Last week Brett and I received a lovely letter from WenYu, thanking us for all we had done for her over the years to help her get where she is now. She particularly thanked Brett for teaching her how to drive, and then continuing to drive her around because she disliked driving so much. She thanked me for “sacrificing my happiness” in the kitchen in order to make sure she always had a good, healthy dinner every night.
Sacrificing my happiness?
I enjoy cooking. I’m a good cook and take pride in the meals I prepare. I’ve always enjoyed creating menus and preparing healthy, tasty food for my family, who thankfully, with few exceptions, eat everything I make without complaint. WenYu’s letter made me realize however that I have apparently not been a happy cook for a while.
It’s hot and humid here, and just when it’s time to get started with fixing dinner that’s when the sun is beating on the house from the west (and both kitchens have been/are on the west side of the house) AND the trade winds die off for a couple of hours, killing any breezes that typically flow through the house. The combination of afternoon sun and no air moving has made working in the kitchen nearly intolerable at times, for me anyway. Our current kitchen has a ceiling fan, which helps quite a bit, but it has to be turned off if we’re cooking on the stove. I can honestly say that cooking dinner for the past two years has been an effort of trying to stay cool long enough that I can get things to the table and enjoy eating with my family, and I apparently failed at this more than I realized. It didn’t help my mood either that my former place at the table in this house sits in a “dead zone” between two ceiling fans – I had no idea how truly uncomfortable it was there until I moved week before last to the opposite side of the table, where WenYu used to sit, and experienced the cool breeze coming from the living room fan while I dined.
I have vowed to be a happier cook once again. I will use my slow cooker more, we will grill more, and I will try to keep the ceiling fan going in the kitchen whenever possible, for as long as possible. I will call YaYu in to help with stovetop cooking rather than being a stoic and sweating it out; she doesn’t heat up like I do. No more “sacrificing my happiness” in the kitchen!
Here’s this week’s menu – not as many “cool” meals as I would like, but YaYu and I will get it done. She’s excited we’re making a meatloaf!
- Tuesday (this evening): Sunset Magazine’s Family Meatloaf (from 1969); mashed potatoes & gravy; steamed green beans. I make the meatloaf with 1# ground beef and 1# ground turkey, oats instead of breadcrumbs, and only 2/3 cup milk. (I’ll be having lentil soup though.)
- Wednesday: Caprese Skillet Eggs; garlic toast; salad
- Thursday: Sautéed Italian sausages, peppers and onion (on the grill) for sandwiches; chips (vegan sausage for me)
- Friday: Mabo nasu with tofu; steamed rice; sliced cucumbers
- Saturday: Leftovers
- Sunday: Slow cooker chicken & rice soup; cornbread (lentil soup again for me).
- Monday: Homemade fish cake sandwiches; honeydew melon
Fingers crossed that all goes as planned!