Quote for the Week

American Journalist Harriet van Horne said: "Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all."

I'll confess I'm probably a dying breed. I cook 3 meals a day, 7 days a week. Sometimes we pop out for a bite to eat at lunch, and, sure, we have special dinners out, but, for the most part, I prepare all the food my family eats.


After you pick yourself off the floor where you fell in shock at my startling revelation, you're probably asking why I do this. I'm a full time writer, and a full time mom and wife so am I nuts for tackling this too? Why cook when you can order takeout or pick up something from the deli or use convenience packages?

Quartet of Reasons

There are actually 4 reasons why I do this.

1. I'm a very good cook. I spoiled my husband and kids with good food and varied menus so they prefer eating at home instead of eating out.

2. My mom set an example of doing the same so, when I was young, I thought all women did this. What was the big deal?

3. I like cooking. It satisfies an artistic impulse.

4. It's habit. I can whip up a dinner faster than you can get a pizza or pasta delivered.

My Method

Salad is a staple on my table, and I keep a big container of greens in the fridge ready to go. I keep fresh veggies chopped so I can toss them in along with maybe some grapes or chopped apple and raw nuts of some kind. I make my own dressing in nothing flat so it's always fresh.

Veggies get stir fried the way I learned in Japan though I vary the seasoning from sea salt and fresh ground Italian herbs to soy sauce and ginger. I toss in sliced almonds or some other unsalted nut, even Spanish peanuts, the last couple of minutes.

A pasta dish is the easiest to throw together because I cook a box of pasta at a time. It keeps superbly in the fridge. Toss in some chicken chunks or sliced smoked sausage, a can of drained tomatoes, a cup of shredded mozzarella or other cheese, and bake for 20 minutes. You want fancy? Mix bread crumbs with equal amount of Parmesan and sprinkle on top before putting in the oven.

Dessert? I make a cake or a batch of cookies every week. Last week it was Big Mom's Pound Cake. This week it was Sock It To Me Cake.

End Result

Am I crazy? Yeah, like a fox. Nothing gets a family around a dinner table like good food. Dinner time has always been family time, and that ends up being talk time. As the kids grew up and went out to find their way in the world, I sent a special cookbook I put together with them. Every now and then, one of them will call and ask how to make such and such because, guess what? They all love to cook.

Takeaway Truth

Cooking is easy and fun and gives lifelong benefits, not the least of which is always being able to feed yourself well.


  1. Now that it's just the two of us, I cook less often, but we rarely did takeout when the kids were living at home. I used to have the kids plan menus so I knew they were getting something they liked at least a couple of times a week.

    And they all ended up being good cooks. As a matter of fact, my daughter now lives in Northern Ireland, and she's having to cook everything from scratch. No mixes, no convenience foods to speak of.

  2. I like to cook, but doing everything from scratch isn't a joy, it's a burden. Instead of baking bread, I buy it. Instead of curing bacon, I buy it. Instead of making pasta and noodled, I buy those. I haven't churned my own butter in decades, and I even buy ground beef instead of grinding my own.

    Mama cooked most things from scratch, but she was cooking for 8 people at a minimum, and if there were neighbors helping with the farm chores, there could be twice as many. It takes almost as much effort to make one pie as it does to make six, virtually the same effort to grind coffee beans whether you're making a small pot or a big urn.

    I like being able to buy a bunch of chicken pieces, instead of having to pluck all those feathers. And if you're going to buy butter and bacon instead of making it, you're basically no different than someone who tosses a TV dinner into the microwave.

  3. Terry, I suspect we have a lot in common. *g*

    Harl, that's an interesting perspective. As to cooking from scratch, I don't think anyone who says they do that means that they churn their own butter, bake their own bread, cure their own bacon, and grind their own beef. Just thinking about that is exhausting. So scratch cooking must mean different things to different people. I'm impressed that you've done all that.