The Not Lazy Girl Guide To Making Cooking Slightly Less Of A Struggle
I used to hold a somewhat conceited view that certain Convenience products and gadgets were unnecessary and ‘lazy’. Like pre prepped vegetables, jar tomato sauce, bread makers and, for awhile, dishwashers.
I now know that’s balls. It’s not about ‘lazy’ at all. In my case, these products help me preserve my somewhat limited energy. That precious thing. When you don’t have much of something, the somethings you have becomes far more valuable. If I can avoid using it wastefully, I will.
Below is a list of products that help me greatly in making cooking, when I do cook, less of a drain on my energy. I know a lot of it’s kind of obvious, but the message I’m trying to impart is that is there’s no shame in using convenience products to lighten your load when your struggling. It’s not lazy. It’s prioritising
Pre Chopped Onions: S recently mocked me, playfully, for buying bags of pre-chopped onions. It’s alright for him, his eyes are immune to the fumes and he can chop vegetables into teeny tiny pieces in about 10 seconds flat. As for me, I’m notoriously slow at chopping and my eyes tear up at the first cut. I’m often blinded by the tears and have to spend further time and energy trying to recover from the stinging. Now I just rip open a bag and toss ‘em in. It’s great! No stingy eyes and done in about 5 seconds. Boom. Pre chopped onions are now an essential part of my kitchen
Pre Chopped Squash and Other Rock Hard Veg: So chopping in particular is an issue for me. I hate how long it takes me; sometimes as much as 20minutes of cooking time goes into bloody chopping and peeling. And with something like Butternut Squash even longer. It’s a nightmare. I usually end up with small stab wounds across my hand. I’m probably doing it wrong. It’s frustrating and a massive waste of energy. So pre chopped bags of squash, swede, turnip and pumpkin go in my basket in bulk and I don’t give a fuck if the cashier thinks I’m lazy. Though I do give a fuck about the extra plastic packaging…
Slow Cooker: Possibly the greatest love of my life; certainly the greatest gadget. Tip it all in and it basically cooks itself. Two or three hours later Ill check on it and season and adjust taste. Then I’ll leave it again. It’s a modern day miracle. Food doesn’t burn (unless you leave it for,like, two days). You can go out and leave it on. Or procrastinate and leave it on
Slicers. Apple. Egg. Banana. Avocado. Sure, they might take me 60 seconds to slice but with their slicers I can do it in one swift movement that takes about 2. Time and energy saved.
Garlic Purée and Frozen Garlic: Again, The fiddly peeling. The chopping into teeny tiny pieces. The crushing. With purée and frozen it’s a simple *plop* into the pan. Just be mindful the purée is very concentrated
Jar Tomato Pasta Sauces: Once upon a time I always made my own basic tomato sauce. Yes it was simple, yes it was quick and easy it was easy. But it was also kind of inconsistent in taste pending on quality of tomatoes used and other factors. And as my energy and motivation levels steadily declined, that half an hour for an occasional uncertain outcome became not worth it. And as S began to stock pile jars of sauces I gave into the inevitable. I used to feel a kind of shame over it, but not anymore. I can use that half hour for other things, even if it just means sitting and breathing. The only issue is that yes, the jar sauces tend to have unnecessary sugars and salts and calories but this can be worked around by being mindful which brand you choose. But still, don’t beat yourself up about it. If your physical health is generally quite good, you don’t need the added strain of obsessing over calorie and salt content. Keep it all in perspective
Jar White Sauce: Don’t quote me on this but I think it was Jamie Oliver who said that if you have time to make white sauce, you have too much time on your hands. White Sauce is a long and tedious and tricky to do well. It’s not worth your energy. Buy it. But again be mindful of sugar and salt.
Pre Prepped Meat: Depression aside I was always squeamish about raw meat. I hate touching it!!! There’s no way in Hell I was ever going to be elbow deep up a turky or chicken. Pre stuffed and season meats spare me time, energy and nausea
Ready To Roll Pastry: “But pastry’s so easy!!”. Yeah, not for me. I’m no baker. Baking even basic things requires far more precision than cooking, which has some leeway. Time, energy and sense of failure avoided
And don’t forget, on a difficult day there’s always Deliveroo, or similar. If you can. Balanced meals are available from most restaurants, instead of the usual take aways of pizza or Sweet and sour. It’s ok to use them. That’s what they’re there for.