Don't Try So Hard in the Kitchen in 2021

Lizzy Saxe

Against all odds, 2020 is over.

The year that took forever has passed into the sands of time yet not much is different.

Sure, soon we will (finally) have a sane adult in the White House, but Joe Biden will not magically save the country from itself.

Regardless of how the senate shakes out, no matter what kind of stimulus checks people (hopefully eventually?) get, America has only proven once again precisely how broken our system is. Some like to argue that the system was designed this way, and maybe it is. But a bad product can have all the good advertising in the world and still not work.

We all, collectively, are tired.

The halcyon days of the early pandemic, of making homemade sourdough, endless batches of cookies, and whatever other Instagram-friendly snacks your heart desires are over.

We can't control much these days, but at least we’re allowed to try a little less hard in the kitchen.

In her recent piece “The Joylessness of Cooking,” The New Yorker’s Helen Rosner noted that: “Obligation, it turns out, is the real thief of joy; they wouldn’t make so many TV commercials featuring women who seem ludicrously happy to be doing laundry if endless compulsory domesticity didn’t slowly sandpaper away at the soul.”

What I’m getting at here is that anything can become drudgery if it is necessary, and we have to eat day after day, year after year.

This is nobody's reality right now, and that's ok

Thus, cooking becomes a tyranny. It doesn't matter how much you love food (and I love food), too much of anything is awful.

So buy yourself some more premade meals than usual.

If you can afford it, please for the love of all that is holy order takeout. Get some cookbooks designed for taking it easy, or, if you’re isolated, intelligently cooking for one.

Heck, if all you can handle right now is making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, or eating the peanut butter right out of the jar, I give you permission to do less.

There's no one to impress anyway, it's not like we're going anywhere.

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I write about the past, present, and future of food and the human condition. Also sometimes snacks.

Brooklyn, NY

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