Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cooking was an OCD nightmare, but the food tasted good

I cooked on Sunday. I used the stove. I mixed ingredients. I cleaned up after myself.
On the outside, it probably looked like it went OK, but on the inside, I was a nervous wreck.
Ingredients minus the pasta.
On Sunday I fixed a simple pasta salad. I cooked the tri-color rotini and mixed it with kidney beans (rinsed), sliced black olives and broccoli flowerets. Then I mixed it all with balsamic vinaigrette and chilled it.
Boiling pasta.
It was very easy to fix.
I managed to turn off the stove, but I did turn it back on and then off again to satisfy myself. So that needs work.
I didn’t ask my husband to double-check behind me, so that was a good point.
The finished product.
I made an important discovery, too. What bothers me most about cooking is the cleaning up afterwards.
All during the preparation, I thought about the mess I was making and how hard it was going to be for me to clean it up.
It’s not that I made a huge mess. But after I used the electric can opener to open the can of beans, I had to carefully wipe around its edges. I didn’t see any food on the appliance, but I had to clean it to make sure I was getting rid of any invisible residue.
I was so thankful the can of sliced olives had a flip-up top. I love cans like that because I don’t have to use and then clean a can opener.
While I as cooking the pasta, the water ran over the rim of the pan a couple of times, so I had that to clean up.
And then I had to gauge whether or not I was cleaning every bit of counter that I worked on.
My anxiety level was probably at a 7 while I was cooking and cleaning. But afterwards, I felt relief and the anxiety lessened to about a 3, which for me right now is pretty good.
I clean much easier now than I used to before treatment, but I still worry that I’m missing something, and I know I perform a bit of overkill in wiping the counters.
It was all worth the effort, though, because my husband and I had a salad to enjoy, and I knew I had stepped in the right direction, towards cooking more.
And the salad tasted good.

Which do you enjoy the least, cooking or cleaning up afterwards? Do you have any easy pasta salad recipes or other salad recipes good for summer that you’d like to share?

30 comments:

  1. Cleaning up afterwards! When I cook, every surface, pot, plate, bowl I used is instantly cleaned once the food is mixed. The only dishes I like at the end of the meal, are the ones that people are looking after. Even the leftover food is put away before I sit down to eat. It's hard when there is a large gathering, as I spend more time cleaning than eating! But, I need to clean those plates immediatley after consumption!

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    1. I like to clean as much as I can as I go, too, and I'm antsy until everything is clean. It's hard to enjoy what I fixed to cook until it's all clean.

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  2. Yay you did it! I'm so proud of you! :)

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  3. Way to go LADY! What a positive step. You're doing it. That's what counts.

    I used to HATE to cook raw meat. Not that I like it now...but it used to be bad. I had so much anxiety over it...mostly making sure I cooked it enough and disinfected the surfaces used enough to keep from getting sick. I used to clean my ENTIRE kitchen...top to bottom...if raw meat (especially chicken) ever was made. Mostly a lot of meat just went bad sitting in my fridge because I couldn't muster up enough courage to cook it or enough energy to clean up after it.

    The cure....#1. More kids. The more kids I had the more I ran out of energy to be too "crazy". I had to FORCE myself to make mental note of where the meat actually touched so that I could just focus on cleaning THOSE surfaces. and #2 Medication. Now I am "normal", or have vastly improved, as far as cooking meat goes. I still am a little more overboard than my husband but manageable. Very manageable.

    Keep pushing past your limits and you will achieve great things. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right? And if it kills you...when then what will you care? You'll be dead and in a far better place. :)

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    1. thank you, Melanie! I will keep going, and I hope it does make me stronger! :-)

      I don't cook meat, but I used to. Cooking chicken was hard. I would soak it first and be soooooo careful not to splash any of the water and cleaned up really intensely immediately afterwards.

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  4. I have major contamination fears, and I have stopped cooking for the most part for similar reasons. See, I'm always afraid the food is contaminated, and every container or package I open is another exposure for me. I end up eating very little, or a limited range of "safe" foods. It is something I am really pressing myself to work on recently, so your timely post was rather inspiring. You did great!! And that looks and sounds sooo yummy!

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    1. thank you! I hope you are able to eat more and cook more really soon. I know--I know--how hard it is.

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  5. Awesome accomplishment Tina. I cook all the time - I love cooking, especially baking cookies, cakes, pies, and breads. So cleaning up after is what I dislike. I will clean up a spill as I go, otherwise I just let the flour fly cause I know I will clean it all up afterwards anyway so I may as well enjoy the process. I went a couple years where we ate out all the time because cleaning the kitchen was too overwhelming for me, and I missed it all because it really is a love of mine. It got easier for me and I have let go of alot of the kitchen compulsions but I still wipe off the stove top and all the counter tops. That would be normal right? (I used to do the outside of the cupboards too, every time I cooked..but i finally decided that was unnecessarily and stopped.) Sometimes I cook and my husband will clean up the kitchen to help. I do a pasta recipe like the one you did but mine is rotini, cherry tomatoes (cut in half), mozzarella (cubed) and fresh asparagus cut into chunks - that has been cooked slightly - 3 minutes in the microwave is what I do-so it is firm but not mushy. A little virgin olive oil and splash of red balsamic vinegar for dressing and chill. It is such a light and tasty salad for summer. It's my signature dish for church suppers.

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    1. Thank you, Krystal! Using asparagus sounds delicious--my husband loves it. I will have to try that. I've also included cheese in mine, and sometimes green peas, still a bit crunchy.

      I like that you "let the flour fly"!

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    2. Oh, yes...green peas are just the best in a pasta salad. Do you like fruit salad? I make an ambrosia that I love and you can pretty much add any fruit you want. I use a can of drained pineapple chunks, 2 cans mandarin oranges (drained), a few marshino cherries (mostly for the added color) and lots of miniature marshmallows (about half a bag) and then add whatever other fruit that won't discolor like sliced strawberries. Mix it all up with a 8 oz. container of sour cream - not cool whip. I add a half bag of shredded coconut if it's for me but leave it out if for my kids cause they hate coconut. The important part is that the sour cream is yukky at first so you have to let it chill overnight..the marshmellows suck up alot of the sour cream and it gets real fluffy, like you used whip cream.

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    3. That sounds yummy, Krystal. I love fruit!

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  6. I'm so proud of you! What a big success. And it looks delicious too. We love pasta salads this time of year.

    You definitely wouldn't want to come to my house - I clean everyday but I definitely don't do little details like you so things can get messy fast!

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    1. Lisa, Thank you! So many good things go with pasta.

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  7. Oh WOW - TOTALLY AWESOME!! Really, really great job. I know how brutal that was, but I also know the first time is always the worst. I am so proud of you for pushing through that. Look what you've accomplished now! I'm sure your hubby was very proud of you too. How inspiring to me. My next blog may actually be about cooking (you gave me the idea!). Keep pushing forward - you're getting there one exposure at a time!

    Oh, the salad looked really good too. I think I'll stop by for lunch today! : )

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    1. Stop by any time, Sunny! :-)

      Thanks for the encouragement, and I'll look forward to your post!

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  8. What a beautiful salad! And HUGE congratulations on journeying steadily through that massive hurdle. I love it! And while my kitchen compulsions are not as severe, I do understand the anxiety over cleaning - sometimes I am discouraged from making a recipe because I think how messy everything will get.
    This is one of my favorite pasta recipes, what we're having for dinner tonight, in fact! So fresh.
    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/pasta-primavera-recipe/index.html

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    1. thank you for your kind words! And thanks for the link, too--I'll probably be collecting simple ones.

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  9. Julia Cameron writes about "progress, not perfection." I love how you are so aware of where you've changed -- so many people have trouble noticing their growth, large or small. What a beautiful meal you created -- a meal of recovery and courage!

    I'm not much into clean-up, I'm afraid. I am fanatic about getting dishes into the dishwasher, but that's about it. I'm overdue for giving the kitchen a good cleaning, darn it!

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    1. Thank you, Nadine--what a beautiful comment!

      I like to get the dishes into the dishwasher, too. But my husband says I basically wash them before they even go in. LOL

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  10. How wonderful to read you managed to make this salad! Very encouraging. You must be so proud!
    I love to cook, but don't like doing the dishes and cleaning afterwards. We don't have a dishwasher, so it all goes by hand. I haven't got any contamination or cleaning rituals though, so there's no problem in that area.

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    1. Klaaske, Thank you! I'm glad you like to cook--it seems to make life easier if you do. I don't guess many people actually enjoy the cleaning up of the mess though.

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  11. Great job! I think it's possible that upon setting foot in my kitchen you might keel over in a dead faint. I'm such a slob, despite my contamination issues. If it weren't so embarrassing I'd post a photo.

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    1. Thanks, Ann! Oh, no, I wouldn't faint, because I know what my own kitchen looks like sometimes. I just put up photos of PART of the room, not the whole thing.

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  12. You did a really great job Tina! And I love all the colors of that pasta. You could not have chosen a better dish. :-) Thank you for sharing your experience.

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    1. Thank you! I like the colors, too--makes it look tastier, I think.

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  13. I'm glad it tasted good!

    Hey, that's my tea kettle!

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    1. Elizabeth, I hope you don't mind me borrowing your tea kettle! :-)

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  14. WAY TO GO, TINA!!! I hope you are proud of the progress you are making. Your courage is palpable.

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