Here in the Eickman household, we take our New Years Resolutions pretty seriously. For real. I know that seems kind of weird, given that we aren’t really the type to take things like that seriously– well… really anything seriously– but for real.
Last year about this time, when I was hugely pregnant, probably balancing a bowl of sugar free chocolate ice cream on then-Skirty-soon-to-be-Maren’s head (or butt), Mitch and I wrote our goals for 2011 on sticky notes, and I put them next to the calendar.
My resolutions were:
1) Lose 45 pounds
2) Make our own baby food
3) Master the art of ‘slow-food’
And guess what? Check, check, and check.
(All right, all right, I’ll admit. I kind of cheated on the first one. The thing is, when I wrote that resolution I had been steadily losing weight in my pregnancy, so I figured that once I had the baby I’d probably plateau, or gain, and then need to start the ongoing battle to prove to my eyes that I do, in fact, have feet. But as it turns out, in January I finally started gaining some weight, and then in February when I had the baby– poof!– 22 lbs fell off of me. Then I lost some more from breast feeding, and then I lost 15 in the last few months from running and eating those green things that popular culture always tells me are lame and unnecessary. So there, Resolution #1)
Resolution #2– We may have actually had some overkill on that one. Maren is at an age where she is feeding herself whatever she can, and she is also now the proud owner of two, that’s right, TWO brand new teeth. On a side note, be wary of those teeth. We kiss Maren more than is conventionally accepted, and also Mitch and I kiss each other pretty often, and as a result, she has started putting her mouth on people…. all the time. No one has received a little Maren bite yet, so we aren’t sure yet if she’s venomous. I’ll keep you posted.
Anyway, we made SO much food when we were pregnant, and when Maren was just a wee little lad, and then she very quickly began eating finely diced fruits and vegetables, and other things like yogurt, cottage cheese, and normal cheese– so now my freezer is completely filled with all these cute little portions of organic vegetables that are going to go to waste any day now.
So, take that, Resolution #2.
Resolution #3… well that’s been a little more difficult. Does cereal count as slow food?
I was certainly not raised on fast food– although I can remember clearly the first time my Dad let me have a Big Mac instead of a happy meal– but in high school I had a full time job and was heavily involved in “after school activities.” The cool ones, I promise. So McDonalds and Dairy Queen became my new Mom for awhile.
Then when I went to college, and realized I couldn’t afford to eat out all the time, I was introduced to a WHOLE NEW kind of fast food– Tuna Helper! And Lean Cuisines! And ‘Suddenly Salad’ Pasta Salad! I was all, GUYS GUYS GUYS GUYS— DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU CAN OPEN A BOX AND THERE ARE MASHED POTATOES IN THERE? HAS ANYONE INFORMED YOU THAT THEY SELL LITTLE TUBS OF PULLED PORK THAT ALL READY HAS THE BARBECUE SAUCE IN IT? I’M NOT MAKING THIS UP!
And so that’s how I sustained myself through the first billion years of college. And then I met Mitch, and this was in the pre-culinary school days, when his signature dish was something called “Tater Tot Hot Dish” and his favorite dinner was Mac n Cheese and hot dogs. Now we’re in the post-culinary school days, and Mitch is able to make a fantastic meal out of almost anything. However, he still feels that grapes, pears, and apple sauce are the only consumable forms of fruit, and that vegetables are best used in some fashion to keep whatever meat he is roasting nice and moist.
And my culinary skills certainly haven’t grown. I have ruined many a pot simply by boiling water. I have no idea what seasoning or spices are and am either terrified of them or extremely over zealous, depending on my mood. When I’m hungry, I’m more likely to eat an entire jar of spaghetti sauce than make a sandwich. It’s like a medical condition: The Culinarily Challenged.
To help me learn to cook, Mitch and I choose a recipe every week or so that I have to make. From scratch. Also, we stopped buying peanut butter. Because if we have peanut butter, no other food in this house exists to me.
Here is the thing about husbands.
I have a fantastic husband. He would never, never, knowingly insult me. And he discovered, through trial and error– and much to his surprise– that for some reason, even though he can make fun of my hair, the way I run, how cranky I am when I am hungry/tired, my strange ‘solutions’ to simple problems, when he takes a crack at my cooking, I suddenly get all OH NO YOU DIDNT. I don’t know if this is true of all women, but somehow, to have my husband point out to me that I can’t cook is similar to him saying “YOU ARE A TERRIBLE MOTHER.” or “YOU CANNOT NURTURE ANYONE.” This has been quite the roadblock for us, considering that Mitch is a trained chef that works in the food industry, and I have been known to eat raw hamburger if there is nothing else readily available.
So after a few near-melt downs that involved Mitch doing a lot of this: “ok ok ok ok ok ok ok ok ok” and me doing a lot of this: “!!!!!” He stopped making any comments, no matter how innocuous, about my cooking. So now, in the great paradox that is marriage, I had no idea if my cooking was improving or not.
But then I figured it out– he has a tell!
Mitch has said before that, with so much good food in the world, why would he waste his time eating something if it wasn’t delicious? I find this judgement questionable, as I have seen him eat triple cheeseburgers that cost one dollar. One dollar. What kind of meat can you buy a quarter pound of for one dollar? Lips and assholes, as my Dad would say.
So after several months of pouting at Mitch for telling me my cooking was terrible (and rightly so), several months of me refusing to cook, and then several months of me cooking again and suffering through entire dinners of, “OH this is SOOO GOOOOD!!!! MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!” I realized– success lies in quantity. If the man goes back for seconds, congratulations– you have made a successful dish.
I think that Slow Food will be a resolution for 2011 as well, because there is still way too often that we reach for a box rather than an ingredient, and too many times that I throw up my hands and DEMAND that some form of Chinese take out be placed in front of me because the baby just won’t stop crying and I don’t know what’s wrong and WHERE THE HELL ARE MY EGG ROLLS? And it would be a shame if we spent so much time hand making all of Maren’s organic baby food, just to count the minutes until she turns 1 and then get the Hamburger Helper guy tattooed on her face.
What are YOUR resolutions this year?