So, yes, I abandoned this blog before it ever really got going. There are deep psychological reasons for that, I’m sure. I tried, when leaving my job, to conceptualize that decision as a choice that I freely made. I decided to focus on creating a new identity for myself as a housewife, to explore what that could mean. But as I got further into this experiment, I came up against a hard reality. The truth is that I’m disabled. I left my job because I couldn’t bear the pain it was causing me to keep working. I imagined that once I was no longer working, my back pain would improve and I would be able to do new things and that living this new healthier lifestyle would relieve my pain. I was wrong. My pain continued, and in fact got worse. Now, it’s still better than when I was working, because I can rest and stay in bed if I have to. I’m not taking nearly the amount of medication I was having to take in order to work. But there’s still a lot I cannot do. My pain limits me pretty much all the time.
What I found was that just cooking dinner, and cleaning up the dishes from cooking was about all the housework I could manage in a day. Recently, I’ve had problems standing for more than about 10-15 minutes at a time. It was really a difficult mental process I went through to truly accept that I am, in fact, disabled. Not just not able to work, but disabled in my everyday life. I still try to act like I’m not at times, and I usually pay for it in pain. And while I was trying to wrap my brain around all of this, I didn’t feel like talking or writing about it, hence the abandonment of this blog.
So I feel like not only a bit of a failure at blogging, but a failure at being a housewife, too. The projects I meant to undertake have mostly not even been begun, five months later. The one thing that I have enjoyed doing in these months is cooking. Even though it is sometimes challenging physically and often takes me way longer than it should do to taking breaks, I’ve been quite pleased by having the time to cook. I had pretty much stopped cooking altogether in the last year I was working because I simply couldn’t physically bear it after working all day.
Now, I know it’s trendy and a bit cliched by this point to write a blog in which you attempt to cook your way through a whole cookbook. But, the thing is that I do have a favorite cookbook. It’s the America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. (I’m jealous that the new edition is heavy duty. The only flaw is that it tends to fall apart.) Every recipe I’ve made from this book, from the very simple to the complex has been perfect. Their recipes tend to be very specific and sometimes more complicated than you may want, but they work. Also, this book is HUGE. The cover advertises “Over 1200 recipes.” Obviously, cooking every one of these recipes is a big task. And yet, I think I’m going to try it.
Now I’m not going to make any promises about doing it in a year or cooking one recipe per day, or even cooking them in order. (If I did, I’d have a couple of weeks of dips to start out with.) But I am going to try to make as many of the recipes in this book that I can, and I’m going to blog about it.
My goal is going to be to make at least one recipe from the book every week. There are some recipes that I’m going to have to skip or put off for a while. First of all, I can’t make any fish recipes because I’m allergic to fish and that includes handling it. Shellfish is ok. Secondly, some ingredients may be hard for me to find around here, since I’m in redneck country and don’t have access to a Whole Foods or Central Market or anything. Thirdly, I am on a budget, so I have to take that into consideration before deciding to make the more expensive recipes or ones that require the purchase of specialized tools.
But, yes, I’m going to give it my best shot. I’m not going to sit here and count all the recipes in this mammoth tome, but we’ll use 1200 as a nice round estimate. Since I made Crockpot Hungarian Goulash last night, we’ll say I’m at 1/1200. That’s nice and daunting.