Winter is coming. Another pandemic winter. We are cooped up. Even Ina Garten can’t cheer some of us, because cooking is what everyone is turning to to keep us healthy, happy, and occupied.

I hate cooking. I have always hated it. Despite the fact that both of my children tell me that they really appreciated the fact that I tried very hard while they were growing up, and they both marvel at the fact that we had salad with dinner every night (I had no idea that this calls for accolades, but I take them wherever I can get them), I never loved meal preparation.

It takes a long time to make a good dinner, and it disappears within minutes, and then, as those wise women throughout the ages have whinged, you have to clean up, scrub the pots and pans, and immediately start planning for tomorrow’s meals.

I have no right to complain, especially since I watched a documentary series about a group of people who actually volunteered to spend one year living as Victorian Farmers. The woman who did all the cooking had to use a coal-burning stove, she had to boil almost all of the food, including mutton, for God’s sake, and she had to kill the turkey before she could cook it. She didn’t want to boil it–who would blame her. So she had to set up an entire rotisserie sort of contraption involving a cast-iron semi-circle thing to hang the turkey from. This involved a wind-up thing to turn the bird, and she had to cycle back (while she was boiling the laundry and using lye soap and a beating stick) every ten minutes to rewind the turkey turner. And by the way, the turkey was indeed free-range from out in the dooryard, but it was scrawny and most likely was the origin of the expression “tough old bird.”

So back to me, the privileged woman in her kitchen full of labor saving devices who only has to open a can of cranberry sauce. I still have to come up with dinner every night. It has to be nutritious and should be delicious. It often isn’t either, because I have cooking fatigue (thank God that woman on the Victorian show doesn’t know me; I hope she doesn’t follow me on Instagram). I like the idea of grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. I also like omelets, but as you all know who read this blog, those are verboten over here.

So my husband looks at me wistfully and asks if we might be having fish tonight? He loves fish. I hate it. Salmon looks delicious, but it is so damn fishy. Why is it so popular? I answer, “Yes, if tuna salad sandwiches and chicken noodle soup count.” They don’t.

So here are the things that I have perfected during this god forsaken year of COVID-19:

  • Macaroni and cheese not out of a box. I have become an expert at cream sauce, can you believe it?
  • Spaghetti and Rao’s Famous Sauce. Easy-peasy, although my husband is getting sick of it.
  • Having pizza delivered.
  • Frozen chicken pot pies with baked potatoes.
  • Tater tots.
  • Door Dash.
  • Tater tots.
  • Tacos from the restaurant downstairs.
  • And yes, tuna salad sandwiches.

Don’t interpret this as a cry for help and start emailing me recipes. Really. I mean it.

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