Monday, April 26, 2010

Convenience Food Guilt

I should probably start out by acknowledging how ridiculous it is for me to write about frozen meals on a cooking blog. But hey, everyone needs a break from cooking sometimes. Normally you could convince your spouse or significant other or roommate to cook, or scrounge up some leftovers from some past meal. But when you live alone and carefully plan, it’s more likely that you will be faced with an empty fridge and bare cupboards.

You see, this week is finals at the university where I work. I volunteered to help out by working 9-midnight and making coffee. (I knew I couldn’t handle the midnight-6am shift.) So Sunday was pretty much a lost day, with the exception of some dishes. And Saturday the cat and I had a vet appointment (his last for a while!), which was followed by a brunch date. Normally I do my grocery shopping on Friday, but this week I went home early because I wasn’t feeling well. So clearly stopping at the store wasn’t really an option. I had enough food in the house to feed myself reasonably well this weekend, but work food is another story. Luckily, I have a few packets of oatmeal in my desk for when I run out of yogurt (my normal Monday-Friday breakfast). And grabbing lunch is no challenge when you work on a college campus - today it was the Inari Special (yum) and a sushi roll.

But what this means is that it is Monday night, the beginning of a VERY long week for me (I have to drive across the state for a conference and then participate in graduation the next morning), and I have no food prepared to reheat through the week. In cases like this, when being busy collides with being a little burnt out from cooking, I rely on frozen meals. I know, it’s really unhealthy, and I’m not a huge fan of not knowing what’s in my food, but some days, it’s just easier and the only way I can be sure to get a vaguely balanced diet. And it will be offset by the quiche I’m making for my lunches.

I know that it’s silly, but I can’t help but feel a little bit guilty for relying on convenience food, especially when I do love to cook. It’s just that sometimes life gets in the way.

Monday, April 19, 2010

It seems like everyone thinks "Oh, no one is going to read this!" when they start a blog, but really, I don't expect anyone to read this. I'm starting it for myself, to push myself slightly out of my comfort zone, and force myself to try something new. I've been blogging for years, but nothing quite like this.

So, why a food blog? Well, I read a TON of them. I love to cook and come from a family that loves to cook. In fact, I first learned to cook (scrambled eggs and french toast) before I reached that point in development where pan = hot. This meant that my first few years of cooking were a bit painful. But I still loved it. And once I was in my early teens I had switched to baking (mostly because at that point I had serious issues with raw meat, and anyway I was still living with my family and they took care of most meals).

So fast forward to the present, and the reason for starting this blog. I moved out to Michigan from the east coast for a job (I'm an academic librarian - thus the title of this blog) and I'm now responsible for feeding myself 3 relatively square meals a day. Unlike when I was in NYC or Pittsburgh, I don't have the luxury of being able to just pop out and pick up something prepared and still semi-healthy, so I've rediscovered both my love of cooking and my tendency to go a little overboard. You see, I live alone (well, I share my apartment with Gary, my giant cat, but he only eats kibble, so I can't use him for leftovers). And as anyone who lives alone AND loves to cook can tell you - your options are either to waste a lot of food, eat the same thing over and over and over again, OR learn to be creative. So far I've cycled through options 1 and 2, and this blog is designed to hopefully get me to option 3.

The eventual goal is to blog what I buy when I go grocery shopping (or pick up my CSA share), and then what I do with it. I'm not sure how well I'll do, but it's worth a shot and I think it'll be a fun exercise for a little while at least.