Those of you who have attended my presentations at CHADD and ADDA over the years, or who have read my book, are probably familiar with the fact that I hate to cook.
Let me tell you why.
Cooking encompasses many of the skills that I and lots of people with ADHD struggle with and much of it falls under the umbrella of executive functioning. Think about it:
To cook, you have to plan. You have to sequence your activities in just the right way. You have to remember and you have to multi-task.
Today, I decided that I was going to make a noodle kugel for tomorrow’s Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. Let me tell you why, 5 hours later, I am in such a nasty mood.
It started with the scavenger hunt called, “looking for the kugel recipe.” I’ve owned this scrap of paper with my scrawled handwriting for over 30 years and have kept it in the same recipe box for just as long. For some reason, it has disappeared. I searched high and low to no avail, but made mental notes of various cabinets and drawers that need to be de-cluttered and cleaned. Finally, I went to the internet but still couldn’t find the familiar recipe – the EASY dump-everything-in-one-pot one. I called my sister in law. I’d given the recipe to her many years ago but she, too lost it. Luckily, she gave me another one that was similar enough for my taste.
Next step- a chore I hate more than I can describe: grocery shopping. All the distractions, the decision making, the stimuli- make my head spin. I can literally stare at 5 shelves of canned tomatoes for 15 minutes before deciding which one to buy.
After over an hour of getting the ingredients plus everything else that grabbed my attention, I got home and put everything away. I then realized that I hadn’t bought anything that would work for the evening dinner. But that’s for another blog…
Being the night owl that I am, I began the experiment, er…I mean the cooking…at 9pm, when I have the most energy and patience. Neither lasted very long.
I couldn’t find my trusty glass baking dish or even a spatula. Still, I moved forward, starting with boiling noodles. That went well enough with just one minor burn. On my hand, that is. Then on to melting butter. Done. Then the big dump- emptying cartons of cottage cheese, sour cream, eggs, vanilla, milk, butter and…oh…did I forget anything else… into a big bowl. Now that seems easy enough for most, wouldn’t you think? But for me, it was a nightmare- all the steps that go into this, as easy as this recipe is, was more than I could handle. My head began to throb.
I finally got everything pulled together then realize I heated up the wrong oven. No worries. It would still work- just had to take out the broiler pan that is now probably ruined and instead, insert the raw kugel.
Next step- the…clean-up. This is when I wish I were a Buddhist because instead of living in the moment, I’m thinking of alllllll the things I’d much rather be doing than scrubbing pots, bowls, dishes and measuring utensils. Even watching a re-run of Barney is beginning to sound appealing.
In another half hour, I’ll have a sense of whether this is a hit or a miss. But either way, I’ll be glad that I won’t have to deal with this for another year. Still, there’s tomorrow and the roast chicken experiment, then getting the house in gear, setting the table, and wait…running back to the store for things I’d forgotten, I’m sure.
Next year: take out. Just like I suggest to my readers, clients, conference attendees…
What WAS I thinking??