I was talking with my daughter. Snow was pouring down outside. The house was cold. Neither of us was particularly happy about the weather. It’s late March and should be 60 degrees during the day. It’s not. Not today anyway. It’s cold and yucky and we want hot food. Hot food that’s not soup.
Me: I don’t want to make soup for dinner, but I’m out of ideas.
Child: I’m souped out.
Me: Me too. Souped out. Stewed out. Out.
Child: Let’s have something else.
Me: Like what? I’m open to suggestions.
Child: I don’t know.
Me: I’d like a black bean burger.
Child: I don’t like black beans. I like pinto beans.
Me: I have pinto beans. But I think they’ll turn to refried beans if I try to mash them into a burger. That’s why people make black bean burgers. You never hear about pinto bean burgers. I have a new recipe for a different rice casserole?
Child: I’m tired of casseroles.
And so it went. We discussed some other options but still nothing was ringing my bell. She went to school. I ran by the grocery store and picked up the ingredients for the rice casserole and for spaghetti for later in the week. What will we have tonight? I don’t know, but Qdoba may be calling.
Cooking fatigue hits everyone once in awhile. If you asked my family what they want for dinner they’d say “Tacos!” gleefully! Even if we JUST HAD TACOS. While I try to find a variety of healthy, seasonal options to tempt their palates, they want tacos. Sometimes it’s hard to come up with something new and creative in the face of taco lust. I have my old favorites, meals I can make by rote, ones that require no recipe, no thinking. Then I have a stash of new recipes to try. I most often find these on my favorite blogs or in Cooking Light . I even keep binders of recipes, sorted by category, that I can refer back to when I’m feeling like I’ve run out of cooking steam. The truth of the matter is that we need a season change. We’re tired of the soups, stews, and roasts that we’ve been enjoying since the cooler weather came. We want the bright, fresh menu of spring! Only it’s still winter outside and our bodies crave hot food that you eat with a piece of crusty bread while hunkered down in front of the fire.
I know that relief is coming. The farmers market opens in a few weeks. Even if I have to eat Swiss chard and spinach for a month before the asparagus and spring onions appear, I’ll do it. And I swear I won’t complain. I know in a month from now when Easter arrives I’ll be thrilled with the prospect of peas, new potatoes, and the strawberries that will inevitably follow. But for now we’re still stuck in the winter of our discontent and we’ll have to eat a few more casseroles, soups, and stews until the weather breaks and the burden of the spring bounty of vegetables finally arrives.
What do you do to get out of a cooking rut? Do you have a favorite place to get new recipes? What meal are you most looking forward to eating this spring?