How to avoid cooking
My stepmother had me cooking from the time I was six years old. Oh sure, at that time she just gave me an Easy Bake Oven, but I know her designs from the beginning were to pretend cooking was fun so I would eventually take over and she wouldn't have to cook any more.
From helping to can summer vegetables to preparing the cakes she would professionally decorate and sell, to pulling all-nighters when my stepmother eventually started her own catering company, I was her sidekick in the kitchen.
All of that training paid off now that I have a child with multiple food allergies and have to come up with ways to feed him that don't involve nutrients via IV.
Occasionally, I've posted my recipes here (and now I post recipes here) because when I find something good, I like to share it.
But as much time as I spend in the kitchen cooking most of my family's meals from scratch, I confess sometimes I really just don't want to even look in the kitchen's direction.
Even for someone who volunteers to take meals to people after they bring home a new baby or have surgery, there is such a thing as cooking burnout.
So here are my tips to avoid cooking dinner.
1. Use leftovers. No matter how weird a combination you have. Scrounge through your fridge and cabinets and serve whatever is there. It's OK if all you have are stale freezer pancakes and a can of beets. Dinners like that will make your family appreciate it even more when you actually do cook.
2. Shuffle things around in the kitchen. Your family might actually think you are cooking when you aren't. Of course, eventually the jig will be up and you'll have to put food on the table, order takeout or tell everyone to fend for themselves.
3. Use restaurant gift cards. No lie, I have a stash of them. In my kitchen. Both my mother and my husband's are so good about mailing us gift cards for Big Name Restaurant That Offers To-Go Meals. If you don't have a family member who likes mailing you restaurant gift cards, then get sneaky and swap gift cards with a friend. ("Hey! Look what a friend gave me! I think we should put this to good use.") Or buy them for yourself. (Note my stepmother doesn't send us restaurant gift cards. She thinks I should be ever cooking.)
4. Distract your family. "Let's look at the stars!" "Let's go for a bike ride!" "Wow! Bedtime already?" "I think I might be contagious and should go lie down." Maybe they will forget about dinner altogether.
5. Remember there is always cereal. In our house, organic and gluten-free.
Oh, and? My husband thinks cooking is heating something in the microwave and making popcorn. So he's not much help in the kitchen. He has been known, however, to bring home a meal from Whole Foods, which is just as good as tip #3.
If you're the family cook and facing burnout, there is hope. Just be creative outside of the kitchen and take the night off. You deserve it.
What other tips would you add?