August 5, 2010

I Cook To Trick Myself Into Thinking I'm Productive

I feel a really large (probably outsize) sense of accomplishment when I make a good meal, even when I haven't accomplished much else that day. I have been ostensibly working on my MFA thesis for the past few weeks, but after a few hours of writing (and websurfing...) at the coffeeshop, a nap, and various errands, it's hard to look back at the day and feel like I've gotten much of anything done, you know? I'm unemployed this summer and don't really have anywhere to be or anyone to hold me accountable for how I spend my time, which is something I'm quickly realizing is not the most productive way for me to work. So I've been trying to least create decent dinners, so that the pile of dishes in my kitchen sink is a concrete reminder that I've done something each day, at least as opposed to the myriad of Microsoft Word windows I've had open for the past 5 days.

Two dinners I made this week to convince myself of my productivity:

- Chili, Lemon and Basil Shrimp---quick, easy, spicy, good. I didn't bother with the lemon zest, just substituted a splash of lemon juice. I also used couscous from a box. I think it would also be good with white or brown rice.

- Five-Minute Tomato Pasta--- an awesome way to utilize fresh summer tomatoes, literally takes 5 minutes, ridiculously easy for the deliciousness it produces, lasts well in the fridge, and very cheap. I used quinoa pasta for more protein, but you can easily use dollar-store spaghetti, if that's all you've got; I also used spinach instead of arugula. And the recipe is written in a mildly amusing way, at least by recipe-writing standards.

Anyone else use cooking to convince themselves they've accomplished something? I know it's pathetic; I also know I'm going to be missing these long, hot, lazy(ish) days when I'm trying to frantically grade 27 student papers, complete my reading for my own classes, revise upwards of forty poems and eat something other than frozen taquitos once the semester gets going.

this doesn't really have anything to do with this post, other than it's the gorgeous new mexican sky
 I attempt to work under every day

On a different note, we've just been added to the Foodie Blogroll, check out the widget to the right!


  1. Since I graduated I've been cooking elaborate meals because it's the only place to get any sense of accomplishment. This week I made lasagna from scratch for three different families including rolling pasta, the bolognese sauce, and a bechemel sauce.

  2. Definitely. For me, after working on the thesis, it's just nice to create something you can have immediate proof you did well on.

  3. I'm pretty sure that this is why Josh cooks so much. He's found many ways to lengthen the cooking process, like making all our bread products and, now, making our pasta, too. I find all of this strange since he's usually more interesting in efficiency, but hey, I'm eating great.

  4. glad to hear i'm not alone in this. also, josh MAKES PASTA? that's amazing!

  5. Congrats on the foodie blog roll. Great recipes :)


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