The Kitchen Connundrum

The hardest thing I find to do as a new(ish) mother is to sit down and focus. It’s already 10:27, and I’ve been up since exactly 6:00. Even sitting down to write this is hard as, as soon as I open my computer, my mind goes in a million directions. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a cup of tea while I’m writing (and then, as long as I’m in the kitchen, shouldn’t I take the squash out of the oven and roast the cauliflower and chop the carrots and onions for making squash soup tonight)? I should text so-and-so to see if our kids’ meetup is still on for this afternoon and, if it’s not, get back to someone else who was going to come over with their kid if we were free. And e-mail. I should send my e-mail, send a response to this person and that, and suddenly I’m looking at yoga pants on Amazon.
Sometimes it’s necessary to stop everything, sit down, and write – even if all I write about is how hard it is to cease momentum and start writing.
So I’ve been up for 4 1/2 hours. I actually got in my full 45 minutes of exercise in one go this morning (yoga and HIIT, so I was actually limber enough and had enough endorphins to start the day). And then I was going to sit down and write, settle on what was important for me to complete today, but then I decided to go into the kitchen and prep breakfast before the baby woke up. Surely I’d have some time afterwards… The kitchen seems to be the bane of my existence, a blank sinkhole for all my spare minutes, the reason I never seem to have enough time to actually finish anything. Perhaps I should just ban myself from it for one week and decide instead to subsist on nothing that can’t sit on our dining room table without perishing or can’t be ordered through (the egregiously slow) Namba food. If only we had frozen greens and instant black bean soup….
The problem is that I love good food – the idea of nutrition as nourishment – and, in the absence of healthy fast alternatives (samsas instead of salad bars), that seems to mean that I cook a lot. It especially seems that I spend a lot of time preparing breakfast, which is ironic, as breakfast is the meal we finish in the fewest minutes. Perhaps I should prep more – this morning I made a (relatively) big bowl of baby oats along with roasted apple and raisin apple sauce – enough for four morning’s breakfasts, now all packed away in the freezer waiting to be defrosted – and then just prepare tea or coffee for us and stick to oatmeal or toast. Perhaps I should set a timer so I’m never in the kitchen for more than ten minutes – and then not let myself return for another hour. [Confession: as I was writing that last sentence, I realized that I had left the cauliflower in the oven and went back to take off the tin foil so it could fully roast. But I’m back now.]
I have started making soup on Sunday and then having soup with whole wheat toast and sometimes Turkish yogurt every day of the week for lunch – red lentil soup, roasted squash and carrot soup with ginger, chicken vegetable soup, winter soups full of heat and flavor. Dinner is often meat and chopped root vegetables tossed with olive oil and spices oven roasted in the borcam (glass covered casserole dish) with a grain and steamed vegetables on the side. But it’s still easy to putter and putter and find a thousand small tasks to do in the kitchen. So perhaps it’s time to (literally) set a timer on my time in the Kitchen – and make sure I do take those ten or fifteen minutes to just sit down and focus at the beginning of the day (and hope my daughter does wait until 7:30 to wake…)


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