Roasted Tomato & Red Capsicum Soup - Sunday night's dinner
What is a woman to do when her family relies on her cooking expertise and she is spent?
But let's backtrack a little and give you a picture of how far I have fallen. I have been menu planning in a formal kind of way since late 1999. How, you may ask, do I know this? Well....I confess to having kept every single plan in a folder from that time to this. Sixteen years of menu plans. Now, you may consider this hoarding. I consider it potential inspiration. It is how I convinced Mr Busy to consider a different birthday meal after three years of tuna and rice, which is not all that glamorous as far as birthday meals go.
I used to plan a whole month in one sitting. I delighted in surrounding myself with food magazines and cookbooks and my favourite recipes collected from various websites. Even back then I was an internet cook! Oh the joy of ideas zinging about my head and seeking new cooking adventures. There were ideas and thoughts and seeking new tastes and ohhhhh...I loved it. A whole new world beyond my childhood of grilled lamb chops and boiled-to-death vegies. I experimented regularly. Mostly when guests were coming, and I would realise that I had again used them as guinea pigs.
I never had a complaint.
Fast forward a decade or so. When my husband invites friends for dinner, now, I cannot think of a single thing to make for dinner. Menu planning fills me with dread. Shopping and cooking feels like a waste of time and energy, let alone money.
Woe is me. Actually, us.
I need to be re-enthused. And I'm trying. My current inspirer is Shauna Niequiest. Shauna would be one of my favourite authors. If I were to read one of her books. But I know she would be one of my favourites because I have been reading her blog, and her Facebook page (thought I don't have Facebook, but she's generous and lets people like me read what she writes). I've found some videos of her speaking and in some of these talks she shares some of the stories from her books. "Bread and Wine" includes a number of recipes, and because people post these things I've found some of them around the interwebs. For example, Shauna's Green Well Salad was my lunch today. And I felt a little tingle of joy return. That salad was so, so simple, so robust, so exciting and different, so delicious.
Thank you Shauna. You might just save me from my cooking doldrums. Although I suspect I am a tough nut to crack in this particular season.
As soon as I can justify the expense I am going to order all of Shauna's books, and I know I will simply fall more in love. I'm pretty sure Shauna and I would be best friends if we were ever to meet. You know when people ask what famous person you would love to have a meal with? Shauna. And Jen Hatmaker. And Glennon Melton. And dearest, precious Francis.
I finally finished all. the. forms. Can you believe, there was a form you had to fill in so that you could fill in another form? I more convinced than ever that Centrelink's reason for existence is not the administration and distribution of social security payments, but to send its clients to the brink of insanity. But I won this round, Centrelink. Now. If only I can get them submitted! I will be photocopying these forms before I submit them. Just in case.