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Are We Tired of Cooking Yet?

February 13, 2021

Another Way for week of February 5, 2021

Are We Tired of Cooking Yet?

So, when the pandemic slammed most of us back into being more “homebodies” than we were before, that also meant cooking more. And at first some reveled in it. Time to make exotic international dishes or complete menus, time to bake that sourdough bread (sorry to disappoint, but I haven’t tried to make any yet; other homemade bread—yes, a couple times), nice tossed salads almost every night for supper, you get the picture.

I wish I could say my husband has taken up cooking. He did improvise grilling things in batches so that we can freeze extra meat and have a meal almost at the ready. He helps clear the table and makes our morning coffee and gets out our cereals ever since he retired a couple years ago. And in his defense, I perhaps would invite him to do more cooking (insist?) but frankly he makes more mess than I do and I’m lazy that way. He needs more utensils, more plates, more potholders, more grilling instruments, fixing up lights outside to grill, you get the picture. Like mother used to say, it is easier to just do it myself. If I die first, he’ll probably go back to living on peanut butter and jelly/banana sandwiches, or warming up pork and beans with hotdogs in an old electric popcorn popper like he did before we were married. Anyone else raising their hand?

I enjoy cooking for groups of people and family—but hello? No groups have darkened our door much, due to you know what. We have enjoyed a little extended family time, but mostly outside.

A meal in 2019 we enjoyed so much with neighbors and family. Freshly caught fish was the main dish! It was so good!

So it’s the hub and me. Meat for him is the basic and once I get that decided, my day feels like it runs much smoother. Not hard to build a meal once you’ve got the main course, the sides and the dessert (plain ice cream almost every night). I’ve started making an idea sheet so that if my eyes glaze for one more time worrying about what we’ll have for supper, I can check the list and at least get an idea going.

As many readers know my mother lives in a retirement facility where she normally gets a hot cooked meal each noon. She has to pay for it, but at 96, she’s just happy to pay rather than cook. Cooking truly gets to be harder and harder, she’s convinced me: not being able to open jars, cans, boxes, chop up veggies or fruits, clean skillets or cookie sheets. You have to be on your toes even microwaving things, so things don’t get overdone. Microwaving often ends up a mess, she says, and hard to scrub, and then there’s running out of ingredients when you can no longer drive (as she frequently reminds us). So no, it is not easy.

Then there are leftovers. My daughter’s oldest son helped them improvise a way to keep track of leftovers in the refrigerator. They simply write on the calendar what they had for dinner, and if there are leftovers to put in the frig, it serves as reminder to use it up before it gets too old. My daughter has particular meal challenges I shudder at: two different food allergies or sensitivities in her family—including one with outright celiac requiring all foods to be gluten free. If she reads this, I can imagine her shaking her head: if we only knew the half of it.

I also know that many many families on limited incomes or out of work have to put together a meal with stuff from a food drive or pantry: canned peas or spaghetti-o’s or boxed mac and cheese. Maybe a can of fruit or even some fresh fruits or veggies, but overall the fixin’s from Salvation Army or another food pantry are not super exciting.

This takes me back to my father who prayed almost every day that there would be food “for all the hungry peoples of the world.” As a farmer, he did what he could and organized crop raising events to that end.

Yes, I’ll cook supper again. Happily!

What’s your favorite meal planning method? This mother had her daughter begin planning and cooking menus from an early age!

Do you agree that it gets harder to cook as we get older? Why or why not? What is harder for you?

Does or did your children have a favorite meal they want or wanted almost every week?

Valentine’s Day Weekend menu ideas? You may want to visit my blogger friend Marian Beaman’s post featuring a cookbook especially for guys, Mennonite Men Can Cook, Too by my former colleague, Willard Roth.


Comment here, or send to or Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at a week after newspaper publication.  

  1. Elaine permalink

    Food is such an important part of our daily lives, isn’t it? I just finished making pancakes for our almost 19 year old grandson who has come to live with us to learn my husband’s business. (What an opportunity for both of them) Anyway, this is a treat for me as my husband has not been a fan of pancakes and now I get to have one almost every Saturday. 😉 Pizza is another treat that I hadn’t made often for the two of us, but now we have kind of established Sunday evening as pizza night. The downside of this is that I have to be careful not to eat too many calories…especially at my age! My grandson is not hard to please (which is a blessing), but I find myself having to be more intentional about meal planning. (Oh, and he loves leftovers for lunch)

    • We have pancakes and sausage almost every Sat. morning for a treat. How fortunate you are to have your grandson for awhile–I agree. We have pizza almost every Friday or Saturday night, either carryout, frozen from DiGiornos, or rarely, homemade. Yes, calories count up quick with pizza! Yes, you are lucky to have a grandson that is not hard to please and doesn’t complain about leftovers. Thanks for sharing here!

  2. The short answer to your title, “Yes, I’m tired of cooking,” but often it’s a nice counter-balance to my writing life. When I opened the fridge this morning, I found leftovers: salmon and potatoes + spaghetti sauce from a few days ago. I often cook extra to avoid asking the question, “What’s for dinner”? Ha!
    For lunch, we’ll have spaghetti sauce and fresh pasta, an easy fix, served with avocado slices.

    Thanks for the shoutout for my blog about WIllard Roth. 😀

    The next day Shirley Showalter commented that she and Stuart had a meal with him and Alice when they lived in Goshen.

    • I’m sure many of the Goshen folks have enjoyed Willard’s cooking.
      We try to stick to sandwiches (sometimes made with a wrap) or for Stuart, whatever meat was leftover from the night before or earlier in the week. I cook extra meat too. I can then get by with something else that Stuart doesn’t like as well, like a frozen dinner of creamy Alfredo and broccoli. Or just an omelet for me for supper. Things are a little easier now that the children are out of the roost.

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