Monday, January 13, 2014. My husband’s semester begins today. The college is an hour into the city from home. I drive him in to take advantage of the better grocery and market opportunities, and also to have time to myself to write. While he works, I spend an inordinate amount of time drinking tea at Starbucks. It gets me out of the house.
It is both a relief and a challenge when classes are in session. It is a relief because, four days a week, I am only responsible for feeding the two of us, and can be more adventurous with what I cook. And, it is a challenge because our meal times get shuffled around by three or four hours between the Monday/Wednesday schedule, and the Tuesday/Thursday schedule. And then, Friday through Sunday, it’s back to a third - more rigid - schedule that my in-laws are accustomed to keeping.
Every semester, come this time, I find myself wishing I had stockpiled a few more low or no effort meals in the freezer. I could blame this on being ill, but really, I think about these things and it takes a couple weekends to get around to actually doing something about it. This is after I have scrambled through the kitchen for a couple of weeks producing helpings of Leftover Resentment Pie, or Eat It with a side of Don’t Complain!
I love to cook, but even I get burned out: anyone who says they don’t is lying. The daily grind of putting meals on the table - week in and week out - can be enough to turn even the most zealous cook into a bitter task master. I find January particularly hard. Thank goodness I have shelves full of books to get over the occasional ruts and mires that are a part of my cooking life.
Leftovers are the stuff of today’s meals. For lunch I produced a Frittata featuring leftover fingerling potatoes and carrots that outlasted the remnants of a beef roast dinner. The results were somewhat bland, so I did what any desperate cook would do, served it smothered in leftover salsa from last nights tacos. Later tonight I’m going to make a lazy version of chicken fried rice with the excess rice I prepared for dinner a couple nights ago.
It feels good in an efficient frugal kind of way to use up leftovers. Even though I try very hard not to allow this to happen, I am embarrassed by how often good food languishes in the back of the fridge and then ends up in the bin. Hey ho. There is only so much time in each day.