Easter and The Non Cook

Something happened when I moved to South Carolina. I stopped cooking.  It wasn't a conscious decision, it just happened. Kind of like how it was with my favorite toy as a kid- the footsie.  It was a ring with a bell attached to a cord that you would put around one ankle and hop, skip, or jump  over.  I played with that thing everyday- during recess at school, at home after school, even after dinner.  Then one day I just put it away and that was it.  Maybe I moved on to something else.  Like Jax. Or Yo- Yos.  

The Footsie

The Footsie

Maybe I moved on to The Fresh Market. I admit that I view it as my dining hall- sometimes going there twice a day- for lunch and dinner.  I have started to choose the check out line based on which cashier is there.  Not because I want the fastest one, but rather I want to avoid going to the same one too often, lest they might become wise to my Fresh Market addiction. How did this happen to a woman who used to cook for her family every night (well, okay at least 3 nights in a row)?  A woman who cooked her way through all of the Barefoot Contessa cook books?  A woman who loved to throw dinner parties?  How did I become one of those non cooking women? 

I didn't get here overnight.  First, my children all left home.  Without any hungry mouths to feed (other than my own), the urgency of meal prep dialed way down. Add the fact that I didn't know anyone to invite to my house for dinner and you can see how this might have begun. Then, I started working a lot and was too tired to cook for even myself.  I thought things would change when I married Stu. I imagined that I would prepare lovely meals for us each night, to be eaten slowly by candle light as we gazed into each other's eyes.  I began strong, cooking every night but then Stu told me that it made him feel guilty- seeing me "working" in the kitchen.  Isn't he wonderful?  I'm sure it had nothing to do with the heavy sighing emanating from the kitchen.  So, the woman who once cooked her way through every single Barefoot Contessa cookbook (there are 10 of them), hosted every holiday meal and threw regular dinner parties has become one of "them".  A non cooking woman. You know who they are.  The women who think nothing of serving their dinner guests pizza out of a box.  Or the ones who bring a store bought cake to a party when you ask them to bring desert.  I used to judge them so harshly. Now I have become one of them.

Mind you, I am not yet proud of my new status.  I'm not sure I will ever be as militantly proud of being a non cooking woman as some of my new tribe tend to be.  But there is something worse than being a non cook.  That is being a bad cook.  That is a group that I refuse to join.  Cooking is not like riding a bike. It is more like playing the piano.  If you stop playing, you lose your muscle memory and almost have to start over at the beginning.  So, having not cooked anything to speak of since Christmas, I will be cooking Easter lunch.  It has to be done.  If I don't do it, I fear that I will fall into that group from which I will never be able to recover- The bad cook club. 

Even though I stopped cooking, I still love to set a pretty table, celebrate holidays, birthdays and just about any old thing.  This is another reason to dust off the pans and put on the apron. For inspiration, I am scouring Pinterest and Blog land for spring floral arrangements and fun party ideas. I leave you with some photos that struck me and will post what I end up doing next week.

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Isn't this charming?  I love the idea of using a wooden trough or dough bowl with spring bulbs and colored eggs.

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This arrangement is stunning.  Too large to be the centerpiece but it would be spectacular on my sideboard.

Always a fan of blue and white, I like the idea of white tulips and bringing color in with linens, china and eggs.

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I love the grass runner!  It looks like a garden sprung up in the middle of the table!

All for now.  Must get to work. Would love to hear about your favorite Easter recipes or any great table setting ideas. Happy Monday!