Thursday, March 3, 2011

If "Cooking Is Love Made Visible," Then I Need To Step It Up A Notch

Last night I attended a recipe swap. The nice thing about a recipe swap is that you can swap recipes and still retain all that you just gave away. Plus, none of what you acquire will need to be dusted! Keeping what you give away proved rather an epiphany for my daughter. When I told her that I was going to a recipe swap, her face fell and she exclaimed, "No... No! You can't give away all your recipes." Now I wish I would have quickly inquired as to which recipes she would be sorry to lose.

Cooking isn't really my thing. While I enjoy creating something delicious for my family to enjoy, I really do not like putting forth the effort only to be met with complaints. Just putting dinner of any sort on the table is a big enough sacrifice/investment for me that it should only be met with praise, accolades, and an occasional standing ovation. Nothing less.

At the beginning of February several women were invited to keep track of their meals for the whole month. Then we would meet at the end and share our lists as well as two recipes from that list. Easy enough. I started my list. Then after about five entries it got buried behind everything else that was posted on my refrigerator.

By the way, can I just say that women who have refrigerators that look more like bulletin boards in a grocery store than refrigerators are kindred spirits in my book. I post recipes, grocery lists, artwork, invitations, announcements, and everything else on my refrigerator door. In case you are wondering--yes, I have curiously strong magnets. And stainless steel doors? Well, I have a conspiracy theory about them as well as their inventor.

But that is beside the point. The point? Which is...? Oh, yes--the recipe swap. I suppose it would more accurately be called a recipe SHARE, since we don't exactly swap in the full sense of the word... for those who might want to get technical. And I seem to want to, don't I?

Anyway, we started with introductions. I got to go first. "I'm Rebecca." That's it--that's all I said. Then we went around the room and everyone shared their first name and ONLY their first name. Are you impressed? I was quite the trendsetter. I could have said, "I am Rebecca. I hate to cook. I have six children who get cranky if they don't eat, so I consider it a necessary evil. I think this loathing developed in seventh grade with an ornery home-ec teacher, but it might have also stemmed from growing up with a mother who wanted me to learn how to cook but wasn't sure how to teach me (because I was a little ornery, too)..." I could have gone on and on with an introduction, but I refrained and everyone else followed suit. Sometimes less is more. (I would do well to remember that more frequently than I do.)

Next we played a game. As we went around the circle of 17-20 women, each person was to share one item from their list. If you had the same item on your list, you were to announce that and then cross the item off your list. A few items from my "list" (which was actually the pages from my weekly planning notebook where my family shoots out ideas of things they might like to eat for dinner that week): BLTs, chicken noodle soup, spaghetti, sloppy joes, chicken pasta salad, raspberry chipotle chicken, and deli sandwiches. Pretty straightforward and plain jane. Like I said, I am just lucky to get food on the table. [The raspberry chipotle is a marinade from Costco that my neighbor introduced me to--"we" grill the chicken and then eat it on a salad.]

My list had to be the most ordinary of all the lists there. I couldn't believe how adventurous some of these women were--at home in their kitchens! One woman and her husband decided to eat vegetarian five days a week. I think that is highly admirable... not to mention healthy. I just hope my family never gets wind of what is happening in kitchens all over my neighborhood (i.e. COOKING) because when they do my cover will be blown. They might accuse me of "just getting by," and worse... they might be right.


  1. I hate whining, too! It really dampens my desire to cook. (Plus you have to clean up and do the dishes after!) A recipe exchange is a good idea!

  2. I REALLY want someone (who shall remain nameless here) to say, hey you cooked the dinner, how about I clean up. And a bonus would be, and I will wipe off all the countertops! The biggest pet peeve for me about cooking is the clean up. I dream of being Rachael Ray and having a crew clean up my messes.

  3. My kids do all the dishes in our house. Luckily, we still have 6 of them at home, so they "work" in pairs, and 2 of them "clean up" after each meal. I figure I usually do the "cooking" so they can help clean up. Of course, everyone is supposed to put their own dishes in the dishwasher after each meal, hoping that it lessens the "burden" on the dish doers. It's a good system, and sometimes they even do it without fighting, and that's always fun.