Sunday Brunch and Why Cooking for One is Just No Fun

asparagus steamed and hollandaise, sunday brunch, los angeles, ca
Why have I not cooked in so long that I can’t remember?

Answering the question, I was thrown into this crazy vortex wherein one reason begged an answer that came from another, which seemed to have stemmed from something else, which really spawned from another, until there was neither rhyme nor reason to a mess of a circular argument in which I simply ended up in the same place I started.

I haven’t cooked in a very long time because…I haven’t cooked in a very long time.

It makes perfectlutely sense, does it not?

I haven’t cooked in a long time because I haven’t had the occasion to cook because “cooking” a bowl of Special K after a long day of work is not an occasion and because it’s more fun to cook for friends and/or family and/or an FTF because it’s not fun to cook for one person because it’s not easy to cook for one person because it’s inefficient and wasteful to cook for one because I live alone because I am alone because…I haven’t cooked in a long time.

Wow.

So, yes, maybe that last cause/effect clause is not entirely true. Seriously, that would be damn effin’ sad if I were alone just because I haven’t cooked in a while. Just for that, he for whom I used to cook deserves to be off fending for himself at the meat market that is more commonly known as the Whole Foods prepared foods section!

Wait. Did I just blog that out loud? Really, I’m not that bitter. (Anymore.)

On a side note, it is common knowledge that the prepared foods section of the Whole Foods Market in my neighborhood is a hard core pick-up joint at or about 7 pm every weekday teeming with skin-tight yoga clothing-clad anorexic desperate aspiring housewives and their post-UCLA-grad moneybags counterparts. It’s fascinating people-watching to be sure.

But…I digress.

The point is that not only does my current lifestyle not lend itself to cooking, but combined with my temporary mental state, creates a circumstance that is wholly unfavorable to cooking at home for myself. Though it hurts me to admit to an emotional characteristic that I so adamantly eschew, somewhere in the last few months, I’ve become socially needy. Without other people around me, my thoughts are left to feed on themsleves and go into a slow, downward spiral into some sick internal pseudo-reality wherein I convince myself that my world will shatter into a hundred million pieces of nothing around me lest I immediately address whatever my mind has deemed the most crucial, urgent matter at the moment.

Usually, it’s something like figuring out why google analytics is showing such low traffic stats.

Because traffic stats on a blog that doesn’t make any money is totally crucial. Totally. To real life.

I’m tired when I get home from working all day, long past sunset. I’m exhausted to the point of crumbling into a brain-dead heap in front of my laptop. The last thing I want to do is waste energy and create a sink full of dirty dishes to eat alone. Having friends over to cook for them is ideal, but I certainly don’t get home with enough time to eat, let alone prepare and cook a meal for a large group, so if I want to eat with friends, we have to go out. It’s just not fun to cook for one.

oven-roasted potatoes
they’re horrible. don’t eat them. why aren’t you eating them?
creamy egg salad
isn’t this supposed to be a sandwich?

So, most of the reason why I haven’t cooked in so long is that it’s just a wee bit sad and pathetic to pretend to not mind sitting alone at my desk in the tiny halo of light emitted from my desk lamp in an otherwise pitch dark living room eating trashy Chinese food straight out of the container because I’m too busy working and too exhausted to be socially “on.” The rest of the reason is that there is nothing, and I mean nothing, more emotionally exhausting and yet so lovably fulfilling than sharing a meal with The Delicious family.

I stress about what I’m going to wear, because even if we’re going to barbecue on the back patio, I have to be Dressed for John T. Molloy’s Success. Do you know what it’s like to dress in business casual for a barbecue with your own family?! I say I’ll cook something and bring it, but Mom says not to go to any trouble, but I say I want to cook, so Mom “lets” me make something. My sisters and I have to make sure that no one else is making the same things, then someone has to call Mom and let her know because she doesn’t use email but no one calls her because “I thought you were going to call her,” so we have to re-email to re-confirm, but then Mom gets four phone calls all at once because we don’t want to make that mistake again and she gets flustered because she hasn’t quite figured out call waiting on the phone, let alone her cell phone, and why are there four calls, when there are only three of us?

I start sweating the minute I realize that we may arrive six minutes late and will have to sit through an entire afternoon of the same Punctuality 101 lecture. There will be moments of tension when Steamed Asparagus should be plated with the Hollandaise sauce before it’s brought to the table, but no, everyone should be all
owed to pour the amount they want because some people might not like Hollandaise, and did you make this from scratch? My Oven-roasted Potatoes are horribly bland, but even after I beg and plead with everyone at the table to use salt, salad dressing, balsamic vinegar, sriracha, something, anything (!) to make them edible, Joy Luck soy sauce will hurl me into a silent vow to never cook anything again. It’s maddening. It’s frustrating. It’s Creamy Egg Salad that has nothing to do with anything except that my sister got the recipe from Al Gelato, and now it occasionally makes an appearance on the Delicious table.

There might be stern words here and there. At some point, someone will stress out. Eyes will roll. Heads might, too. Especially when someone else accidentally finishes off “my” kimchee, which Mom refrigerates to keep less ripe than “my sisters” kimchee, which she leaves out on the countertop for days to ferment to the point that it could be considered illegal to drive under its influence. Of course, no one really thinks to mention that eating kimchee and Korean marinated eggplant (gah-jee) with a brunch of grilled salmon and steamed asparagus is a little abnormal.

korean marinated eggplant - gah-jee
does this even go with salmon?
herb marinated salmon
he doesn’t eat salmon, so here’s half of mine

Cooking and eating with my family is utterly maddening; frustrating to the step just before complete psychological breakdown.

I wish I got to cook more often.

** a year ago today, muffins are really just naked cupcakes **
** two years ago today, i went to tia juana’s, but there was no donkey **

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  • JF

    everything goes with kimchee (almost like sriracha): steak, lemon pepper chicken, salad, steamed vegetables, soup…and chocolate (I’ve had kimchee flavored chocolate)

    Now that my pseudo-eemo is back in town, I expect to have a healthy dose of kimchee with every meal, ethnicity be damned. yum.

  • Pam

    One of the Whole Foods near me has official, store-sponsored singles events…

    From their website:
    The first singles night was a huge hit. At least five couples hooked up the first time around! There must be something about fresh produce that makes us feel amorous. Tonight we will have a brownie tasting event, along with beer and champagne tastings. And our favorite singer/songwriter, Laura Vecchione will bring her buttery voice and gentle songs to set the tone.

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