I’m not sure what I would do if I didn’t write for a living, but I know that cooking certainly isn’t my calling.
Sure, I’ve got the basics down. If it involves throwing stuff together in a Crock Pot or Instant Pot, closing the lid and hoping for the best, I’m probably OK. Macaroni and cheese? Top Ramen? Anything that involves reheating in the microwave or oven? Great.
Now, a large part of that is born out of necessity. The schedule of your average sports writer — lots of early-ish mornings and late-ish nights — doesn’t make for much culinary opportunity. It’s even tougher when there are roommates involved. We’re friends now, but I’m not sure how long that would last if I woke them up with the clattering of pots and pans after I got home from a late basketball game.
That certainly limits my options. Throw in the fact that it’s somewhat less than advisable to eat a full meal immediately before bedtime, and those options become even fewer.
Thus, I’ve become a connoisseur of simplicity. The late-night grilled cheese sandwich is a frequent companion. Chips and salsa? As long as I’m delicate with the bag and keep the crunching to a reasonable volume. The aforementioned Top Ramen? Not a problem if I don’t accidentally rattle the pots and pans.
The thing is, I actually enjoy cooking from time to time. While I may not be Gordon Ramsay in the kitchen (except for the temper when things go wrong), I can actually hold my own when time permits. Granted, a large part of that involves following all of my mom’s recipes exactly, but who said following directions isn’t an important skill?
It’s not a question of whether I can cook — it’s a question of whether I have time to cook.
Fortunately, things are about to get easier. The winter sports season is always the toughest, with events that begin at 7 p.m. That means a lot of unfortunate dietary decisions. There are probably fast-food joints in Tooele that start preparing my order as soon as they see my car pull up in the parking lot, I’m there so often. I’m not so much in shape as I am a shape — round, at that.
The spring sports season involves earlier game times and more time outdoors. So, the benefits are two-fold: actually being home at a time normal people consider suitable for dinner, and the possibility of being more active. As much as I enjoy the winter sports season — basketball is where I got my start 20 years ago as a high school sophomore — it does make for a borderline unhealthy and mostly sedentary lifestyle.
So, until next November, here’s to less late-night snacking and more regular meals. And for those lazy nights, my old friend macaroni and cheese.
Darren Vaughan is the sports editor for the Transcript Bulletin. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org