What is this “Cooking” of Which You Speak? What the Hell is Broccolini?

drive-thruHappy Friday, and TGIF. What a brutal work week on the old day job.

Now, I could get up here on my big old soap box and whine about how I have this ridiculous schedule that requires me to be at my day job by 7:30 a.m. (true) and I don’t get home until about 6 p.m. (also true), and that I need to be at my writing desk by 7:30 or 8 p.m. and don’t get to bed until midnight (also true). I also work from 8-12 hours a day on Saturdays and Sundays. And so I don’t really have time to cook. And my Resident Senior Adult is the world’s pickiest eater so I can’t find anything we both like.

And I could tell you that’s why I eat out so often or grab something at the drive-through.

I’d kind of be lying through my teeth about that last part, though, because here’s the truth: I do not like to cook. It could be because I grew up with two working parents who decided that if I was old enough to stay home alone between school and their arrival home from work, then I was old enough to cook dinner for them. Every night. By the time I got out of high school I never wanted to cook again. They also had limited palates, so I had to cook the same things all the time. I’m hell on cornbread (white cornmeal, no eggs, no sugar) and sweetened iced tea, however, should you ever want them.

But I digress. Bottom line: my diet sucks. Today, Thursday, I had a fast-food breakfast burrito for breakfast, a six-month-old protein bar I found in my desk drawer for lunch and drive-through chicken salad with broccoli salad for dinner. And a cookie. Wednesday was worse, with a bowl of instant oatmeal, two slices of raisin bread, a leftover sweet potato, and the final piece of my week-old Key Lime birthday cake making up my daily meals.

I also hate to grocery shop. Did I mention that part?

So, my latest adventure is to subscribe to a meal-delivery service. They’re all the rage now. There’s Blue Apron, and Plated, and Hello Fresh, which are the best known. I decided on

 BroccoliniHello Fresh based on the highly researched, highly scientific method of whose ad caught my eye on Facebook and also delivered to my remote neck of the woods. My first set of meal ingredients arrives Saturday, which means I will be (takes a deep breath) COOKING DINNER EVERY NIGHT. You know, like with fresh ingredients that are healthy. There might be broccolini. I’ll have to stock up on frozen Mac and Cheese for the senior adult, however, because I’m betting she won’t eat a bite of any of it.

Anyone want to place bets on seeing how long I make it before I cancel? Will I even survive the first week? How many days can I make it without a drive-through 20-ounce coffee and a burrito? I shall report the results of this new culinary experiment, which I fear is doomed to failure.

Now….what can I bring for lunch that doesn’t require cooking…..

Any good brown bag ideas?

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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and suspense. As Suzanne Johnson, she is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, Belle Chasse, Frenchmen Street (March 2018). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance; ILLUMINATION); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the Wilds of the Bayou series (Wild Man's Curse; Black Diamond).

25 thoughts on “What is this “Cooking” of Which You Speak? What the Hell is Broccolini?

  1. I hate washing dishes, for much the same reason as you despise cooking. My mom was a purist. One spot on a glass, and she would make you wash every dish, fork, pot and pan that she owned. She worked in a glass factory with an employee discount lol. Many were the times I was up till 3 AM washing dishes. The upside is when I do wash dishes, those babies are CLEAN. So I will happily cook just so someone else will do the cleanup. And yes, I do own a dishwasher. It doesn’t get the dishes clean enough for me, and most of my pans are not dishwasher safe, so it isn’t worth the bother. I am also notoriously cheap. I rarely buy anything unless it is on sale, (except for books, of course) then I buy a ton of it. Yesterday I received several compliments on my shirt, which I got for $1.99 at Salvation Army. Why waste money on clothes that is better spent on books? So the food delivery service wouldn’t jive with my penny pinching ways. If I don’t want to cook, I go with Bertolli or PF Chang frozen meals. Bought on sale. I wish you luck with the delivery service, but I’d guess it won’t be long until you’re looking for something you can just nuke and serve. Lol.

    • LOL, Patti–I suspect you’re right. After a few months, I find all the frozen “nuke and eat” stuff tastes amazingly the same. But I too predict this won’t last long. I’m usually so tired when I get home from work I collapse for at least a half hour and watch the national news (if I get home in time).

      The prices on the meal delivery are quite reasonable. I was surprised.

      I should’ve added that the deal with me cooking dinner as a high schooler was that my mom would do the dishes. If she cooked, I had to do the dishes. I REALLY hate doing dishes–LOL. We didn’t have a dishwasher except the kind with two hands 🙂

      • When I was working, I used the oven as much as possible. Standing over the stove after being on my feet all day was not the best thing. Roasting/baking meat is usually the healthiest way to cook it, and you can make extra to repurpose the leftovers. Crockpots can also be useful, though I don’t think the results are as good. Planning ahead can make cooking easier. Sometimes I would make something easy for dinner, then put a beef roast in the oven and let it slow roast with onion and garlic at 275-300 degrees for the rest of the evening. After 4-5 hours, take it out, let it cool, and refrigerate for the next day. The next day, you can make anything from roast beef sandwiches or salads to tacos and enchiladas, beef stroganoff, beef with rice, just about anything. Chicken is faster, less than 3 hours with the same preparation. My daughter-in-law doesn’t eat leftovers. Their dogs end up eating them. My granddaughter spent her spring break with me, and I gave her a lesson on repurposing leftovers by using every bit of the Easter ham dinner. Monday breakfast was ham and eggs with potato pancakes, made with leftover mashed potatoes. Tuesday dinner was ham fried rice. Wednesday we made cream of potato soup with the ham bone and remains of the green bean casserole. Dessert was sweet potato bread pudding made with the leftover yams and dinner rolls. It was all delicious. She asked recently if we could make another ham because she loved the soup. Hey, maybe that’s the book I should write. Lol

        • LOL. Maybe so! I do use the crockpot quite a bit–white chili is a favorite. Actually, any chili is a favorite :-). I bought a combo pressure cooker/crock pot, and have had some successes and disasters with the pressure cooker. At least it’s fast!

  2. Broccolini, no thanks. I have cooked all the meals in our house since I retired. Wife said she cooked for me all those years, now it’s my turn. Grocery buying day I buy out. Today it’s Long John Silver’s. Fish and shrimp.

    • My husband taught me to cook. My working mom was big on convenience foods, which were not so good in the 70s. He hated instant mashed potatoes, and that was all I knew. So every weekend he would cook, teaching me as he went.

    • I think your wife sounds like a wise, wise woman, Roger! My dad cooked breakfast from as early as I remember to the time I left for college. I think it was probably in self-defense, though, because my mom was high-maintenance and took forever to get ready for work. He made a mean breakfast, though!

  3. i’m starting hating cooking as well since i have to make 3 difefrent dishes and most of teh time my mother throw half of hers away…cooking to be put in teh trash no thanks
    But i still like make some complicate more festive dishes ( problem no one to eat them so no need to cook them) i ( i hate washing dishes too^^) if i ever come to visit you i will definitively cook you something

    and i think it’s hard time i had more cookies to your box so that you can eat a littel healthier

    • Ah, I do understand. My mom can’t or won’t eat what i eat, and when I get something, she ends up throwing half of it away, so it’s a thankless and frustrating job. I’m hoping this meal service will make it fun to cook dinner because it’ll be something different every night…..or it could get really old, really fast. I’m predicting my mom won’t eat any of it and I’ll have leftovers for lunch the next day or dinner the next night–or to freeze. We shall see!

  4. I like broccolini. I cook about five nights a week, my Mom usually cooks one night and my boyfriend cooks one night. His night always means going out. He’ll make eggs or sandwiches but doesn’t do dinner unless it’s something I’ve made that he can just throw on the grill.

    If you want to eat healthier but don’t want to cook much a rotisserie chicken and a salad or vegetable is easy and better than fast food. When I lived alone I’d find one day a week to make soup, pasta sauce or several pieces of chicken and a big batch of broccoli that I could just heat up in the microwave when I got home. The other nights I’d do salad or a sandwich.

    • I probably will like broccolini too, Sandy, because broccoli is one of my favorite veggies. I like it raw or cooked either one. Omelettes are my go-to dinner if I’m tired and am forced to cook because they’re easy and fast!

  5. Wait, they they’re a “meal” delivery but don’t complete the meals? Aren’t there services that fix your meals for you instead of delivering the ingredients? What do I know – I brown bag what my friends call “rabbit food”. I eat lots of fresh veggies spinach, broccoli, carrots, romaine, etc. And protein bars are a staple, as well. Good luck with the service and keeping you both happy (and healthy)!!!

    • Sadly, no they deliver the ingredients (measured out), along with the recipe, but you still have to do the prepping and cooking. I’ve been eating Quest bars for lunch for the last couple of years but they’ve starting disagreeing with me; I’ve accused them of putting more sugar alcohol in them, which I just can’t eat, so I have to be careful about sugar-free foods. I tried the Paleo bars but they are, I swear, coated with a quarter inch of lard. I ended up throwing a whole case of them away. Ick. Makes me shudder to think of them.

  6. I am also not a fan of cooking, and hate broccoli, so I don’t think I will enjoy broccolini. When I do work overtime (a lot recently) I don’t want to spend time cooking, I am too tired, and it would be too late before dinner is ready.
    When I do cook, I often cook enough for two days, so I just have to warm it up the next day. For quick and easy, I often stick with meat and veggies though. I cook the meat, and heat up a can of veggies in the microwave when the meat is done. Easy, and not so much dishes as well. Although I do have a dishwasher.

    • I hear you! I work at least 14 hours most days, including weekends, so I think that’s part of the problem. If I had a family to cook for I’d probably be more diligent but really, I should take as good care of myself as of a family. So I’ll try. I don’t much like canned foods, but there are lots of frozen veggies…and I very much like broccoli 🙂

  7. What a hilarious post!! I used to hate cooking because of all the dishes. Having recently acquired a dishwasher, I hate it less, but I do NOT get all excited about the prospect of coming home and having another thing to do.

    I’m only good at lunches if I have dinner leftovers. Since I don’t cook much, I usually eat out for lunch as well. The only thing I brown bag is my hard-boiled eggs for breakfast!

    Wow. This will be your least helpful comment. But thanks for the entertaining post. 🙂

    • LOL. You made me feel better about my lack of culinary enthusiasm! I usually eat breakfast out and brown-bag lunch but have run out of ideas. There’s always banana sandwiches (…Suzanne waits for collective gasps of horrror…) New blog topic: weird Southern foods!

      • Preachin’ to the choir, sister! There ain’t nothing weird about banana sandwiches. I like mine with mayo & pb!

  8. I HATE to cook, but I do cook from scratch. Mostly because my mother always did. I admit it does taste a lot better & is healthier & cheaper. The key is to ALWAYS make leftovers. One pot wonders are a god send.

    • It is definitely healthier and cheaper, for sure! I like the IDEA of cooking dinner and this service is pretty reasonable, plus no waste. I hate buying a $5 bottle of spice I’m never going to use again, just to try out a recipe. One-pot wonders are great. Vegetable soup is an old standby but it’s getting too hot around here to eat soup now. Ice cream!

      • There are soups you can eat cold like gazpacho. My Mom even eats butternut squash soup cold.

  9. On the weekend, I tend to cook with thoughts of weekday meals: roast chicken or pork shoulder, crockpot kidney beans or black beans, roast carrots or beets and pan fry mushrooms. Then I can mix and match up things to make meals including lunches. Quinoa or rice can be topped with meat or beans and go with a mexican theme (avocado, salsa), or meat, half a baked potato and veg of choice (may also include greens in general, or salad), sliced roasted beets can go on chevre covered toast and topped with lightly dressed greens and if wished topped with another piece of toast for a sandwich. Can also make batches of breakfast or general burritos to reheat at work. I love eating but due to a time consuming job, I don’t have a lot of time to cook, like you. I am on call most weekends.

  10. I’ve had some great broccolini while eating out. While broccolini is not broccoli, it’s a relative. Broccoli in any form has never been my fav veggie but I had some steamed broccoli at Hard Rock Cafe a few months ago that was beyond delicious. I could have just sat there and eaten broccoli and been in heaven. Unbelievably, it was that good! I’m sorry now that I didn’t ask them for their recipe but it just appeared to be plain broccoli. We were with friends and two of them also ordered the broccoli as their side. We were all moaning in delight and oohing and aahing over it. My steamed broccoli never tasted like that! My son and I have to eat gluten-free. Since we were diagnosed, a few years ago, we’ve definitely made the effort to eat healthier. There’s some really good canned/boxed soups – perhaps you could take them to work either to prepare in the microwave, or, do as I do, and prepare it at home and keep it warm in a thermos until lunch. Smoothies are another great choice along with salads. We discovered a Thai Vietnamese restaurant located about an hour from us. When I am near there, I always pick up to-gos to last a couple of days. They utilize a lot of veggies, cook everything from scratch and their food is always delicious. (Unfortunately, the Vietnamese restaurant located 15 minutes away is not so healthy.) All the best with your new diet!!!!

  11. Love broccoli! Hate cooking…love eating! And I’m the weirdo in the family that likes doing dishes. It’s my quiet time when there’s a lot of company, I shoo them all away!