Monday, January 31, 2011

Herd cooking


Ducklings ACEO



What is “herd cooking” you may ask?  It is the term that I use to describe the type of cooking done when you are serving more than six.  Cafeteria ladies do it in their hairnets.  The military does it in their chow halls.  Caterers and restaurants do it.  Crystal has always done it too…in her home.

I came from a large family by today’s standards.  I was the oldest. I grew up with two brothers and one sister. When I was in my teens I often helped my mother by cooking dinners.
 
My brothers are both over six feet tall and in their teenage years they packed away a ton of groceries.  My sister, while she was always a wisp of thing, could eat them both under the table. When I cooked, I cooked for a herd.

After I grew up and got married, I became a mother of one, but life continually changes and after becoming a fairly young widow, I married a man with two daughters and two sons. 

“Herd cooking” became the norm.  And then, one by one they left the nest. The last little bird has finally flown away.  Sadly, now I cook for only two.  Oh what am I to do? I have, by habit, always multiplied recipes.  I bought large pans and huge pots.  I bought family sized packages, and I shopped at Costco, for crying out loud!   How can a habitual  “herd cooker” learn to cook for two?

I am kind of like a recovering alcoholic.  I must learn to shop light.  I must learn to ignore the giant sized packages that beckon to me. I must bypass the coupons that require a purchase of more than one item. I must learn to walk past the stock up sales.  I must…er….eeek….actually walk quickly past the “buy two get two free” displays.  It’s no sale when you have to toss the leftovers.  How can I recover in a nation of excess?

I can’t resist and I put a package of thirty chicken breasts in my cart, and my husband and I are having chicken parmesan for dinner, chicken biscuits for breakfast, chicken salad for lunch and chicken anything for the next week and a half!  I think my husband is actually starting to cluck.  I just need time to adapt. 

Baby steps, that's the ticket.  I simply reverse my methods.  I halve recipes instead of multiply them.  I buy new pots and pans in smaller sizes.  But mostly I just go out and I buy a large freezer.

11 comments:

Leovi said...

Either way I admire, I like a lot is cooking for a single copy.

Art by JFM said...

Wonderful story Crystal and I just love your painting!!!

Lee said...

How true! Shop light, I love it :) DH and I still go to costco and stock up. I spend the afternoon breaking up the large packages of meat into (2 serving) bags for the freezer. Ground meat into 1 lb packages or 2, 4 oz patties.
Yes, there are times when we open the freezer and "bawk, bawk bawk, bawk" too.
It's still nice to know that I can return to herd cooking (in an instant) when the kids and their families are back for a visit.

Crystal Cook said...

lol!! Great post Crystal! I tend to do herd cooking right now and will probably go through your same problem when mine leave the nest. And I LOVE the duckling painting! So cute. :)

Carol Blackburn said...

We are alone except for when my grandson is with us extendly and we will always "herd" cook just because we don't mind leftovers and it saves us time to do other things like paint, hike, snowshoe, etc. Plus, the larger sizes at the store are less expensive and it saves money, too.

Magic Love Crow said...

LOL! Great post Crystal! I wish you all the best!!! I hope you can change, if not, buy that bigger freezer ;o)

Theanne... said...

Your post made me laugh...after Don died I didn't have much adjusting to do...I'd cooked for just the 2 of us for years...no matter what I do cooking for 1 comes out with extra but that's ok...I don't mind left-overs for a few days...LOL

Wanda said...

Oh my do I relate to his. We had four children, and I always cooked for the herd...

Now, just my dearest and me, I find that I love to buy small little cassarole dishes at Ross, and place setting for TWO of cute dishes I find also at Ross.

It's a hard habbit to break...but when the grandkids are over...I get to cook big...

Gretchen Bjornson ART said...

Very sweet painting.

pve design said...

I grew up one of seven and my Mom always cooked for the masses...always more than enough! My twins will be off to college next year, and we will be 3!
Menu planning really helps me....maybe you can try that. I meal plan Sunday evening for the week.
pve

Margaret Bednar said...

Very funny. I will be herd cooking for quite a while.

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