Saturday Stories

“Howdy, Kevin here. I’m Jessie’s lucky husband, loyal sous chef, and recent cat lover (shh). When I first moved out of my parents house to a new city and into college dorms, I had no need to cook (other than ramen). When I finally got in an apartment with no school cafeteria, I quickly realized how demanding grocery shopping and cooking were. And I had no concept of meal planning. Jessie and I were dating at the time (and boy did I end up marrying a gem), so I was privilege to a couple decent dinners a week and the rest was up to me. Armed with a deadly repertoire of egg-scrambling, cereal-pouring and sandwich-making, I set out to feed myself and try to stay alive. I didn’t read cooking blogs, I sort of knew what was, and resembled a newborn giraffe stumbling around the kitchen. When I finally got tired of eating the same 3 meals, a perfect storm came along and I’m finally on the tail end enough to share some insights. Hello, Paleo and fad diets.

I’ve always been a little overweight, at times a lot overweight in my younger years, but I made a ‘big health push’ after I’d been cooking on my own for a few months. After a few hours of Internet research I decided that my diet needed a complete overhaul. I bought a few books, subscribed to some email lists and podcasts, tried barefoot running and HIIT (High ‘Impact’ Interval Training), and began spending a boatload on groceries. Let’s summarize the short term results:

  • I learned how to cook with a couple new ingredients
  • My bank account became even smaller than before
  • My knees got pretty banged up
  • I came down with a classic case of food snobbery

Jessie couldn’t stand cooking for me or even grocery shopping, even at Trader Joe’s, a blissful food mecca. I would get all hot and bothered about every meal I ate and even took it upon myself to start judging other people’s meals and offering advice from my own deep well of knowledge. I wasn’t even enjoying food anymore- something I had been very, very good at for a long time. This lasted for over a year.

Now, I’m no excellent cook these days, but I can get around the kitchen with a bit more ease than in my baby giraffe years. Once I emerged from my pharisaical food obsession, I ended up finding a comfortable and affordable rotation of ingredients to get me through the week. Not every meal had to be fantastic, or even the absolute healthiest. It just had to be somewhat enjoyable to make and eat. Then, once a week I would shoot to make ONE really good meal, either lunch or dinner depending on my schedule.
Today, I don’t do a lot of cooking outside of breakfast and helping prepare dinners on occasion and whenever we get to grill. We don’t always eat the absolute healthiest meals, but Jessie does a great job of re-balancing our diet every couple of weeks and we genuinely enjoy all of our meals. I’m grateful for my food journey thus far for the perspective it’s brought.”

-Kevin Van Slyke