A similar phenomenon is happening to us. Prepared foods have improved in quality, but we still find ourselves eating refrigerated sushi, frozen tikka masala wraps, pizza, mac-and-cheese, dumplings, or sandwiches much more often than I'd like. While I still buy food and supplies every couple of days, evenings are so busy that the time to cook something elaborate just isn't there. It is also hard to find the solid two-and-a-half hours or so that it seems to take me to choose recipes for a week, make a shopping list, go to a major store like the Whole Foods or Safeway, park, shop, check out, drive home, and put everything away. Maybe three hours.
I want to make Deb Perelman's Ultimate Chicken Noodle Soup. It looks like it will take about 4 hours to cook. Also, my child no longer eats chicken. These are both limiting factors.
Still, I try. I went to Whole Foods this afternoon, and bought the ingredients for the soup, as well as for Lavender Marcona Almonds, three Madhur Jaffrey recipes (Moroccan Potato Stew with Turmeric, Crispy Potato Cake with Herbs, and Moroccan Tomato Salad), and Rogan Josh. I'm hoping to find time to cook most or all of them this weekend.
Meanwhile, it's hard to find time to write, too... or even to think, much. I shouldn't say there isn't time. There is time; there is always time. It's hard to concentrate, though. So much is happening, and so much matters. My attention is divided in a million directions. Some of it still goes towards food, but even that is entangled with so much else. How will I lose the seven pounds I gained in November and December alone, by constant comfort-eating after the election? Can I get my house presentable and something simple cooked in time to have five other progressives over for supper for the purpose of "community-building?" On Tuesday I bought a carrot cake at a nice bakery at 8:30 in the morning in western Massachusetts, stuck it in the back of my car, and drove all day to Washington DC. I arrived around 5:15, took a brief rest, and then brought myself and my carrot cake to an activist potluck. Rarely, rarely do I ever fail to bring something homemade to a potluck.
This was going to be a post about attending City Council meetings with my teenager. City Council happens pretty much every Wednesday at 7:30 pm. While there is enough space for hundreds to attend, generally there are between 10 and 30 people present. My teen and I scarf down some dinner quickly, leave a portion for my husband, and walk down the hill to the community center, slipping inside the double doors just on the dot of 7:30 and taking the seats that my teen has decided are our "regular ones," towards the back in the middle. Our city councilmembers sit in an arc in front of us, with the mayor at the center. The city council is not as diverse as our town is. All six councilmembers are men, and four of them are white men. The mayor, thank god, is a (white) woman. Three other white members of the city staff (two of these, at least, are women) sit with the council on the dais.
That is the thing with city council. Sometimes they talk about speed bumps for an hour and half. But somebody has to. And many topics turn out to be surprisingly fascinating. An argument about how exactly to develop a particular empty residential lot. A proposal by citizens (amazingly, accepted by the council) for the city to stop doing business with a large national bank which carries holdings in the nuclear industry, and switch to a small local bank which does not. A threat by a small business to move down the street into the District of Columbia in order to avoid a particular local tax. We love it all. And we love the handful of other town characters who show up to almost every meeting. I guess we are town characters now too: that mom and that teenager of indeterminate gender who always come and sit in the back and never say anything, don't seem to be there to monitor any particular issue, and slip out around 9:30, most likely during one of long-winded guy's long explanations of a vote.
Ironically, I bought frozen waffles for dinner tonight.