A long time ago when I was a newlywed I often spoke of the idea of the perfect meal. Well, the perfect meal for a man. This probably came about from the massive volume of dishes I believed my new wife used in crafting our meals. We split the chores; she cooked and I cleaned. Thus, my obviously overworked fingers needed to find a better way!
The perfect meal, I decided, had to be easy and quick to prepare. Most importantly it had to be eaten without using any dishes and also must include any necessary utensils. I drew from my vast culinary skills I had honed through years of college dorm room feasts and bachelorhood meals (sandwiches to frozen chicken and fries), which meant you have to cook it in a microwave.
The two runners up:
- Frozen personal pizza. Almost perfect, however, you still need a knife to cut slices.
- Single serving microwave soup. Would be perfect if a spoon could be built into the lid.
- Hot Pockets. Yup, you can heat ’em and eat ’em in the provided wrapper/sleeve. Add a glass of milk and fruit and you’ve got a meal.
That said, as a bachelor I could totally see how they ate on the ship in the Matrix as not a negative thing.
No cooking, no cleaning. Eat and have more time to do the next chore that needs to be completed. Minimalism in the extreme.
But the perfect meal…?
My wife is an Olympic level eye roller. She’s had plenty of opportunities to practice that skill over the years especially when I explained my “perfect” meal idea to friends. And it is far from perfect. While I may experience little of the so named joy in cooking, I have found plenty of joy in eating.
Even bad food is made better when partaken with family and friends. Slowing down and taking the time to savor not only the flavors, but the effort involved in the preparation and presentation of the meal happens for me when among others.
And the previously mentioned perfect meals fall far from meeting any quality nutrition. Eating healthier is nothing to wait to do later in life. Maybe it does take a little longer to get ready. Maybe you have to use a few pots, pans, spoons, and bowls.
So, in short, I’ve learned that while I can still look for ways to be efficient in preparing something to eat I don’t have to sacrifice quality or pleasure in eating. Also having kids old enough to wash dishes does help. Excuse me while I remind them of something. “Somebody needs to unload the dishwasher again!”
Photo Credit: By Tony Branston (my Flickr profile) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons