Motherhood fuels foodie dreams
I have a new infatuation, and it has everything to do with food.
Or at least watching other people make it.
Having an infant in the house presents its challenges when making sure everyone else other than baby are fed. The crock pot is a godsend, as are frozen meals in a bag that only need a few minutes in a skillet to cook. I like to tune into the Food Network and Cooking Channel for inspiration on meal planning. But I mostly end up watching in awe as Ree Drummond, better known as the Pioneer Woman, makes homemade mayonnaise and Bobby Flay whips up a rustic brunch featuring a hip Bloody Mary bar.
Who knew pickled asparagus could be so sexy?
I find cooking shows to be zen-like and relaxing. Except maybe the reality TV-type programming such as “Chopped,” “Cutthroat Kitchen” and “Guy’s Grocery Games.” These shows —which I’m admittedly obsessed with — add some suspense and competition to food preparation. I like seeing the creativity and efficiency competitors bring to the prep tables in a short amount of time.
The plating component is always my favorite.
This popular culinary networking inspires me to make homemade creations using kale, quinoa and butternut squash pasta. In reality, I’m lucky to pull off a simple chicken breast marinated with Italian dressing in the slow cooker with a side of instant rice. Over Christmas, I actually convinced myself I needed one of those fancy KitchenAid artisan stand mixers — I have my eye on the red one.
The Aqua Sky is a nice color, too.
I daydreamed about mixing the ingredients for my own homemade breads and cute cupcakes in between writing projects, as flour lightly dusted my nose while Will played in his bouncy jumper. I might even have been wearing heels and a lacy apron with cherries on it.
Maybe even a strand of pearls.
Since time is not always on my side, and I’m not exactly the picture of perfect homemaking, I opted for a new camera instead of a shiny stand mixer. For now. I wanted to be able to best capture Will’s childhood moments with better quality than using my phone or tablet. I figure the homemade kosher-salt crusted sourdough bread and red velvet cupcakes with sour cream icing cupcakes can wait until I have time to take a shower longer than two minutes. Or do anything with my hair outside of putting it up in a ponytail between feedings and naps.
A girl can dream.
I’ve been watching so much Food Network and Cooking Channel lately, even the words, “I could see myself going to culinary school” once came out of my mouth. I must have been suffering from sleep deprivation that day. The chance of me having the time, or funds, to go back to school at this juncture in my life seems as impossible as me making ample use of a fancy new stand mixer.
I can be quite the dreamer sometimes.
I’ve also watched Guy Fieri’s “Diners Drive-ins and Dives,” another favorite, and immediately imagined myself running a nostalgia-fueled food truck that serves food made with mayo. Think what a mom in the 1950s might make for lunch. For example, homemade egg or ham salad sandwiches, deviled eggs, canned bread-and-butter pickle chips, potato salad, and tomato soup with a BLT on Wonder Bread.
I wonder if I could do all that with a baby on my hip.
Maybe motherhood will bring the secret cook, or someday chef, out in me. For now, I never know what can happen between naps, changings, feedings and teething. So personal goals and commitments involving cooking and baking can wait for Will to at least be able to form complete sentences. I’ve been waiting a lifetime for this opportunity to be a mom, and I’m taking in every moment without needing to operate my own street food truck right now. I’ll stick to watching “Dinner at Tiffani’s” with Saved By The Bell actress Tiffani Thiessen — she seems like a lot of fun to have a dinner party with — and “Valerie’s Home Cooking” with former “One day at a Time” teen star Valerie Bertinelli. She also seems nice. And fantasize about making it past the appetizer round on “Chopped” using mystery basket ingredients such as mustard greens, cactus pears, rock candy and duck breast.
While, most importantly, making sure baby is fed. And happy.
April E. Clark is feeding Will rice cereal with a spoon these days. Next up, peas. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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