I love to cook. You may have guessed that from some of my writings.
I also love to be fed in restaurants. What? Everyone likes a break now and then, too.
When it comes to eating well, there are plenty of approaches to take. Different bodies perform better on different schedules, different amounts of food, different combinations of nutrients, and different ways of getting that food down the hatch, as it were.
Oh, yes, and different people have different levels of interest in making the food themselves.
You know, I bet there were even days when Paul Child came home after a hard day only to find Julia with her feet propped up on the coffee table announcing that dinner would be arriving in a pizza box or Chinese take out cartons in a few minutes.
What? I do that sometimes.
Most days my approach to cooking is to come up with a vague outline of what the evening meal will be when I’m standing in front of the butcher’s counter at my local grocery store or in front of the fridge at home. Then I start cooking. Things come together as I put them in the pan or the pot. Once in a while I start with an actual recipe, usually when trying out a new food I’ve never cooked before, but most days it’s pretty seat of the pants.
If, however, I know someone is coming over for dinner on a specific date, I approach the event with military precision. I have my cookbooks out days in advance, make grocery lists, determine a timeline, make certain I have considered every possible aspect of creating the meal from budget to oven space to food issues.
There are other people I know who plan every meal they cook carefully – and cook every meal three hundred sixty-five days a year, and people who have to go through and dust their stoves periodically because they just don’t cook for themselves. They eat out or order in pretty much every single day. I’ve known people who cook huge batches of stuff that they store in single (or family) sized meal containers until they need them, and people who can’t plan dinner until well after they’ve eaten lunch.
The thing is, there is no one approach to getting food into your body… and that’s okay. If it fits your budget and makes you happy (or at least contented) the majority of the time, then that’s the approach for you.
Any number of things may influence what works for you, and some of them will change over time. Your budget, schedule, cooking facilities, access to foodstuffs, equipment, physical and/or emotional condition, level of cooking knowledge, and personal preferences will all factor in to your decisions.
We all eat. If we don’t, our bodies and minds cannot function. We will die. It really is that simple. Whatever way we choose to get enough food into our bodies to function well is completely valid.
So how about all of you out there in Big Girl land? Do you cook most days? Are you famous for your call to the Chinese take out? Do you plan meals in advance or trust to instinct and the last minute? Could you store important documents in your broiler because you so seldom use it? Do you fondle your food processor when nobody is looking?
There is no right or wrong answer. There is no grade lurking in the corner. There’s just how people feed themselves. And as long as you’re getting sufficient food into yourself on a regular basis, it’s all good.
PS: I don’t fondle my food processor… but I have been known to gently goose my KitchenAide stand mixer, even in mixed company. I’m in love with it and I don’t care who knows. So there.