Time Flies When You Want It to Slow Down
This week, my wife, Jill, bought meals from HelloFresh, a company that sells kits with the ingredients and the recipes to cook at home. Apparently, because of the pandemic, something known as “cooking fatigue” has led many people to tire of the repetitive chore of starting from scratch.
The fatigue that exists in our home is different. Jill, who was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease several years ago, is tired when she comes home from work. Thinking about what to eat is work, but meal planning and shopping for the week is also a lot of work that neither of us wants to do.
We have several issues that make meal planning all but impossible. The first and biggest one is that we have decided that only adults plan and cook dinner. Being adults when our daughter, Alexus, was living with us was easy. But now that she lives in another city, being adults is just too much work. Welcome to the empty-nest world.
Clearly, meal planning takes too much effort.
The second issue is that Jill and I have very different taste buds. She likes things that are not delicious, such as broccoli, and I like the good stuff, such as pizza and ice cream. I don’t know how she lives without chocolate cake. (Sadly, she is allergic to chocolate.)
HelloFresh makes it easy for us because someone else was the adult and planned the meals, shopped for the ingredients, and wrote down step-by-step cooking instructions. As for our different tastes, the company provides enough options that we can agree on several meals and adjust for our tastes. For example, Jill dislikes onions, so she leaves them out and piles them on my plate. I’m Cuban, so I’m extremely partial to onions.
As we started making the beef tenderloin and brown butter veggies meal, we read the instructions and prepped all the ingredients that needed to be cleaned and cut. I noticed that each meal had a prep time and a cooking time listed on the recipe card. The prep time listed was 10 minutes. We took a bit longer because Jill insists that I cut things uniformly instead of in my usual style, which can be defined as complete randomness.
As we prepped, we talked.
I looked at the clock as we were finishing up and 20 minutes had gone by. It felt like five. As we started to cook, I noted the cooking time: 35 minutes. There’s lots to do in 35 minutes, so it was nonstop stirring, melting, draining, adding, and cooking ingredients. When the meal was ready, it felt like time had flown by again.
I love these moments with my wife. I love talking with her and doing things together. I know that as her Huntington’s progresses, we will have fewer and fewer moments when she will be able to help out as effectively as she did with this meal, which makes me wish I could slow down time when we are hanging out.
For now, we will continue making meals together and enjoying every second of it — even if the meal at the end isn’t pizza.
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