Burnout:Kitchen and Cooking

Credits: me.me
Just out of the kitchen, I head straight for my computer. I have to put this down NOW! Considering, it is already half an hour past my children’s lunchtime (I ate long ago- some leftovers from yesterday; couldn’t wait for the right mood that facilitates cooking for I have never been good at controlling hunger), this had better be something important!! Well, it is! I have reached a stage of burnout as far as cooking is concerned! That is no trivial matter.

Credits: news.com.au
For all of you out there who know how particular I am about my kids’ routines (even before they knew what that meant), you would be shocked at such a deviation from norm. I am guilty to inform you that this has been happening a little too often in the last few months, maybe more, and I worry, for this phase doesn’t seem to pass. I haven’t baked in nearly three weeks and that is blasphemy!!! My kids are eating chocolate every afternoon as dessert as I don’t have the will to cook. I get looks of different varieties showing the expressions of “not again” or plain shock from my kids. My daughter is a lot more vocal and due to reasons of pure embarrassment I refrain from sharing her comments!!

Credits: tastyquery.com
To put you at ease, I did take a break to hand them their plates loaded with chicken mince Biryani, which I immodestly have to admit turned out well despite my disinterest in the job at hand and despite the fact that I don’t get to eat it!

As a child I couldn’t wait to grow up and be Mom and be the ultimate controller of that heavenly kitchen and larder! What I wouldn’t give in return for the control over that picnic basket or the helpings of fruit and cream or chocolate cake! I was probably the select few who continued to play with dolls (‘house-house’ was what we called it) till I was in grade eight! I could never understand why my mother looked irritable at the idea of a picnic when the three of us (my father, brother and I) were dying to go. She surely is a spoil sport, was a thought that often crossed my mind. How God makes you eat your words-spoken or thought!!

Credits: facebook.com
I get it now! She never smiled because picnic for her meant endless cooking. Breakfast, mid day snack, lunch, snacks with tea and after getting back home tired, cooking a hot elaborate dinner while looking into a million of other little and not so little things. There was no ordering in, back then.

When I got married and we moved into our first home (sounds romantic but was a rather dingy looking dilapidated house and we hardly stayed in it  together), I couldn’t wait to set up the kitchen even though all I knew to cook was tea, eggs and Maggi. I had recipes for everything-written down in a note book by my mother with a funny comment at the end of each or somewhere in between. They were a great source of comfort to me as we couldn’t speak as often as we do now- no mobile phones, remember! And yet, all I made in the first few months were rice and dal(lentils) and on rare occasions when I would make potatoes, my husband would have moist eyes for the effort his wife was putting in, clad in overalls with an apron around it, since we had to get back for afternoon work! Today, I can cook a feast but no such sentiments are seen- probably dry eyes, I comfort myself!!

Credits: pinterest.com
Cut a long story short, I was enthusiastic, even though my skills were limited. After my son turned a year and a half, I quit work and stayed home taking care of my handsome little prince- who hated food. It was quite an ordeal to feed him. He was always at the lower edge of the shaded area of the growth chart and I felt guilty standing like a mountain beside him! We still ate out often but my cooking improved little by little. My concentration was always on rich and sinful food especially desserts.

Credits: pinterest.com
Once my daughter was born, things began to change rapidly. She was a happy child with a healthy appetite, having taken after her mother! As she started growing, my interest in cooking knew no limits. Even today all the new dishes I try and all the recipes we check out on YouTube is because of her. It is such a pleasure to cook for anyone who loves to eat. She knows where I go wrong; lavishes praise when she relishes something; encourages when things look doubtful but are tasty and is frank when things go bad “don’t make that ever again”. Of course, when I count on her the most, especially in public, she honestly compliments me with “I loved that crispy chicken Mama made; my tooth fell off with that, we weren’t able to take it out before”! The two men in the family are-the less said the better. The son likes anything I cook preferably that which is non-vegetarian or has chocolate (as long as you don’t quiz him about what he is eating, for he has no clue) while my husband will take a deep breath and comment on it, instantly giving away his “in depth” knowledge of food and cooking!! Having said that I must mention, he makes tea to perfection (taught by me and patient unlimited practice given by me over 20 years!). 

Credits: pinterest.com

So how did I reach burnout? When anything becomes compulsory, I lose interest in it. I never liked school even though I was teacher’s pet because I had to do it and it was strict regimen however I blossomed in college. I have just bunked two classes. I enjoyed them because no one breathed down my neck. That independence is so important to want to do something! I do not like rules that bind me so I ended up choosing a life in uniform that has nothing but rules that I had to abide by!!!! I was never the kind that broke rules but my interest reduces almost instantly when I hear the word compulsory!! So when I got married, I was dying to cook, all those “nesting” female tendencies at work but once this became an inescapable situation, I don’t enjoy it anymore. I still love to try something new but after doing the usual meal, I am in such a foul mood that there isn’t scope for more. This has also got to do with the fact that the back hurts blah blah blah… 

Credits: facebook.com
I must admit that in India, we are spoilt rotten with a domestic help who chops and cleans for us so cooking in effect is a one hour job at most and I am a quick worker but everything about it gets to me starting from deciding the menu, frying the same onion, tomato, ginger garlic…it is mundane work just as bad as dusting, cleaning, washing, ironing etc (which I don’t do either except the dusting when it gets unbearable).

My husband asked me what I’d like to do. Would I like to work outside? Hire a cook? Learn a new skill. My reply won’t get me sympathy votes for sure but I said, “I’d like a cook who cooks the way I want her to, is punctual and is quick to exit. I don’t want a job for I cannot work under anyone anymore. I just want to sit pretty, play candy crush, write when my mind works, while away my time on social media and then crib about everything when my tired husband gets back home and get a sympathetic, understanding smile in return”. He was shocked and then he let out a laugh, a bit doubtfully at first and as he was about to speak I quickly added, “and no lectures”!!

 With so many interruptions since I began this blog, post lunch hour, I have finally finished an hour before dinner and I will hopefully post it and head straight to the kitchen (again!!) but a wee bit pacified that I have shared my thought online and others like me need not feel bad or guilty or alone- I am there with you!!
Credits: brainyquote.org



  1. I am at peace now 'cause you are there giving words to my thoughts.

  2. Sreevidya Rajan23 March 2018 at 08:05

    My feelings in words!

  3. May be one day, I have to try your sinful homemade cakes.

  4. Learn the basic guide and tips to help change your state, prevent burnout, and keep stress to a minimum. PaulDechantmd.com

    1. Thank you Ciaran Maguire...I did check it out and though not fully applicable to my cause, I did find bits that benefit :)


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