I do not like to cook. I do not cook often and I am out of practice so when I do try – I can make a real mess. Even the dishes I have been known for by family and friends seem to fail.
I was surprised by an article I read telling me five ways cooking benefits your mental state. I have never thought about it but according to the expert, cooking a good meal relieves stress, gives joy, provides better brain health, makes a person more creative and boosts self-confidence.
Wow, I had no idea. I suppose I need to get back to the kitchen and learn to like it. It could be the reason I am stressed and lacking in creativity.
When I was growing up my mom cooked three meals a day with one exception -- Friday nights. Our weekly treat was hamburgers on Friday night. There was a little diner/grill near our house that would run a weekly special on hamburgers 12 for $1. The regular price was 10 cents each. (Ground beef could be bought for three pounds for 89 cents in those days.)
We would go to the little cafe and get the hamburgers that came in a box, cooked on the grill, and wrapped in white paper. We would go to Grandma's house and enjoy. It was a real treat to get a bought hamburger. Even though it was over a half century ago, I still remember those burgers. I also remember the diner. It had a long bar with about 10 or 12 stools and the man cooked the burgers on a large grill while we watched and waited. He would grill the onions on the grill while he was flipping the burgers.
Moving up a generation, we did not eat out a lot when we were raising our children. I cooked dinner almost every night. I actually purchased whole chickens, cut them up and fried them just like my mom taught me. We always had a good supply of ground beef in the freezer because you can create a variety of meals with ground beef. I would cook many goulash recipes, spaghetti, meatloaf, chili, vegetable soup, Manwich, and just regular hamburgers. Most of the time I would have a vegetable and a dessert.
Our eating out consisted of going to my in-laws house on Friday nights. Before all of our children got old enough to be involved in sports and other activities, my mother-in-law would cook dinner on Friday nights for the family. My husband and his three brothers and their families would enjoy the meal and visiting. It gave the young cousins time to get to know each other and it kept his family close.
There were a few years when all of my family (parents and siblings and spouses) would get together for Sunday dinners. We would also bowl together on Saturday nights in Blytheville. We would bowl and then go out to Shoney's for hot fudge cake and ice cream. The bowling alley and Shoneys are both gone. We did enjoy those days.
I am not sure but I would venture to say very few families (including my own) get together on a regular basis anymore. Maybe once a year at a reunion or another special event. We have all gotten too busy and it is sad.
I don't know how I got from the cooking issue to the memory lane, but I suppose it is the fact when my family, or my husband's family, all got together -- food was there.
My mother is an excellent cook and both my grandmothers were wonderful cooks. I really should have watched and learned a little better.
I suppose I can blame them for my lack of cooking skills. After I married, whenever we had a family meal planned and I asked what I needed to bring, the answer was always the same. I was told to bring potato salad and/or macaroni salad. I am good at those two sides. I still prepare both on Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
My mother and my husband do most of the cooking at our house these days and I help with the clean up. Since I have learned the benefits of cooking, I probably need to get more involved in the kitchen.