Cooking is Important to Me, But Not to Him

He doesn’t mean to, but my husband occasionally makes me feel really terrible about myself.

Or maybe he does mean to.

Who knows, who cares.

I really love to cook. I blame it on my Italian heritage. My grandma always relished in cooking for her family and meals became more like parties. Good food, good conversation, good times. I was so looking forward to having a family that I could cook for myself.

Before I got married, I wasn’t too big on cooking on the daily. And I mean COOKING. Like, from scratch stuff. I don’t mean I never ate. In the sense that, I loved to cook but I never really saw myself as being enough of a reason to cook. So I would make super basic, super easy meals. Whenever given the chance, I would cook up a big meal for friends, like Friendsgiving. Cakes and cookies for birthday or celebrations. But when it was just me? Not worth it.

When my now husband and I got engaged and moved in together, I began cooking dinner for us. He had been living the bachelor life for so long that he stored stuff in his oven. I enjoyed getting to cook for him, for us.

Once we got married and I started teaching, time became scarcer. I still cooked for us, but I found a nice “menu” of 15-ish meals that I could rotate through on weeknights when time was harder to come by. I could try out new recipes on the weekend and see if I was able to add them into the rotation.

For the record, my husband hates almost all vegetables. I’d try to incorporate them in different ways, but most of the time, it was all for naught. Since he would often throw them out, it seemed a waste to buy zucchini just for me. (Yes, there is that thought again.) The rotation was healthy-ish but not as healthy as it could be, without additional veggies.

Our daughter is 15 months and eats what we eat. She is an excellent eater. She will try everything. I make it a point of her seeing that we are eating the same things as her and we all eat together. I want her to be healthy, so I have been replacing many of the old “stand-bys” with meals that have protein, starch/carbs, vegetables. We have fruit for dessert.

I have read so much about how important it is for her to be given a wide array of foods early. For her to see us also eating these healthy foods. To not see disordered eating. As someone who has battles eating disorders, this is a big deal to me.

My mom is incredibly skinny. Like uncomfortably thin. The large reason for that now is due to medications she is on, but she was skinny when I was a kid, too. She didn’t think she was. She would make dinner for my brothers and me, and she might have a small salad. Or cottage cheese. I grew up seeing her do a plethora of diets. She always was trying to lose weight. I became a teenager and my body changed. I was not a skinny mini like my mother. I was curvy. Yet I had spent my whole childhood hearing that she wasn’t skinny. Oh God. I must have been a cow.

I stopped eating. I developed anorexia. There were times I would pass out. I got into trouble for this. So when I felt like I was bout to pass out, I gorged to curb it. Then I would feel guilty and throw up later. I developed bulimia.

I ended up hospitalized for a short while. I am constantly aware of this still, in the sense that I will make myself eat something (even just a protein pack) if it has been too long since I have eaten. By keeping myself on a pretty regimented schedule, I don’t let myself fall back to these old patterns.

But this is not the point. So I will get back on track.

I do not want my daughter to see this. So we all eat the same thing at dinner. When I make us breakfast on the weekends, we all eat the same thing. She will see that it is alright to eat healthy!

I give my husband the smallest portion of vegetables out of the three of us and he still doesn’t finish them most of the time. Eye rolls for days, but still not the point today.

I have mentioned to him several times that the honest highlight of my day is our dinner time together. I love to cook for my family and eat with my family. Cooking is my love language to them.

My husband made an off hand comment tonight about how dinner was prepared. I told him what it was because I was just trying to engage in conversation and be a part of something. He went off on me saying that meant I was trying to correct him all the time because all I ever do is correct him and who cares, it’s just food anyways.

Oh.

It didn’t occur to him that this felt like he was essentially saying that I am wasting my time cooking for them. That food is such a small, insignificant thing. That my loving contribution amounts to nothing. It would be just as fine for me to throw together something in 30 seconds and yell out “Slop’s on!”

It hurt. It also made me feel really lonely.

Old me would have just stopped cooking. Let him figure out what he wants for dinner himself. But it isn’t like I can just NOT cook tomorrow. My daughter needs to eat.

I felt really underappreciated for something that I thought I was doing as a sign of love.

This House Elf will just go back to the dirty corner I sleep in, hoping that someday Master will recognize me as an equal.

 

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