There Are Better Homes and Gardens

I live in absolutely no danger of being praised or respected for my domestic skills. My house is not decorated; it’s just an eclectic collection of furniture arranged in the logical places. And, if not for my cleaning lady, no one would want to step foot in it. Laundry only gets done when my daughters run out of underwear and my husband keeps buying new shirts because he has given up hope that the 40 he already owns will ever be ironed. The mean neighbor lady not-so-affectionately refers to my yard as the “Urwald” which means jungle. My in-laws stopped expecting me to bring cakes or tortes to family celebrations about 25 years ago. That was about the same time my husband officially took over the cooking. In the meantime he has gotten very, VERY good at it while my repertoire consists of the same five recipes I had mastered back in the 80s – one of which is the omelet. Cooking in general has never had any appeal for me even though it is probably the one and only housekeeping activity that allows for some creativity. So it was all the more strange that I suddenly had the idea to make lasagna from scratch today.

cookbookFirst I took my one and only cookbook from the shelf and blew the dust off the top. I’ve had it since my college years (Copyright 1981) and have used it at least a dozen times. I like it because the recipes come from the days before fitness crazes and health consciousness, so they all include walloping portions of fats, sugars and salt – i.e. the stuff that makes food taste good. It also only has regular, recognizable ingredients like “onions” or “milk” – not edgy, fashionable ones like “shallots” or “creme fraiche”. It also has a handy “Meal Planning” section, which I always meant to read but haven’t gotten around to it yet. It’s based on the good old-fashioned “5 Food Groups”. (I hear there are six or seven now.) Since my lasagna already contained all five groups, I could skip making any side dishes.

Lasagna 1I read all the instructions and converted all the measurements from cups and ounces to liters and grams. I collected all the ingredients from shelves, baskets and the fridge and arranged them in order on the table.

Lasagna 2I slowly and methodically performed each step of the preparation. I produced some photo-documentation of my progress at various stages. I found it all surprisingly enjoyable. All in all it took me two hours from start to serving (plus another half hour of shopping for the ingredients beforehand). It took us five minutes to eat.

Lasagna 3So will this be the beginning of a new hobby? An addition to my daily routine?




8 thoughts on “There Are Better Homes and Gardens

  1. I enjoy cooking or at least I don’t dislike it (like ironing, I always pour liters of sweat with this infernal steaming iron below my face). But I share your frustration for the discrepancy between cooking and eating… seems like changing counter and denominator in mathematical fractions or even worse. But when I see my family contentedly munching my products, it pleases me much more than a shirt without pleats or a window without stains, and in winter we often share our appartment with dust bunnies, my family fortunately is not affected by allergies. I have a postcard with a quote by Marilyn Monroe that says something like ” I have too many fantasies to be a housewife…. I guess I am a fantasy.” I don’t want to devaluate good housewives, but there are more important things in the world to do and to enjoy.


    1. A good attitude, that. My mom told me years ago that I would like cooking more when I had kids – sort of the same idea as you wrote above. It was true for a year or two. Then my elder daughter started at the Kinderkrippe and learned from other kids that she could be picky about what she eats. From then on meals became monotone and cooking boring – always the same few things that she deigned to put in her mouth.


  2. Hahaha. I get what you mean. I bake a lot but mainly to decorate cakes. Cooking is different… It’s more functional. I find shopping for ingredients a hassle! The lasagna looks great! 🙂


      1. Haha. Yes I don’t have the patience for most of it! I will do it when forced to – my friend works for a food magazine and got me to test a recipe on Friday. But if I hadn’t been asked to do it, I would’ve ordered pizza! 😂


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