I’m a therapist, not a chef.
What does this have to do with writing about cooking and coping with food allergies?
This means that despite writing about a great recipe once in a while, or a great success in the kitchen, food is not my life’s work. Emotions, people, talking, offering support and challenge to my clients, and even looking at with curiosity at my own coping process – that is my life’s work.
As a result, there are a lot of days I wouldn’t even call cooking an especially enjoyable hobby, because I’ve already spent my energy elsewhere.
I enjoy cooking when I have time and energy – there is magic in the kitchen on those days – and it can be a wonderfully therapeutic endeavor, especially when the food around me feels dangerous and scary.
That being said, on the days when I’ve been away from home for many hours, and I put my coffee cup from the morning in the sink and trudge up the stairs to shed the stressors of the day, sometimes the last thing I want to do is cook from scratch. I want to order Chinese food take-out, and sit on the couch in my sweatpants. Of course, I can’t eat Chinese take-out for risk of food allergens, so pasta and leftover home-made pasta sauce will have to do on those days.
Am I a failure for sometimes choosing the easy way out? No. I did a lot of good things during the day, and not having the energy for a from-scratch delicious meal does not make me a bad person, or even a bad blogger. It just makes me a tired individual who spent her energy elsewhere that day.
The key, I think, is in setting aside the time and the energy in order to do the cooking the way I’d like to. If I want a healthy meal on Wednesday, I’m going to have to prep some of the basics – or at least buy some healthy vegetables! – on Sunday. And the other key is in setting realistic expectations. Friday night after a full week of work is not going to be the night I aspire to attempt a new recipe. I’m not a chef by day (sometimes not by night, either), and I’m okay with that.