Food Writing

A Food-Hater’s Hopes for Her Food Writing Adventures

Writing, for me, is just thinking on paper or via my laptop’s keyboard. I reflect on the books I read, my daily life, hypothetical situations: everything is fair game.

Then, there’s food. I’ve never really considered writing about food, not until now, which obviously means I’ve never thought too hard about it. Food is a chore, a necessity, sometimes delicious but usually just tedious for me. There are at least a hundred things I’d rather do than eat, including sweep out garages and mop bathroom floors.

Whatever the opposite of a foodie is, I’m probably that. I appreciate delicious things, but I don’t really think about them. Mostly, I eat foods that are easy to prepare. Here’s the thing: I hate cooking. More specifically: I hate cleaning up after cooking.

Also, my relationship with food got weird in college and we haven’t really reached a good place yet.

I’m working on it, though. Writing about it counts as working on it. Now that I work from home, I have a lot more time to cook, but the same lack of desire and inspiration.

I hope writing about it will inspire me to act.

I’m figuring it out, which is not to say that I don’t still say to myself frequently, “Oh, shit, I better start dinner.” Or slightly less frequently, “I actually used the full dozen eggs?” Mostly, I find myself resisting the temptation to have my husband stop and get take-out on his way home.

I’ve embraced the cooking chore, the food tedium, by doing a lot of things that food snobs openly frown upon. Even my less-judgmental foodie friends tweet or say things that make me cringe because I’m guilty, so guilty, of their full list of sins. For example: I don’t cook meat unless I can do it in the slow cooker. I slow-cook things that probably shouldn’t be slow-cooked. I don’t use tomatoes because I hate them, and I have no desire to stop hating them. Frozen vegetables are 100% the bomb. Canned beans? Hell yeah. Pre-shredded cheese? All over it.

I don’t even like to watch Food Network. Still, I’m fascinated by how people think about and relate to food, which has inspired me to think more about it, too. Maybe try harder? Maybe.

The other night, when I had my, “Oh, shit, I have to start dinner!” moment, I took out a can of chicken, a bottle of barbecue sauce, a bag of shredded pizza cheese, and a packaged, store-brand pizza crust mix and whipped up BBQ chicken pizza in under five minutes, baked it for a while, and called it dinner. And it was glorious.

So that’s what I’m bringing to the table (come on, I had to say that): a cynical, lazy, unrefined attitude about food but, at the same time, a willingness to reflect on it and try to change my ways.


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About Jeanette Solomon

Jeanette holds an MA in English literature and a grudge against cheese for being so delicious. She's a reformed higher-ed geek who now spends all her time reading, writing, and keeping house.

  • Dana Staves

    I look forward to reading about your journey!

  • JillGuccini

    I totally get not enjoying cooking. (Although it sounds like you actually do more of it than you’re admitting. You made your own pizza? I consider frozen pizza a home cooked meal! Well, not really, but like, I make frozen pizza a lot.) But do you even hate food when someone else makes it for you?! Because THAT would be harder for me to understand. :)

    • jeanette

      It depends on the food. I have a messed-up relationship with eating in general and don’t really enjoy it. I do cook quite a lot but only because I have to. Well, I don’t have to, but it makes more sense for us (since I work from home) than always getting take-out—especially since that usually entails a drive-through.

      I did grow up with a mom who effortlessly made things that were delicious, and through observation, I figured out how to make easy things taste super-complicated, if that makes sense. I’m good at spices.

      But I suck at meal planning. I suck at timing things to be done at roughly the same time. I suck at variety. All because I’d be content to just, you know, eat scrambled eggs or cereal every morning and cut up some steamed baby carrots in a bowl of Ramen and call it lunch and dinner. Also: cheese.

  • Danielle Allen

    Wait. WAIT. You don’t like…food? But food is my favorite…