Feeding People

If you have read this blog and/or my other incarnation, Grumpy Granny, you will know that cooking has been a big part of me for a long time.  But over the past few years, even before the breakup and my move here, I had become less and less enamored of cooking for other people on a daily basis.

The phrase, “What’s for dinner?” is now more likely to engender anxiety and sometimes even rage rather than excitement or creativity.  Before, with G it became, I’m working, you’re not, can’t you fix your own dinner?  And now, with E, it’s more like, why are you even asking because you’ll just go in there and eat a bag of chips before I get done cooking and then tell me you’re not hungry after I’ve spent hours trying to make something you’ll even eat.

I’m sick of thinking about food for other people, trying to figure out what he will eat that I won’t end up throwing away after a week or whatever.  I really HATE throwing away food, and I’m now past the point of wanting to eat the rest of it myself, even spaced out over a few days and I have very little room for food storage, so unless it’s something I’m really crazy about, I’m not freezing and keeping it.

I believe there are two kinds of people when it comes to food.  Those who may or may not refer to themselves as “foodies” who are (usually) women, and who are involved in feeding their families daily.  As such, they must be constantly thinking about food…what they have, what they need, what dish(es) to fix tonight, this week, this month, when they will be able to get to the store to get things they need and don’t have or things they just want to have on hand.  It’s a daily thing.  They are usually the ones IN the kitchen all the time, so it’s easy to notice when the half and half bottle is nearly empty and jot it down on the list.  But when they’re not in the kitchen and someone else uses up all the ketchup and never says anything, and then it’s not on the list, sure enough, they will get home from the store not having bought ketchup and will need it in the next recipe they make.  It never fails.  They are always planning and inventorying and testing out recipes in their heads and even if they don’t go into the kitchen for an entire day, they can ever really escape its pull.

The other type of person is someone who has simply had food put in front of them their entire lives.  These are, not surprisingly, mostly men.  My father was one.  E is another, for the most part.   He is also someone who simply doesn’t think about food until he is on the verge of gnawing his own fingers off because he’s so hungry.  Why should he think about food?  Someone (me) is always there to put something in front of him.  Because I KNOW what’s in the kitchen and how to cook it, and what he likes.  So, why bother to think about food?  When he first came to live with us, there were a few times where he literally passed out because he hadn’t eaten.  My daughter railed about how he was always stealing food from her room (she and her bf [now husband] kept the “spare” food locked in their bedroom), so after he came to us, we told him he had free reign of the kitchen and he could eat anything we had…put to please let us know if he ate all of it so we could get more.  He pretty much ate nothing outside of regular meal things unless it was the occasional bag of Skittles and, of course, chips.  Even easy stuff like cereal or ramen.  He left it all alone.  And passed out from not eating in a house full of food.  Go figure.

But now, as he approaches 18, I am just tired of it.  I get that he doesn’t really care about food as a creative outlet.  That’s certainly not for everyone.  But everyone, male, female or other-gendered, should be able to fend for themselves in a kitchen, even if it is just ramen, bacon and eggs, toast, grilled cheese and heating up something from a can or nuking something frozen.  I mean, really!

My eating habits and desires have changed radically over these last three years.  I’d rather just have some good cheeses, funky kinds of crackers, and thin-sliced Italian cold cuts with a crisp apple, some olives and pickles and call it good.

I still like to go to the grocery store and wander the aisles, but more and more I come home with bags full of food thinking why on earth did I buy all this stuff?  Old habits are hard to break.

I really can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to living with another adult person who will not expect me to feed her.  Cheese and crackers, here I come!

5 thoughts on “Feeding People

  1. As someone who isn’t a great cook and isn’t all that interested in preparing food, I have always had a lot of anxiety about producing meals. It’s stressful!
    Now that I live alone, I typically eat two meals a day. Breakfast is always coffee and an english muffin, and then a meal that is later than lunch and earlier than dinner. I try to have something hot several times a week just so I have that feeling of satisfaction and satiety, but sometimes it’s a charcuterie plate such as you describe above.
    I will say that your last paragraph left me wondering… is there a person in the offing? Have I missed something?

  2. I hear you. It is astonishing how much energy can go into cooking food for a family. When alone, I too tend to graze on minimally prepared foods!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s