Cooking Like I Used To

Very occasionally, I have time and energy to cook like I used to. Which isn’t really about time, per se — more mental space? For the last (many) years, I feel like I’ve been running on a little mental treadmill, slightly panicked all the time. Small children, then cancer treatment, then pandemic. I need my world to slow down a little. Maybe a lot.

This Greek meal only took about 30 minutes of active cooking, I think — cutting up and prepping the lemony potatoes to bake (10 minutes), waiting 30 minutes, then cutting up the veggies and making the tzatziki (10 minutes), and then quickly pan-frying the lamb gyros (10 minutes).

But i had to think about it (and make sure there were enough components that the kids would eat), and spend a little time reminding myself online how to make tzatziki, and what typical sides would be for gyros, and the only reason I actually even thought of doing it at all was because I’d picked up some frozen pre-cooked gyros at the farmer’s market a few weeks ago.

Most of the last several years, I’ve either been cooking Sri Lankan basics (which I can do in my sleep), cooking Sri Lankan as research for the cookbooks (time-consuming, but it’s in a different category than daily cooking for me), or cooking easy American stuff that will feed the family (but mostly Kevin actually takes care of that).

This is more how I used to cook before we had kids. I’m hoping to do a little more of it this summer at least. Probably less once the semester starts, but I hope it doesn’t go away entirely, because there’s something I find grounding about it. I do better, when I have the time, when I *take* the time, to do more than simply functional cooking.

Tonight, Kevin’s seeing an old friend in the city for dinner (hi, Max!), so I’m just going to make a nice Sri Lankan chicken curry and a green bean / carrot for myself; Kavi will likely eat the chicken curry, but not the cooked veggies (she’ll have some raw veggies instead), and Anand will probably choose a frozen lasagne because he still can’t do spicy. And Thursday will probably be leftovers.

But maybe Friday I’ll try another of the kinds of meals I used to cook. We’ll see. Might just order pizza instead!


Greek potatoes recipe (was devoured by family):

Tzatziki recipe (also almost all gone, though Anand was too suspicious to try it):

Gyros: just pan-sear in a little hot olive oil on both sides for a few minutes until browned

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