I used to look at people who got dinner on the table every night and wonder how on earth they did it. (My mother was one of them. I know she hated it.) But that was when I was an urbanite and had a choice. Now I’m in the sticks (also a choice) and we, like so many other people right now, are being much more conservative with our money, so I’ve discovered planning and bargain hunting and nightly cooking and, lo and behold, blogging.
Along the way I’ve rediscovered the love I had for cooking. I’ve never considered microwaving to be a very loving way to feed my family, and I’ve always been capable of more; I just had to get past my resentment of the chore of cooking in order to stop taking the shortcuts I didn’t feel very good about. The food I am making is much more healthy and tasty than what I was serving before. In this era of Cheap Food, when you can go to Trader Joe’s and buy a bag of frozen pasta for next to nothing, it might not be a great deal cheaper than eating some other way. But in many cases it is still significantly more economical to have home made vegetarian soup and a loaf of bread for dinner than the typical meat-centered meal.
I’m told I am supposed to include something about myself here, too. I’m an artist and former restaurant employee. I spent 15 years in the restaurant business, working my way from car hop (honestly) to manager. Manager was, in my opinion, a low point. I worked in greasy spoons, rib joints, 5 stars hotels, jazz bars, sports bars, fine dining, low-key French…you get the picture. Don’t get me wrong, I did manage to hold down a few jobs for a couple of years before “moving on” (getting a better job, getting canned, or trying to straddle two jobs and burning out). But the plum jobs in the restaurant industry are hard to come by, and your resume can get kind of long. And in the good places I not only waitressed but tended bar. Like, bruise your ass get smelly make a ton of money bartending. God, I loved and hated the restaurant business.
And I do have a name, it is Karen. I live east of Seattle with my husband and son. We live on a few acres in the forest and we have a creek and owls and ferns, cedars, and moss galore. I hear people like photos; I had to dig through many folders on my computer to find something I could use. I am the one behind the camera in our family, not in front of it. The photo below is kind of old (the kid in it is now sneaking cigars) but it looks like me and at least I am smiling, and I’m in a place I love.
Date: February 13, 2010