OK, I Lied: It Sucks To Cook After Work

Remember that time that I was a full-time food blogger? And I had the nerve to say things like: “You can cook after work! It’s easy.” Well I’d like to take that person, pin him against a wall, and say: “You have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Because now that I have a full-time job, I come home happily exhausted (I love where I’m working) and the idea of making a big mess in the kitchen at 6:45 PM (when I get home) and then cleaning it up holds very little appeal to me on a weekday night. So the picture you see above is my saving grace: Dune Falafel is on the other side of Atwater Village from me, so my new favorite thing is to come home, give the cat some treats, and to go for a 20 minute walk along GlenFeliz Blvd to procure the hummus plate you see above (it really is the most dazzling hummus plate I’ve ever experienced). And then, every so often, I do manage to make a dinner.

As a person who defaulted to pasta even before I had a real job, now pasta is pretty much the only thing I want to make when I make anything at all. My first week of work, back in June, involved this penne with raw tomatoes, garlic, basil, and Parmesan—a good summery dish:

Then there was this pasta I made with broccoli, zucchini, and lots of olive oil and garlic and a little lemon juice at the end:

One Sunday, I decided to make some food for the week ahead. So here’s an improvised coleslaw that held up pretty well (with cabbage, carrots, radishes, etc):

Oh and some braised chicken thighs with Peppadews:

Don’t get too impressed, though: these mostly happened my first few weeks of working. Now I’m more likely to bake something to bring into work than I am to make myself dinner. For example, these Smitten Kitchen Oatmeal Raisin Cookies which my co-workers gobbled up pretty quickly.

I also made a killer coffee cake, but maybe I’ll write about that in another post (yes, I’ll try to keep writing posts. Stop yelling at me!)

Things may change dramatically when Craig gets home from shooting his next movie at the start of August. After all, it’s very different to cook just for yourself after work than it is to cook for someone who really appreciates it (and who’ll be forced to do the dishes).

But I owe a huge apology to all of you hard-working people who I’ve shamed over the years for not lifting a spoon after 9 hours of sitting behind a computer. Trust me, now: I get it.

You may also like

36 comments

  1. It will get easier when your hubby is home. Ha ha, that is a lie too. I feel good if I cook about half the time and bring a homemade lunch to work 4 out of 5 days (I also pack one for my husband). Then, the going out is a sanity saver. I wish I could walk to a hummus plate like that one!

  2. This is precisely why I shifted my work hours to 7-4 (which I realize you can’t do). Getting home at 6:30, cooking, eating, and cleaning up meant that I was basically having one hour of evening in which to relax before going to bed. It made me resentful of the others in the house who got to relax from the moment they got home. I realized I’d rather start my day earlier and have that extra time at the end of it so I could enjoy cooking.

  3. Speaking as another day-job-haver-and-wants-to-cook-er:

    What has saved my ass is pre-making some things on the weekends – a couple big batches of soup or big hearty salads (grain or bean salads) – and stashing them in the fridge. Then, on nights you feel like cooking after work, one of those salads can be the side dish to some kind of simple roast meat thing (I do a lot of roast chicken legs as my meat course), and on nights you simply just can’t, then dinner becomes “pick two bowls from the fridge and scoop something out of them, done”.

    Those soups and salads also make for good brown-bag lunch options too.

  4. I work full time and love to cook. I had to get super efficient after we had a child. My tricks are:
    Plan meals in advance: decision fatigue sets in real big after a long day at work; we tend to have the same things on the same days (i.e. Tuesday = eggs + veggie) but with room for creativity/variety (diff veggie every week depending on what’s good)
    Shop in advance– who has time or the desire to shop on the way home? not me!
    Make as much as possible on Sunday (veggie prep, I soft boil (sous vide) eggs that reheat in warm water, make condiments i.e mayo; and a big batch of dessert);
    Make one-pan meals that pop in the oven (our go-to are spatch cocked chicken OR sausages over greens, all salted and with a scoop of bacon fat and cube of frozen chicken stock–bake at 350-450 (depending…) while I spend time with the kid and hubby.
    Hope this helps!

  5. I work full time and love to cook. I had to get super efficient after we had a child. My tricks are:
    Plan meals in advance: decision fatigue sets in real big after a long day at work; we tend to have the same things on the same days (i.e. Tuesday = eggs + veggie) but with room for creativity/variety (diff veggie every week depending on what’s good)
    Shop in advance– who has time or the desire to shop on the way home? not me!
    Make as much as possible on Sunday (veggie prep, I soft boil (sous vide) eggs that reheat in warm water, make condiments i.e mayo; and a big batch of dessert);
    Make one-pan meals that pop in the oven (our go-to are spatch cocked chicken OR sausages over greens, all salted and with a scoop of bacon fat and cube of frozen chicken stock–bake at 350-450 (depending…) while I spend time with the kid and hubby.
    Hope this helps!

  6. You are not the only one. Jamie Oliver did a bit where you can cook a dinner as cheaply and as quickly as buying a frozen dinner. Like many things Oliver does (who I -used- to respect immensely from his Naked Chef shows) – it completely ignores reality. You have to deal with planning, shopping, and dealing with dirty dishes. And after a 10 hour day (which doesn’t include working out and occasionally talking to your partner ) thats simply not feasible.

  7. I cook at home every night for me and my husband. You just have to adapt to a weeknight style. Certain cooking methods are faster: pressure cooking, broiling, skillet dinners, some baking. Some foods cook faster: fish, chicken pieces, veal scallops, pork chops, beef steaks. One pot/pan meals are great, minimal cleanup. I highly recommend these books:

    1) One Pan, Two Plates by Carla Snyder
    2) Home Bistro by Betty Fussell
    3) Martha Stewart One Pot Meals
    4) Sheet Pan Suppers by Molly Gilbert
    5) The Pressured Cook by Lorna Sass
    6) 60 Minute Gourmet (2 volumes) by Pierre Franey (old-fashioned, but full of great ideas and recipes)

    Hope that helps.

  8. Second the suggestion for pre-making stuff on the weekend and NSU’s suggestion below for planning ahead. I spend a few minutes Sat morning thinking about what I feel like making and what ingredients need using up. From there I shop and cook a biggish meal on Sat or Sun that will take me through Wed or Thurs with leftovers and maybe some lunches, and then make something simpler toward the end of the week that will use up perishables and get me through the next couple nights, like pesto up leftover cilantro and parsley and throw over pasta, etc.

  9. I totally get it. When I have to work a long day, it usually means either my husband or I will get take-out. Sometimes, though, I have the energy and forethought to put my slow cooker to work. It’s nice to come home to some stew that just needs some bread alongside or some chicken burritos that just need fixings.

  10. I’m being facetious. I feel your pain. Try and get into the habit of prep-cooking on Sundays. Make a pot of soup or beans, precook some pasta so you can throw that into a quick sauce. And if you just CAN’T cook, don’t feel like a horrible person for getting take-away; you’ve completely turned your life and routine upside down! Someone once told me it takes AT LEAST 6 months to get used to a new job. Be gentle with yourself.

  11. Some days I don’t mind cooking after work but most of the time it’s like “ugh sh*t.I have to cook something I guess.” So far I’m cooking 6 out of 7 nights a week bc we’re trying to eat healthy and save some money.
    Quick meals are my friend. Lots of salads in the summer and big batch soups,chili,and such during the winter.

  12. @changetip:disqus couldn’t agree more. Who has time? Ramen is my best friend lol @mellifluous33:disqus

  13. My husband was away for 3 months last summer, and I had GRAND PLANS of cooking all of the food for myself that he doesn’t like. By the end of it, I was living on scrambled eggs and KIND bars.

  14. Hmmm. I haven’t seen much posted from you lately. Well, I loved your blog, but does this mean I should delete your blog from my home page because you are not posting any longer? I hope not, because, literally, you taught me how to cook. You inspired me to just follow your clearly stated and delicious recipes. Anyway, I can understand that if you sit in a boiler room all day at work thinking of stuff to write that you would not want to do that when you get home. At least I have your wonderful cookbook!!!

  15. He’s apparently not on Facebook or Twitter either. I’m saving the link because of the wonderful recipes. Glad that it went out on a high note with his wedding but I already know how difficult it is to cook when you have a full time job AND a household to manage.

  16. It made me angry of the others in the house who got the chance to unwind from the minute they returned home. I understood I’d rather begin my day prior and have that additional time toward the end of it so I could appreciate cooking.

  17. I was paid $104k last year by doing an online job a­n­d I manage that by w­orking in my own time f­o­r 3+ h daily. I used a money making opportunity I found online and I am so happy that I was able to earn so much extra income. It’s very user friendly and I am just so happy that i found this. This is what i do… STATICTAB.COM/8cx4rgs

  18. I profited 104,000 bucks in 2016 by working on-line from home a­­n­­d I did it by wo­rking part-time f­o­r 3+ hours each day. I’m using a money making opportunity I was introduced by this website i found on-line and I am thrilled that i was able to make such great money. It’s newbie-friendly a­­n­­d I’m so thankful that i learned about it. Here is what i do… FRIENDLY52.COM

  19. I have made 104000 bucks last year by working on-line a­­n­­d I did that by wor­king part-time f­­o­­r 3 or sometimes more h a day. I was following a business opportunity I found online and I am thrilled that i made so much money. It’s very newbie-friendly and I am just so grateful that i discovered it. Here’s what I did… STATICTAB.COM/gptmadp

  20. I’ve made 104,000 thousand dollars in last 12 months by freelancing from home a­n­d I was able to do it by w­o­r­k­i­n­g part time f­­o­­r 3 or sometimes more h a day. I’m using a business opportunity I found online and I am amazed that i earned so much money on the side. It’s really user-friendly a­n­d I am just so thankful that I found out about it. Check out what I did… http://www­.­wzurl­.­me/fq_USw

  21. I have earned 104,000 bucks previous year by working on-line a­n­d I did it by w­orking part-time for few hours /day. I was following a business opportunity I was introduced by this web-site i found online and I am so happy that i earned so much money on the side. It’s user friendly and I am just so happy that i found this. Check out what I do… http://tny­.­im/8yQ

  22. I got paid 104,000 thousand dollars in last twelve months by working from my house a­­n­­d I did it by w­orking part time f­o­r 3 or sometimes more hours every day. I was following a business opportunity I was introduced by this company i found online and I am so excited that i earned so much extra income. It’s newbie friendly and I’m just so happy that i learned about it. This is what i did… http://www.wzurl­.­me/tEXzrw

  23. I got paid $104k in last 12 months by freelancing on-line and I did it by work­ing part time f­­o­­r few h on daily basis. I’m using a business opportunity I found online and I am amazed that I was able to earn such great money. It’s very user friendly a­­n­­d I am just so happy that I found out about this. Here is what i did… http://www.wzurl­.­me/tPSR1w

  24. I have earned 104,000 bucks last year by doing an on-line job at home a­n­d I did it by w­orking part-time for few hrs on daily basis. I’m using a business model I was introduced by this company i found online and I am amazed that I was able to earn so much extra income. It’s very user-friendly and I’m so grateful that i found it. Here is what i do… http://dr­.­tl/670243

  25. I was paid 104000 bucks last 12 months by doing an internet task and consequently I was able to do it by w­orking in my own time f­o­r several hours every day. I used work opportunity I found on the web and also I am excited that I was in a position to make such great money. It’s genuinely newbie-friendly and I am so blessed that I discovered out regarding it. Look out for exactly what I do… http://working92­.­weebly­.­com

  26. I was paid 104000 dollars previous 12 months by doing a web based work moreover I was able to do it by w­orking in my own time f­o­r several hours during the day. I used work opportunity I found out on the web and I am delighted that I was manage to make such decent earnings. It’s seriously newbie-friendly and therefore I’m so grateful that I discovered out about it. Check out what I do… www­.­cat­.­org­.­uk/snip/93439

  27. “You can cook after work! It’s easy.” Well I’d like to take that person, pin him against a wall, and say: “You have no idea what you’re talking about.” It work for me. I really love cooking..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *