The New York Times’ Dining editor Pete Wells wrote a lovely, farewell “Cooking with Dexter” column for yesterday’s Sunday magazine about cooking — and not cooking — dinner after a long day at the office. It’s a bit off-topic for this blog (the essay isn’t about vegetarian cooking) but as the home cook and a working mom, I found myself nodding as I read, “I have definitely learned something about cooking for a family at the end of a day spent in an office: It’s very, very hard to do.”
He goes on to describe a scene that I’m sure many parent-cooks have versions of:
My lowest moments in the kitchen have come when the boys were long past the point of needing food, right now, and I was insistently plowing forward with some from-scratch meal. They would be garroting each other under the table, I would be beating an egg with a fork, dipping a sole fillet into it, then rolling the fish in bread crumbs (fresh! homemade!) and slipping it into the cast iron skillet.
And (this cook’s favorite part) he ends with an almost-paean to his spouse, also a professional, whose trips to the grocery keep the kitchen well-stocked, who makes breakfast and packs school lunches while he is getting dressed, and who cooks dinner for their boys most nights. These days, home cooks might be moms or dads; wives, husbands, or long-term partners. Whatever the set-up, most home cooks are under-appreciated. So thank you Pete Wells for giving us all a little love.