Culinary Groundhog Day
I will be honest with you: Despite posting the odd recipe on my blog, I’m not one of life’s chefs. I’m not a foodie. Cooking is not something I enjoy. Pre-children, I rarely bothered – working in the media, I ate in gorgeous restaurants five nights out of seven, then flopped gratefully on the sofa with beans on toast or pasta the other two.
It’s only since having children that I’ve had to force myself to learn how to combine healthy ingredients into dishes that would nourish the little angels without causing them to a) gag b) get food poisoning or c) throw the food back at me.
It’s been a challenge, I can tell you.
But now I have a little repertoire of dishes that everyone in the family likes; dishes that meet my requirements for healthy eating and that are relatively quick and easy to make. The problem is, as I sit down on Saturday to write out the week’s menu, I get into a rut. It feels like Groundhog Day. We have:
Sunday – Grilled salmon (kids only – DH and I hate salmon).
Monday – Some sort of vegetarian curry or dhal with rice or chapattis.
Tuesday – Some sort of pasta dish (lasagne, spag bol, tuna pasta).
Wednesday – Some sort of baked dish (shepherd’s pie, moussaka, veggie bake).
Thursday – Homemade salmon fishcakes or chicken strips for the children; something from the freezer for the adults.
Friday and Saturday I don’t cook. We might eat out, order NKD Pizza or scavenge in the larder.
I’m desperate to increase my repertoire so, now and then, I flick through recipe sites and print out new ideas. But out of every five new recipes that I try, maybe only one will meet with approval from the entire family, so it’s a pretty soul-destroying task.
This week, I thought I’d found a winner. It was a “Zingy vegetable bake” touted as “a mix of healthy, vitamin-rich vegetables covered with creamy cheese sauce with a golden, crunchy, cheesy topping – yum!” It was “favourited” by 25 cooks and even had crushed chillies in it – DH’s requisite ingredient.
As I wrote the shopping list, I decided to share the joy with DH.
“You’re getting this on Wednesday,” I said, shoving the iPad under his nose.
“It looks like vomit,” he said [fair point, I must add, on closer inspection].
“But it’s a ‘mix of healthy, vitamin-rich vegetables covered with creamy cheese sauce with a golden, crunchy, cheesy topping’!” I said enthusiastically. “I’ll do it with a salad!”
“Oh my,” he said, deadpan. “Yum.”