I was well on my way to writing a blog post about how I hadn’t been blogging when I wandered into the kitchen and realized that I have no food. At least… no food that I can prepare without going out and getting more food. So, I sat down with a piece of paper and started making my grocery list… which is when the anxiety started flooding my chest.
The list of things that I’d come up with were all things that I knew I would eat and I have the knowledge to cook without fear. Hot dogs, hamburgers, lunch meat, refried beans and spaghetti…. oh, and butter and milk so I can make the Kraft dinner that I have something like 8 boxes of. Stuff that’s incredibly simple to make, but you know… probably isn’t considered a great diet if that’s all you eat.
One of the things that I’d told myself that I wanted to do in the new year was learn to cook, and that I was going to eat at home more than I go out.
Partly, it’s a financial reason.
I would say that I had a bit of a wake up call in terms of becoming a responsible adult in the past week. I’ve had a couple of close calls in the past few months with my bank account having a low balance, but I’ve generally at least had enough money to make a grocery store trip to ensure that I didn’t starve before some more money came my way. However, this time around, I hadn’t been paying close attention and my account dwindled embarrassing low… Low to the point where you’re digging around in your change box for nickles and dimes to get on the subway to get to and from work because you don’t want to touch the money in the bank for fear you might accidentally overdraw yourself. Low enough that going to the grocery store was not really an option, I had to eat the food I had.
When I went invetigating in my cupboard for my options, they were pretty limited. I had two cans of refried beans, a package of spaghetti, about five servings of spaghetti sauce left in a jar, a package of saltines, peanut butter and Marshmellow Fluff… oh and about two handfuls left of Cheerios. Everything else I had in the house required either milk or butter to prepare. I had neither.
I tried not to worry too much about it because I knew I’d be paid soon… but the check I was expecting didn’t come. When I inquired to the folks I’m currently employed by, we discovered that the reason I hadn’t recieved my check was because I’d transposed to digits of my house number in my address.
I ended up getting paid on Monday, which of course… was a holiday, so I couldn’t cash the check till Tuesday, blah blah blah. So, I’m not poor anymore. I can afford groceries now. Get to the point, Nikki.
The point is I realized the importance of keeping extra food in the house, and that my parents perhaps aren’t crazy for having enough food in the house to be prepared for a small apocalypse.
I probably wouldn’t have made it the entire week if Anna hadn’t fed me Cheerios and sausage on Monday and James hadn’t fed me hamburgers on Thursday and Sunday. (Thank you, guys, by the way.)
I also realized that I have spent an ungodly sum of money on eating out in the past year, largely because I want to eat better food than I know how to prepare on my own and I’d like to spend far less on food overall.
So, you know… it sort of stand to reason that I ought to learn how to cook.
The grocery list still stares at me, and it’s now been two hours since I started making it. I feel utterly lost about what to do next. I’ve thumbed through recipe books briefly, thinking maybe a recipe would jump out at me that I could buy ingredients for, but instead the anxiety gets more and more intense. I am paralyzed with fear over this cooking thing.
I thought maybe chili would be a good place to start until I realized there are literally five million bajillion recipes for chili and then realized that I just want to make chili that I know I’ll like and if there are that many different ways to make chili how do I know that’s the one I ought to make. HOW DO YOU MAKE THESE DECISIONS, PEOPLE!? WHAT IF I MAKE THE WRONG ONE!?! Supposing I do manage to pick a recipe and then I get home and then I’m too tired to cook and I then get too afraid to try something new and now I have all these vegetables that I’m too afraid to do anything with and then they rot? (Believe me, that happens pretty much every time I buy vegetables).
Do you see the level of neuroticism that goes into this whole “learning out to cook” adventure and I end up giving up because the anxiety level is just too stinking much for me to be able to cope with? How do I not make the excuses? How do I give up the fear? That’s one I haven’t quite figured out yet…