Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Salt, Cooking, and a long treatise about Time

I love to cook because I love to eat. I love food that is fresh and flavorful, and the canned/packaged/prepared stuff just doesn't cut it. Call me spoiled.

I grew up with a stay-at-home mom who cooked nearly every day. Our one-income family of four didn't have the funds to eat out very often, so eating out was for special occasions. I probably took for granted the wonderful meals that Mom prepared day in and day out.

Photo from stock.xchng

I recently heard a statistic that Americans consume on average more than twice the daily recommended amount of sodium. The maximum should be 2300 mg a day, which is about a teaspoon, but 1500 mg is better. The majority of that sodium comes from prepared foods. (Is it bad that a maximum of a teaspoon of salt a day seems like an impossibly small amount?)

Sometimes I think my lifestyle is a bit boring and it feels as though I'm not living up to my potential, but from another perspective, I am fortunate. I have time to go home and make lunch every day.  I have time to cook decent meals every evening, even if they aren't always exotic and complicated.

Many, many other people do not have time for that. They regularly eat prepared foods from grocery stores or restaurants because they have to, yet there are aisles of cookbooks promising meals that are Easy, Fast, Delicious! and plenty of cooking shows on TV, and cooking programs available for Wii and DS, etc, etc. But how often are meals really cooked at home? There seems to be a disconnect between our desired lifestyles and our actual ones. I know a lady that orders food from Schwan's, and that's pretty much the only "cooking" she does. Ever. That makes me feel a bit sad.

Cooking on a regular basis is still new and fun for me, but I don't always want to spend my free time cooking. I'm guessing it will only get easier to shove cooking to the back burner.

But see, I don't want that to happen. I don't want to feel like I don't have time for things like cooking.

Maybe that's not a cooking philosophy. Maybe it's a time philosophy.

I never want to be so busy, so weighted down by obligations, that I don't even have time to think about cooking, or reading, or taking a slow evening walk with Andy and the dog.

Right now we don't have kids, or stressful jobs, or meetings for organizations, or any of the other things that demand precious minutes from the day. I used to be concerned when people asked me what I did in my free time, and I had to respond, "Nothing, really."

It's true. I do whatever I want to do, which is usually nothing exciting. I cook. I watch movies. I play with the dog. My lifestyle doesn't lend itself to exciting stories told to family and friends. It used to make me feel boring.

But when it comes down to it, that's ok, because I know what I don't want: stress. I have been stressed to the point of nervous breakdown and panic attacks. I am prone to stressing about insignificant things.

While having this free time may not be much of a choice right now, I suspect that one day it will be. I'll have to say No to things that I'll feel obligated to say Yes to, so that I can come home and cook, and do nothing and be boring. And it might be difficult, but for reasons beyond sodium, it will be necessary.

1 comment:

  1. "I'm guessing it will only get easier to shove cooking to the back burner." Nice! I wonder if you enjoyed that as much as me. I also like that you used "treatise" even though it sounds a bit upppity. Yeah three p's, lol. Interesting perspective on free time. I agree with you in that balance is good. That's what I heard anyway.