I Have Something To Confess, How About You?

I hate cooking!

I sat down in my steaming hot kitchen, put my head in my hands and cried.

My face was flaming, there was ‘stuff’ on every work surface, recipe books were smeared with flour, the oven was working away, dishes were piled up, dirty pans that won’t go in the dish washer waited,  and I was in despair.

We were giving a ‘dinner party’ for  six guests (I know, not exactly a crowd) and I’d been running round in circles since early morning. I thought I’d been looking forward to it. I’d written my lists, done the shopping, even  laid the table. But the fact remained – I was in tears.

Apparently I’m not alone.  A recent press survey reported that many of us find the whole dinner party thing more stressful than seeing the bank manager or commuting to work!

So what’s the problem?

Here’s my Positive Spin.

  • I don’t like being ‘judged’.

There are so many cookery shows on TV and it looks so easy! They’re run by real chefs, all with years of training and experience,  owning  successful restaurants. Of course their meals are amazing. That’s what their diners expect! Of course I can’t match their expertise. But somehow, when I have friends around for dinner, because I’m not a natural cook, I feel judged.

  • I don’t want to ‘fail’.

I feel embarrassed if my roast potatoes aren’t perfect, my sauce has lumps (surely not!) or the steaks are over/undercooked. I worry that my menu won’t live up to expectations.

  • I feel out of my depth.

At the last dinner party I went to there were three desserts.  I just can’t compete!  What will they say if I only produce one! I don’t know how to make filo pastry by hand, unlike my talented friend. I’ve not mastered the art of home-made ice cream or perfect cheesecake.

And so it goes on.

So! What can I do about it?

  • I need to get ‘real’.

Sharing a meal is a way to get together and enjoy one another’s company. If cooking for a dinner party puts me out of my depth then I need to be very brave and say, ‘ We’d love to see you for dinner. I’m not too confident about cooking so we’d like to take you out instead.’

It doesn’t have to cost a fortune, there are plenty of great pubs in the UK that serve moderately priced meals and even more choices in the US.

  • I can cheat!

There’s an amazing array of food out there, ready cooked. Indian food is especially plentiful and not expensive. I’ve found fantastic savoury pies, casseroles and pasta dishes on sale in some butchers’ shops, along with fruit pies, crumbles and mousse. Sometimes I buy the main course but make the dessert. Or I make a really easy but tasty and interesting starter.

I always tell my friends that I cheated and they don’t turn a hair. At least, not so far as I can tell. It’s their company that’s the most important part of the evening.

  • I must live in the real world.

Everyone has skills. Everyone. Not everyone is an expert cook, home decorator,  dress-maker…. whatever. It’s time  to stop stressing about it and simply confess that I don’t enjoy trying to cook restaurant style food for guests. It’s silly to pretend otherwise.

There! That feels better…

How about you?

Is there anything you need to confess? Go on, you know you want to…

You’ll feel so much better if you do!

Header image by cursedthing, post pic by lisaclarke, on Flickr.

Advertisements

6 Comments

Filed under action, adjust, anxious, change, confidence, expectation, failure, fear,, realistic, success

6 responses to “I Have Something To Confess, How About You?

  1. Christine

    Oh Linda, I love cooking but still hate the horrors of entertaining anyone but family. It’s just too stressful, even if I’m the one who piles on the stress and fixes the bar so far up the wall it’s almost above the chimney. We always take friends out now – so much easier and we all enjoy the experience! Wish I could be more relaxed about it but I can’t so it’s sensible to wise-up … thank you for a great post!

  2. lol because I remember my early days of cooking when I got married. Everything swam in soup because I put a bowl of water for each one of us and I throw the fish in a frying pan then ran for fear of hot oil — but the more it reached me! But then with years of practice I can now prepare a decent meal for a crowd of 50 and if there will be 100 guests I guess I just have to double it!

    Thanks Linda for your confession — no mortal sin 🙂

  3. I really enjoyed reading this post. It was refreshing and real without wallowing in it. I usually feel very let down after a party with all the prep and clean up and corralling of people. When all I really want to do is sit down and talk to people. I feel like the party goes by in a blink, but I’m left with a heap of work and no quality time! I’m not hosting Thanksgiving, but I am going to sit down and do some visiting with others 🙂

    • Thanks Marci. Talking to our guests is hard when we’re in and out of the kitchen all the time, another reason I prefer to go out instead. Meanwhile, I wish you an enjoyable Thanksgiving!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s