Not Cooking

Ever since we defrosted our freezers several weeks ago and were able to see what frozen leftovers we had, Husband and I have been making a point of eating those leftovers and trying not to put any leftovers from new dishes in the freezers. Every night during the week we say to each other “we’re not cooking or baking this weekend, are we.”

Then Saturday rolls around, and our resolve crumbles. This weekend, “not cooking” resulted in an Italian Pie of Greens and two loaves of Leinsamen Mischbrot, a German sourdough bread made of several kinds of flours and flaxseed. The previous weekend, “not cooking” resulted in a cod and mussel stew with harissa, chicken tortellini soup, and four loaves of French bread. We tell ourselves that since the Swiss chard for the pie and the makings for the stew and the soup were already in the freezers, that it is good to have homemade bread on hand, and that none of the newly prepared main dishes went in the freezer as leftovers, we are kind of, sort of, sticking to our plan. There are noticeably fewer containers now in the Lutheran freezer where all the leftovers go.

Husband informs me that we are now eating the last loaf of rye bread from the freezer. Beatrice Ojakangas, the Duluth cookbook author, said that her father would complain to her mother that “there isn’t anything to eat in this house” if he couldn’t find any rye bread in the kitchen. Husband loves rye bread, but insists that he isn’t going to bake for a while. I notice, though, that there is rye sourdough starter in the fridge, and we just got some rye chops we had ordered, so I can guess what we are “not baking” next weekend.

When is your resolve the weakest? What is your favorite bread to make or eat? How do you deal with leftovers?

33 thoughts on “Not Cooking”

  1. I will be dealing with The Leftovers by binge watching the HBO series. I’ve heard it’s quite good and since this song is included in the sound track, is high on my list.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Resolve is weakest in the evening – morning is when I’m at my clearest and most energetic.

    My favorite bread to make is the one that has consistently worked – the Swedish Cardamom Wreath. I should try Swedish Rye some time…

    Leftovers get eaten within a few days (or get frozen), but I try to leave a day in between – then they seems kind of new again. I try to do something a little different the 2nd time… There was an article in a 70s Sunset Magazine that I carried around with me for decades about Rechaufé (re-warming) as an art…

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I have told myself that I really need to start thinning out my many shelves of books but when I begin choosing or trying to choose candidates for culling, that’s when my resolve weakens. I acquire books because I want to read them and either I haven’t read them yet or I have read them and liked them enough that I may want to read them or refer to them again.only the books I have not liked are easy candidates for purging.

    There are just the two of us at home and recipes are generally portioned for about six so leftovers are inescapable. Cutting a recipe in half is often awkward. Leftover soups and stews and curries get divided into two person portions and frozen. I don’t usually freeze casseroles or pasta leftovers. I like having those around to warm and eat as a late breakfast. I much prefer something savory in the morning. Robin seldom eats the leftovers so I may have the same breakfast several days running.

    We don’t eat enough bread to warrant baking a loaf. Robin keeps a sliced loaf in the freezer so she can take a slice at a time and it won’t go bad before she finishes it. We often get a good sourdough loaf from a nearby bakery but some portion of it usually gets tossed after a week or so.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I was rather proud of us for deciding not to make a recipe for cassoulet with the new dried beans we ordered because it served 12. Even halving the recipe would be too much. It also called for 4 duck legs, and neither of us are fans of duck. We have a duck in the freezer, though, which husband thought he would smoke and grill. Sigh.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Rise and Shine, Baboons,

    I have absolutely no resolve when it comes to good food. If is is presented and I like it, I eat it, no matter what my resolve was 2 minutes before that. In many other areas of life i am measured and disciplined. But not with good food. Bad food (defined as anything I do not like—liver and onions, anything with cumin) is easy to stay away from.

    I love to bake caramel rolls, but I do that rarely because of paragraph #1. I can resolve to eat just one, but I do not do it. I do bake Norwegian Rye often. The trick with that is to get just the right amount of flour in the recipe, so that the loaf maintains its shape. Brushing it with molasses and rolling the dough in pumpkin seeds is also important,but I regularly forget the step with molasses. Then the pumpkin seeds fall off. Norwegian Rye is a solid whole grain bread that stays with you all day.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. My favorite bread to make is actually an oatmeal bread that I have been making for decades in my bread machine.

    The last few years, my favorite bread that I didn’t make is Stella’s Chili Cheese Bread. It’s from a bakery outside of Madison, which means that every time I go to Madison, I get three or four loaves. I discovered them at the Madison farmers market. It also means that my girlfriend who lives in Madison sends them to me occasionally for my birthday and/or holidays.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Husband says baking is a rational response to a savage and inhospitable environment. He got up at 1:00 am this morning to make a levain for some white sourdough sandwich bread he says he must have to go with the leftover beef brisket in the Lutheran freezer. He had starter leftover from the mischbrot he made yesterday..

    Liked by 2 people

  7. The comment that “there’s nothing to eat in the house” strikes a chord for me. YA is a maximizer and I am a minimizer. This means that on a regular basis, she says “we have to go to the grocery store. There’s nothing to eat in the house”. This is despite the upstairs and downstairs freezers being fairly full and all of the cabinets fairly full as well. I have not been to the grocery store for anything more than a few items here and there since before the kitchen project in mid January and I seem to be doing just fine. YA has gone out and purchased some food for herself on occasion and of course she’s been gone a couple of weeks for work, but I noticed that she hasn’t perished from starvation either.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Part of the problem for us is that I subscribe to the NYT cooking app, which, for $40, gives a person unlimited access to thousands of recipes. That is where the cod and mussel stew recipe came from.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I just received a notification from NYT Cooking-Soups to Soothe the Sighs of the Season- with a half dozen recipes for soups to help with the February doldrums.

    My maternal great grandmother was a domestic servant in Hamburg, Germany before her marriage.She was the cook for a wealthy family, the sort of family who took all their servents to the seaside with them when the spent their summers on the Baltic Sea. We have a photo of her in all her fancy starched and frilly Sunday best standing on the beach with the other servants, with mistress of the house sitting in a large beach chair. My grandmother said her mother used to lament the lack of scope she had for cooking after they immigrated to Minnesota.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Banana bread is wonderful. So is cranberry orange bread. I plan to treat my coworkers to Clancy’s Irish Soda Bread on St Patrick’s Day. I think the recipe is in the Kitchen Congress on our blog site.

      Liked by 3 people

  10. I also get lots of recipes from this German Instagram site called einfachbacken. They are all recipes for cakes, tortes,, desserts, breads, etc. I have never made any of them. I just read them to practice German.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I’m the main cook in our household of two. Both of us, though, when left alone in the kitchen, tend to cook more than enough for a single meal. So a “cooking evening” is followed by a “heating up” evening, and then by an interesting lunch for me. If ever there’s too much to finish on the second evening and whatever it was stretches to a third (like a recent yellow curry), I need a day off from it. If it’s gone into the freezer, it eventually gets thawed and served again, because our freezer is one of those little Episcopalian ones.

    I bake the bread (machine), and eat most of it. When I get tired of my regular whole wheat, I try varying what has gone into it. When visiting offspring left some honey in the house, that was a delight until it was gone. I’ve just finished the molasses. Something must be purchased soon or I’ll revert to “the bland baking the bland.”

    Liked by 4 people

  12. Leftovers are a regular part of our meal plan. I’m our dinner cook the vast majority of the time, and I often cook a large enough portion of the “main” dish to last two days. The second day, however, it’s often changed up to give it a different twist.
    Chili, for instance, is one of husband’s favorite meals. He loves it served Cincinnati-style over spaghetti, so that’s typically what we have day one, with all the trimmings. The second night it could be chili dogs along with a salad of lettuce, tomato, and avocado, or it could be served on a warm tortilla with refried beans and homemade salsa.

    Soup is another thing I cook in large enough batches for at least two meals. A lot of soups are tastier on the second day, so depending on what the soup is, it will be the main feature when it’s most flavorful. Some soups, mostly broth based ones, lend themselves more readily to introduction of different ingredients – such as tortellini, mini wontons, orzo, Asian noodles, ginger, spinach or some other greens – on day two. Because husband doesn’t think soup by itself is a satisfying meal, we usually have a salad, grilled sandwich, or whatever strikes my fancy at the moment on the side.

    I rarely freeze leftovers. I also don’t bake, that’s husband’s passion. He makes a Danish multigrain/seed pumpernickel that doesn’t come out the same way twice, but it’s always good.

    I’m not sure I fully understand the concept of resolve, and it’s probably too late for me to learn.

    Liked by 4 people

  13. I’m just cooking for myself so I try to make half recipes or something that will only make one or two meals. That said, I just finished making vegetarian chili and I’m sure I’ll get eight servings out of it. I usually freeze half of something like that. I have a number of one serving sized glass containers with lids and I’ll put the chili in that and freeze it. Often if I make something, I am eating it for at least two or three days. I enjoy cooking but it doesn’t have to be fancy when it’s just for myself. I am coming to the conclusion that I really do have an allergy to “organic wheat.” I had a biometrics scan about a year and a half ago and it gave me a list of things that I’m allergic to. Some of those things surprised me a lot, especially the “organic wheat.” What do they actually mean by “organic wheat.” Do they strictly mean organically grown wheat? I’ve eaten quite a lot of that in my life, in various things like breads, crackers, and pasta. I didn’t notice it bothering me. I have noticed some changes recently though and I’m cutting wheat products out entirely for the time being, just to see. It’s hard to do. So many things are made with wheat. I have tried gluten free pasta in the past. It wasn’t great but it wasn’t as bad as I imagined it to be. But the report didn’t say “wheat gluten.” It said “organic wheat.” So I don’t know for sure. I will have to find out. I don’t bake a lot anymore anyway – same reasons as Jacque discussed above. If it’s in the house and I’m home alone, chances are I will eat it. So I can’t have it in the house. I’m doing less shopping lately and it’s fine.

    OT: What is “Jetpack”? I’m getting pop-ups that tell me that WP is being moved to “Jetpack” in March. What does this mean?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. We sometimes tease ourselves by transposing some of the questions our Addiction Counselor colleagues ask their clients:

    1. Do you cook to relax?
    2. Do you cook when you don’t need to?
    3. Have you for a while now wanted to cut back on cooking or made unsuccessful attempts to do so?
    4. Does cooking cause conflict in your family?
    5. Do you feel your cooking is out of control?
    6. How much time do you spend each week cooking?
    7. Do you often cook in larger amounts over a longer period of time than you intended?
    8. Do you have powerful urges to cook?
    9. How often do you miss obligations at home or at work because you are cooking?
    10. Have you given up hobbies or activities you used to enjoy for cooking?

    Liked by 2 people

  15. My favorite bread to bake is rosemary focaccia, with sea salt on the crust. Haven’t made that recipe in a while. Too busy to bake.

    I always feel happy when I have easily reheated leftovers and don’t have to be creative at dinnertime.

    Liked by 2 people

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