Home Cooking Challenge: the results are in!

By on May 9th

Making pancakes

Photo from the last time I made something in my kitchen: Christmas morning 2011, using a grill spatula to flip pancakes, in my Star Wars apron

It's been three nights since the Home Cooking Challenge came to an end. WHEW what a freaking week! Between making food, eating food, writing about said food, cleaning up after food, AND working for The Empire, I really only had time to sleep and then start it all over again. I don't think I've EVER been that busy… OR WELL FED!

I have to say that I actually miss having someone tell me what to make for every meal, especially at dinner time (my favorite time of all the times).

Well, not the first night. The first night I broke out my large frozen Trader Joe's pizza and ate the whole thing and revelled in every bite. But I definitely got sad the next night. I even brought my laptop into the kitchen with me, as if just doing that would make a Cat recipe appear. But nope, it just sat there while I re-heated my risotto and thought of all the things I could try to make with my fridge full of leftovers and never-used ingredients.

I do know that a lot of you got inspired and sent in "Megan-simple" recipes. And I hope to try them all with you every now and then! But in the meantime, let me answer your questions:

Did I fail you as a mother in the cooking department?

I'd say it was well in to Day 2, when it had become apparent to pretty much EVERYONE that I was a WAY worse cook than most imagined, that I got this comment from my mom on my blog. I totally reassured her that she totally didn't fail me as I had absolutely ZERO interest in making food. For the record, my mom's a great cook, she can whip up gourmet meals from a practically empty fridge. And she would, from time to time, try and show me how to make something-or-other. I'd always brush it off, because — what? — like I was REALLY going to make that at home? Hint: I was not.

No, mom, you did not "fail me," I just never really cared to learn… until my boss forced me to for entertainment value.

Do you feel better/more energised from eating better this week?

Yes! Part of the reason Ariel thought up this challenge was because I mentioned how I feel the change in my body when I eat better. (Which, until recently, was when I did things like go on vacation, stay with family or friends, or force the Empire staff to make all my meals.)

This week was no different: aside from being BEYOND tired, my innards felt amazing. I also noticed something strange. I was actually getting full. I'm well known for eating more than most of the men in my family. You all know now that I eat large frozen pizzas like they're appetizers. But sometimes I was feeling too full to eat all three meals! That was weird for me, until a reader pointed out that "if Megan isn't used to eating good quality food, she's probably feeling pretty full most of the time about now, because quality food KEEPS you full."

I've noticed that now that I'm back to eating pre-packaged foods and toast, my "Girl Scout Cookie binge" is coming back on the menu at snack time.

Do you think you will keep this up?

You know, a LOT of people were getting upset with Cat for giving me such hard recipes. And while I love that I had a lot people defending me (as I clearly am a baby bird) I actually think it was a really good thing. The trial by fire, as it were, had the effect of stripping down a lot of the fears I have of cooking. The fear of not knowing what to do, the fear of not doing it right, the fear of completely messing up the meal — all that just HAD to be swept away as I was forced to go forth and cook. I mean, if I can face my fears three times a day every day for a week, I can ultimately feel more confident to do a few meals a few times a week.

Plus, it made for some really funny videos. ;)

In the end, I think that's where I stand right now. I'm simply not the type to make yummy, good-for-you meals every day — I just don't have that in me. But I do now feel a bit more confident to maybe buy some of the same ingredients every week and attempt a couple dinners, or make those delicious breakfast tacos every now and then.

Which means that I'll be consuming a few less pizzas and frozen meals a week. And that, my friends, is progress for people-like-Megan.

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About Megan Finley

Megan Finley is the Associate Publisher for the Offbeat Empire. When she's not slaving away for the Empire, she's sharing her dork side on her own blog, Twitter @meganfinley, and Instagram @meggyfin.