 years ago gave up sugar and sugar substitutes. Infrequently, I will have a tablespoon of honey or maple syrup in a dessert.
Several years ago, my daughter was ill and I was staying with her. She couldn’t tolerate the smell of cooking so I was picking up a meal on my way to her home after work each day. I tried to make a healthy choice but it isn’t that easy – there was a Pizzaria near me where I would get 2 slices of the Mediterranean, a Middle Eastern takeout for a chicken shwarma, and I did find a little Mom/Pop restaurant where the owner would make me a serving of white rice, unsalted chicken breast, simple salad with iceberg lettuce and a container of her homemade salt free hot sauce. On occasion I would pick up a barbecue chicken and coleslaw. After about a month of this, I had gained 14 pounds and my blood pressure was through the roof! My daughter was feeling better and I stepped back for a while, cooked my own food and after 14 days the weight disappeared and I was back on track.
So again, I ask the question, if you don’t cook for yourself what do you eat?
My favourite meal at home is broiled chicken (preferably thighs or leg and thigh) with lots of a green vegetable and a sweet potato. The vegetables range from broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower( not green) spinach, kale, brussel sprouts, swiss chard or beet greens. My choice of carbs vary as well – brown rice, barley, buckwheat groats, white potato, sweet potato, steelcut oatmeal, squash or rye bread. When I am lazy (often), I put it all in one pan in the oven. Voila, after 40-60 minutes dinner is done and on the plate. Home cooked fast food.
I love a stir fry where I take out my electric wok and start with a wee bit of oil, 3 cloves of garlic and a chopped onion. Now I add the kitchen sink – usually zucchini, green beans, broccoli, spinach and anything else around. Frozen vegetables come in handy here – peas, corn, beans, medleys of broccoli and cauliflower….just toss it all in…add a bit of water or broth rather than more oil. For protein you can toss in black beans, chick peas, chicken, beef or pork, shrimp, tilapia, salmon or seafood medley – a different idea and mixture every day. You can add some brown rice or any of the choices I mentioned above. Sometimes I use frozen hash browns (no name are the lowest in sodium). Noodles made of buckwheat (soba) are my favourite but whole wheat are healthy choice, rice noodles. This is quick and easy food and dinner can be on the table in 20 minutes.
There is always the crock pot…put everything you want in and when you come home, dinner is hot and ready. Last year, I learned that I could through in a whole squash – spaghetti or otherwise and it would be ready when I got home. Any sauce tastes great on spaghetti squash. My choice is my home made pesto.
Even a homemade pizza is a healthy at home choice – whole wheat pita, low fat mozzarella cheese grated with onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, and peppers – fast and nothing hidden! How about fish tacos – tortillas, avocado, cole slaw and a piece of fish. Dinner is done! How about an omelette? Spaghetti with sauce from a jar? A sandwich piled how with protein and vegetables?
Puh-leese!!!! Tell me – what do you mean you don’t cook? Signed puzzled in Toronto 🙂