Cooking: Secretly The Worst?

Ms. ChildEveryone knows that secrets to living frugally include 1) cooking as much as possible, and 2) more cooking. But cooking, man! It’s time consuming, exhausting, stressful, and then, even after all that effort, unreliable.

When I finally went to bed after hours of cooking and cleaning up, having achieved absolutely nothing — having impressed no one, including myself, with the food I made — I said to my boyfriend, “Cooking is really stupid.” He said that he agreed. I said that I was never cooking again. He said he thought that was a great idea. I said, “I have to make homemade tomato sauce with C on Saturday. And I have to make some more galettes because the last ones sucked.”

“That sounds like a lot of cooking,” he said.

“I know,” I said. “I’m going to make the galettes and the sauce and then, I am never cooking again.”

Is cooking really that much of a money-saver, asks Get Rich Slowly? The answer is yes, mostly (and the site offers some hacks). But that still doesn’t answer the question of whether for you, individual reader, it’s worth it.

Although, as this delightful Cafe.com tirade makes clear, cooking is not always a rational, logical, cost-benefit-analysis-type decision. There’s often also something else pushing us into the kitchen:

My mother was always saying how she just wanted to be alone with her book, but it seemed like whenever this dream might actually become a reality she would decide to make a pie. Flour would get everywhere and my mother would say “Shit, shit, shit” as she swept it off the floor and then “Oh Christmas” when, folding the bag closed, more flour would shower down upon the countertops. Every time you turned the oven on there would be a little pond of burnt sugar and fruit smoking on the bottom of it and my mother would have to turn the oven back off and then scrape it — cursing again — before she put in a new pie to mess it up again.

I suggested to my mom once that we just buy pies, and she snapped that we couldn’t afford it, so then I said well if it takes you so long couldn’t you just work extra at your job, and then you could buy them? And then she accused me of not liking her pies that much. This made me really sad, because that’s not what I was saying. I really just wanted her to be happy. I thought summer should be fun, and I didn’t like the parts of it — cutting fucking green beans! — that weren’t fun. And she was an adult. She could actually choose what she wanted. She could choose fun, and it seemed like maybe she didn’t know that, so I was telling her.

We are all adults now and can choose fun, if we want! At least within reason. I’d definitely choose fun over pie, baking it or eating it.

Thanks Ben for the tips!

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