My Mother's Obsession Has Become Mine

I like food - but I don't like to think about it. 

When my parents moved to the farm, far enough away from analog TV towers that the signal didn't come in well, and far beyond the reach of cable, they splurged and got the relatively new satellite television.  Oh, the things they could watch - but a favorite definitely came to the fore...  The Food Network.  For my mother, it was a revelation.

She would watch it all day.  Record programs she missed until the DVR filled up with food programs (much to my father's dismay the day he couldn't record his Sunday Morning because of all the dang food shows).  Sometimes, she would try what she saw on TV with varying degrees of success.  As with many of these kinds of things turn out, there were brilliant successes and dismal failures and each dish was greeted with cautious enthusiasm.

I didn't get it.  Who would watch all these food programs?  My mom, of course, but who else?  Then I had my own revelation - The Great British Baking Show.  People who baked in their own kitchens getting rave reviews from families and friends competed on a national program, eliminated one by one until there was just one Star Baker.  I watched religiously, enjoying the failures as much as the successes and cheering all of them on.  Every year, 10 shows.  Then, 10 shows weren't enough to satisfy my yearning for baking shows.

We don't have cable or satellite, but we have PBS!  Saturday mornings/afternoons and around the clock on Create!  Soon I was hooked on Martha Bakes, America's Test Kitchen, Sara's Weeknight Meals, Lidia's Kitchen, Martha Stewart's Cooking School, Cook's Country and Ellie's Good Food.  But I wasn't doing much with that knowledge; just enjoying cooking shows for their own entertainment value (chefs are funny people!).

I have mouths to feed though, so I guess it was inevitable that eventually I would begin to get into cooking.  With a kid in college, another in high school, a very active husband - I needed food that would nourish and last.  I started out with the easy stuff (thanks to blog friend Ree Drummond, aka The Pioneer Woman) like chicken and dumplings which has morphed into Chicken Noodle Thing at my house.  The kids love it.  And Brunswick Stew, courtesy of a church friend.  My crock pot was getting a workout!

(Sorry, Martha distracted me with leeks, then roasting garlic - but I'm back now.)

Well, that was great, but it also meant that I had to get up early to get the crockpot going so we'd have dinner that night.  If you have kids in school, you know that those morning minutes are precious, so I realized I needed to find a way to streamline this feeding people business.

I know of people who cook a week's worth of food during the weekend.  I've tried that.  Hungry teenagers ravaged the fridge and my week's worth of food lasted two days.  There has to be a better way.  One that won't stress me out on the weeknights and kill my weekends.  I think I have found it.

As I mentioned, I like to watch my cooking shows on Saturday late morning to mid-afternoon, so I thought why not take THAT time, when I'm feeling the most inspired and use that time for cooking?  I go shopping early Saturday morning, home and put away before the shows start at 11am.  Then, during the shows, I bake bread (thank you breadmaker for making this easy), and make two to three dinners for the family.

We like to eat early, and sometimes I work late - so making dinner on a weeknight was always a stressful affair.  Now, we heat up what I've already cooked, eat, and then when all is cleaned up and I'm watching whatever I'm watching that night, I make dinner for the next night.  We always have two meals in the fridge ready to go so that if we have some other commitment on a night and I can't cook, we still have something in the fridge for the following night.  It works surprisingly well.

And we're saving money.  I go shopping and gasp at my $200 and a bit grocery bill - but the way we were going before, we could spend that in a couple of days just eating out lunch and dinner!  Four times each meal.  Crazy.  And there's always plenty to take to work for lunch, so there's a pretty serious savings by cooking this way. 

I'm doing my mother proud.


  1. Way to go, Sayre! I do much better with my eating if I am not just grabbing something on the way to work. Thanks for the inspiration. I will cook as I watch the shows that are clogging up my DVR!

    1. Another bonus is that I'm actually (slowly) losing weight. Eating out is hell on a diet.

  2. I love the idea of cooking during the shows! I love most of the food shows so I'm going to start cooking while I watch them. Thanks for the idea!

    1. You're welcome! I don't know why it took me so long to think of it, but it makes cooking a lot more fun.

  3. Awesome. I feel like I've absorbed a lot of what I've watched over the years and use terms to explain what I'm doing that 10 years ago I wouldn't have had a clue about. We don't have cable anymore, but I do tend to record Rachael Ray and The Chew and pay attention at least a little bit to what they're doing. I don't have time to watch them all, but when I do have a few minutes I like to at least listen while folding laundry, etc. Sometimes the kids enjoy it just enough to have it on during the day without too much griping. We talk about the food and what sounds good or not and why. They have interesting takes on things, that is for sure!

    1. I don't usually cook what they cook, but it gives me ideas. Today I did cook Ellie's Broccoli Cheddar soup. We had it for dinner and it was pretty good! And talking about food with the girls is a great idea.


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