This has been a challenging summer when it comes to keeping the household fed. There are a few reasons for this. One being, of course, that whole gestating thing that makes elaborate cooking seem a huge waste of time when I could be lying on the couch eating my own special blend of peanuts and chocolate chips and re-reading a Barbara Michaels novel for the fifth time.
Also there is the toddler, who doesn't so much DO long periods of any one activity, including cooking; the lack of produce from the garden; and the heat.
In actual fact, the heat probably is the greatest limiting factor. I just cannot stand to turn the stove on when it's already 85 degrees in the kitchen with 75 percent humidity. The MiL can do this, and then sit in said hellish kitchen and eat the prepared meal with apparent enjoyment. Even if I manage to get something cooked, the last thing I want to do after doing the cooking is sit at the table in the kitchen and eat it with sweat running down my face.
So not appetizing.
Sadly, it is also not appetizing for me to sit down to a meal entirely comprised of salad or a sandwich. After a couple of days of scratch meals, everyone--including me--starts to feel as if the hunger will never be assuaged with anything but a real, honest-to-God cooked meal. To say nothing of the raging hunger A. is left with after expending five million calories nailing shingles onto the roof. No one who does that for five hours is going to be satisfied with tuna salad.
And that is why I have started using my Crockpot a lot.
I'm not really a huge fan of slow cookers. I feel like anything I make in a slow cooker tastes better made in the oven or on the stove. But when the stove and the oven are non-players, the Crockpot becomes the only way to cook a large hunk of beef. So at least once a week, I put a big chunk of (unbrowned--OH THE LAZINESS) meat in the Crockpot with onions and barbecue sauce or steak sauce or soy sauce or hoisin sauce--or whatever cheater already-in-the-bottle sauce can be dumped directly in that bad boy--plug the Crockpot in in the shop to keep its heat from affecting the kitchen, and sit back on my lazy haunches. It takes approximately five minutes in the morning and there is cooked food at the end of the day.
I'm not going to pretend it's anything but desperation cooking, but when the options are Crockpot chuck roast or . . . eggs again, the Crockpot is a pretty good option.
Someday I'll again be able to cook the way I like to, but not today. And not tomorrow. But someday I can relegate the Crockpot back to the far reaches of the pantry and get to know my Dutch oven again. And that will be a happy day indeed.