Have you ever made the most perfect peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Spreading rich creamy and the sweet jam of your choice over toasted bread can be so therapeutic, your troubles melting away as the peanut butter melts into the crevices of the bread. Taking care to select the best peanut butter/jam combo to match with the most compatible bread can be considered self-care, including enjoying the fruits of your labor while you eat. You slip into nostalgia as you are transported back to the first time a peanut butter and jelly sandwich comforted your soul.
If that is how you are making pb&j sandwiches in this quarantine, I commend you. Teach me your ways! I make my pb&j sandwiches in a hurried state after hours in my home office typing away at work, realizing I'm starving and hangry. I can't get the peanut butter onto the bread fast enough as my stomach audibly growls, a hand reaching up out of my middle and inserting the sandwich directly inside. There is no time to enjoy the process of either making or eating the sandwich, there is only time to inhale. I have to face it, I have not been consistently taking care of myself as much as I would've liked during this quarantine.
The amount of hassle and frustration of cooking in my kitchen was more expensive than outsourcing my meals
For six years I lived alone in a studio with what can be best described as a mini kitchen, and I didn't cook for myself much then. The kitchen was so small that it was frustrating to try and cook much, and because I only had to satisfy myself, I ordered out a lot, went out to eat with friends, and ate a lot of leftovers. My rent was on the cheaper side so I justified my eating habits. The amount of hassle and frustration of cooking in my kitchen was more expensive than outsourcing my meals, plus I got to be social. My mother taught me how to cook and I enjoyed it so, especially helping with Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. The most fun I have cooking is when it's for my family or friends, not really as much as when it's just for me. I also take pleasure in the social aspect of cooking, like with my mom when preparing meals for the family. All of that is removed when making food for myself, by myself, with no end in sight.
I told myself I would make more meals when I upgraded to a one-bedroom in January of this year. I basically spent the difference in my increased rent when I ate out and ordered in while living in my studio, so the higher cost of rent wasn't really too big of a deal. I just needed to stick to preparing food for myself like a good disciplined adult, right? This was going well in January, February, and most of March, but then enter a global pandemic, lockdown, and quarantine. Now being forced to cook took away all of any small amount of fun. I definitely don't want to blame myself for my lack of discipline, so I blame the pandemic for currently breaking my agreement with myself.
Maybe you are also single and living alone, making meals for one alone. Convincing yourself to actually cook the food in your refrigerator as opposed to hopping on DoorDash, Uber Eats, or whatever other app to order delivery. I think of the YouTube video/meme where the mom puppet yells, "It's spaghetti in there!" whenever I want to throw up my hands and order a burrito bowl from Chipotle. I can literally make many burrito bowls a million times over myself, but it is simply better when someone else does it for me.
Planning and preparing my own meals is good because I would know exactly what is going into my body, I would be saving money, and I would be performing an act of love for myself.
As we move into the cold winter months, it will be very easy to get takeout all the time, to be comforted by someone else's cooking so I don't have to be concerned with taking the time to grocery shop and cook. However, I want to shift my perception of cooking for myself to view it as taking care of myself. Planning and preparing my own meals is good because I would know exactly what is going into my body, I would be saving money, and I would be performing an act of love for myself. If I see cooking for my friends as a way to love them, then cooking for myself would render the same outpouring of love.
What kind of jam is your favorite to use to make your most perfect peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Or perhaps you use a different butter? I would love to know!