Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Feeding bellies.

For the first three years of Samil's life, I was a work-at-home-mama. It was nice. I liked it well enough, but when we moved, I was kind of glad that I'd have to go back to work outside of the home.

I make a mean home-made pizza - dough, sauce, the works.
I don't really like to cook.

I could keep my house spotless clean, craft up some beautiful decorations for each month and homeschool my kids like a boss. But the kitchen? Not so much.

I didn't know how to cook when I got married - blame it on my American-ness. I had a few specialty dishes up my sleeve for dinner parties, and a few things that I could pass off as edible - if I had a box mix of spices and a jar of pre-made spaghetti sauce. I couldn't make rice. And my grandmom had to buy me one of those egg stones that tell you when an egg is hard boiled.

It was bad.

We're also really good at making fruit juices.
Not the green kind.
All of those pre-made spices and condiments are imported and expensive. If I was going to cook, I'd have to learn how to cook without the box. Which meant, realistically, I was going to have to learn to cook Dominican dishes - one, because the ingredients were most available and two, because someone was going to have to teach me. And (most) Dominicans only know how to cook Dominican food.

It was great fun in the beginning - I had a few lady friends who came over and showed me how to make the staples (it took me about 80 times to get the rice right): rice, beans and boiled meat. Once I had the basics, I took on some of the more complicated dishes. It was wonderful. We had delicious food on the table for lunch every single day. It was filling and mostly healthy.

I'm also pretty good at this
kind of cooking. This was a
birthday present a few years
ago. YUM!
The thing is, Dominican food is delicious, but it's not very varied. The daily meal gets mixed up: white rice with beans or a one-pot-rice & beans dish and chicken, beef or pork - but it all uses very similar seasonings. So, cooking and eating the same thing every day got old fast, especially because I don't really like to cook anyway. I always tried to mix it up, but when you are not a cook, it's hard.

When I did go back to work outside of the house, I had to hire someone to watch the kids and help out in the house. It was amazing - I no longer had to cook, because this person took care of it. Every day!

Except I've now been working for four years and let me tell you, rice and beans gets boring. Really boring. And because I don't want to eat rice and beans every day, I got into a habit of eatinhg something - anything - as I ran out the door to work.

I've also been known to whip up some baked goods.
Jae will hate me for posting this picture :)
Now I'm home and finally getting back into the swing of things and guess what? We're not eating rice and beans every day. I cook two or three days a week and someone else cooks the rest - and it is glorious. The problem?

I only really know how to cook four or five things that aren't rice and beans.

This blog post was/is just a really long, drawn out way to get your sympathy and have you send me easy recipes to try out.

Got one for me?

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