I had a major victory today for my life before I went to work. At least, for my immediate present and future.
I finished the dishes.
Considering I’d been avoiding them for a week, that’s a helluva accomplishment these days.
I can’t help it. I HATE doing the dishes. Even something so mundane as unloading and loading the dishwasher. Often convenient, but otherwise annoying as films still deposit on some of my dishes and they’ll either have to be washed by hand or I’ll just throw them back in (after a rinse) for a second go.
I HATE having to scrub the pans that won’t fit (or the ones they recommend you hand-wash because of the materials or the make, as if it’d trap water and rust, like some cookie sheets I’ve had).
Hell, if I met a guy who actually loved doing the dishes, I’d have a hard time letting him go.
And this hatred of dishes has made me realize something today, something that’s impeded my healthier eating (and weight loss) goals big time over the years.
The secret to cooking is the same as the secret of comedy: timing. When it comes to cooking in the kitchen, my timing needs a LOT of work.
But that’s cooking, and what does that have to do with dishes?
Well, the mess it leaves behind makes me just wanna heat something up in the oven and be done with it, even when I have perfectly serviceable good fresh food in the fridge and freezer. I’ve got fixin’s galore for tons of different recipes, and I’m gonna be cooking the hell out of many of them tomorrow so I don’t end up wasting them all.
It’s the timing between cooking and cleaning. I have two deep sinks in my kitchen, but rather small and square. That means most pots and pans I have to wash really make that sink look overwhelming really quickly. And not many fit in there, which means I’d better wash ’em up quick.
I am trying to get better at cooking, and cooking timing. I want to have it so that as I’m cooking, I can get a great deal of cleaning done and out of the way (or at least get the stuff I can’t put in the dishwasher or need right away onto the drainboard and out of the sink).
My goal is to have as little sitting in the sink as possible once the meal is done cooking and is being served, because after I finish eating, there’s more dishes to be washed and put away.
I admit, a good part of this is laziness. I just got so overwhelmed with all kinds of stuff that I’d do a little mental scream just looking at the sink, so I avoided it. Not a good idea, since I have a small scratch in the ceramic of one of my lovely new pans (dammit). If I’d paid attention to the mess sooner, I might’ve avoided it.
And yet, that’s what’s been stopping me from cooking for the most part, despite the absolute need to cook my own food and get this pre-diabetic condition off to never-never land. It’s the dread of having to clean all those damned dishes that really makes me annoyed and just say “screw it.”
I think one of the things I could do that would help (naturally depending on the recipe) is start with more crockpot related meals, and then go back to stove or oven recipes. I don’t have an instant pot–I’m afraid that quick turnaround would piss me off and make the problem worse. I need time in the meal, especially for the cleaning part. It would be less intimidating to let the food cook a while and I’ve already got the cutting boards rinsed off and ready to store, the knives rinsed, ladles and bowls drying and ready to put away (or start the wash cycle).
It’s that crucial timing so the job of cooking goes back to a delightful experience rather than a chore I have to deal with.
I could also cook at a slightly lower temperature and just let simmer stretch out in certain recipes. That would help buy me time to get things cleaned up and off the counter so I can set things up to cool off and store when it’s ready to go (or eat right away).
As it’s just me eating this stuff, I also need to work on smaller recipes. The last thing I made that I hadn’t had before was some vegetarian chili mac (which tasted good, but created FAR too many leftovers–some of which I’ll have to donate to the squirrels and other animals in the backyard in the morning).
It’s that balance I have to find, which extends itself to the rest of the house. I’ve let things go around here with all my work drama and house-paperwork drama. Tomorrow (however freaking late I get up) will begin with a big cup of coffee and some very energetic cleaning.
I admit, I still find some pride in myself when I see that empty sink over there. It’s the way it should look at the end of every day, no matter how easy or hard. I just hate cleaning the dishes so much it’s tough to make myself start.
Learning how to implement the cleaning part into the cooking time might help with that. Timing means more free time in the long run (more enjoyable free time, at least) and better tasting food because I won’t be overly panicky over every possible mistake and watching the food like a hawk while checking the recipe for the fifth time to make sure I didn’t miss a step.
Yes, I believe in improvising recipes, but I prefer to at least taste what the originator intended when they printed a particular recipe. That’s helped me not overly-salt or really screw up something.
Well, time to get a few more things done, and have a little more to drink. There are some doozies of fireworks and rockets that’ve been going off the past few days. I doubt I’ll be getting much if any sleep in the next few hours, so I might as well knock a few things off my to-do list and cuddle with the pups til I’m sleepy enough.
Anything that will help me avoid the laundry a while longer…