I don't hate to cook, I hate to clean. I hate to clean more than I love to cook. That is my problem. I consider myself a "creative" cook. I make things up or try things I see on cooking shows,I try to invent all new tastes - I switch into my "artistic" mode.
As an artist I let loose of foolish conventions, my grandma told me "a good cook always cleans up after herself" but I laugh in the face of such bondage, "give me room, give me space - see what I can do!" Picture the Swedish chef from the muppet show. That is me, food splatters the cupboards, I spill, slop, chop and spray during my most creative moments every pot will become dirty, every bowl used. I end up with a self-declared masterpiece (we do not have general consensus in the family.)
I try to reign in my creative genius most nights. Last night we were conventional. Grilled chicken breasts, brussel sprouts and red potatoes, there was mess, but it was bearable. Most nights I still cringe at 4:30 and think of the time I am going to spend cooking, and then the time I will have to spend re-cleaning. I am a bit anal about having a clean kitchen which leads to rebellion. In moments of weakness (especially pregnancy) I state: "The kitchen is closed, I am having help prepare dinner. I decide to become a lady of leisure and just like Carol Brady says to Alice "oh Alice that looks good!" I ask Wendy what she has for me, and I give her genuine praise and money. We have a symbiotic relationship. We need each other.
Not any more. . . I have had to do away with my excuses. Could you imagine what Mike would do if he found Alice poisoning Greg and Marsha's food? Kick her to the curb and let her little butcher friend Sam have her for good, is what he would do. Well, Wendy and her little Chihuahua friend were killing me and my family. Here are my ways of kicking the habit to the curb and to convince myself not to eat out and avoid an early death.
#1. I play the Calorie and Fat Card. In order to get the Diva Artist inside of me convinced of old McDonald's back stabbing ways, I ask to see the nutrition information card. Each restaurant has one. A month ago, thinking we were making a healthy choice, we went to Del Taco. Fresh and fatty should be their motto. I could not believe what I was seeing. The things that I could make at home for little or no fat, were PACKED with the thigh dimpling stuff. Hint - 17, 28 or 37 grams or more will kill you - eventually- I could not believe what that store was offering me. I like to keep fat to 2, 4, or 6 grams. I had to get a salad with no dressing, tear off the cheese, half the amount of chicken and top the whole thing with salsa. I might as well have bought a head of iceberg lettuce, poured on the Pace and would have enjoyed it just as much. Ask to see the information, it just might take away your appetite!
#2. If the fat card is not enough to sway me away from the dangerous trip to the King of all burgers, I must ask myself how much money I will spend, and how much I could save. It cost's $30 to feed my family usually at fast food, $60 - $80 at slow food. The more kids I get, (and I am getting quite a collection) the more places I have to put the money. I just ask myself if I would sweep my floor and wipe the counters down for $30. That usually does it for me.
#3. The time card is the last of my tricks. I used to think I was saving time ordering pizza, but by the time the delivery boy leaves his hut and makes it to my house the kids have told me hundreds of times that they are STARVING!!! I have a wonderful whole wheat pizza crust recipe, which is so simple and takes only 20 minutes from start to finish to make a lovely healthier pizza. I can clean a messy kitchen in 10 minutes, so from start to finish, I am still 15 minutes under the delivery boy, and $30 richer. Even the box pasta dinners can be thrown together in minutes, and if you omit the fat, or at least cut it down, you are still healthier than eating out.
#4. My only other temptation for fast food is driving around on errands, and suddenly I hear the whines of children. They are starving!!! Feed them!!! In the past it was so easy to drive up to anywhere that wanted to feed us. Now, I come prepared. I have juice boxes in my purse, granola bars in the van, I try never to leave without fishy crackers. Usually that will quell the hunger until we make it home. One of my sisters keeps a flat of water bottles, and a costco sized box of granola bars in the back of her van. It works!
I now look in the mirror and say, I have fondled my last fry, saluted the shake goodbye, I am a new woman, I am a home-cooking Diva! If you share this challenge then, good luck!