Right as I was finding myself back in the swing of things in terms of writing regularly for this blog, our septic system failed us a couple of weeks before Christmas. Fortunately we never had poo backing up into our toilets or anything disgusting or unsanitary, but the system is broken and needs to be replaced nonetheless.
What we were hoping would be a few weeks interruption to our lives has turned into at least a few months, if not a sizable chunk of days described as being a quarter or so of the year, though hopefully not much more than that (fingers crossed).
Cooking for a family of four has proved challenging throughout, trying to minimize the amount of dishes we use so that we limit our water usage. Gone for now are the days of loading up and running the dishwasher, doing laundry, taking long showers, giving the kids baths every other night.
Inspiration for what we eat often comes in the form of realizing a recipe only requires one dish (arroz con pollo, chicken pelau, Thai curry, chicken tortilla soup) or that the dishes can be spread out over a period of days (ramen, enchiladas de chile ajo).
Cost is also a factor, as replacing a septic system is by no means cheap. Hence this week we’re having enchiladas after ramen, because in making the ramen broth you’re left with a whole, cooked chicken, perfect for shredding and making into enchiladas (or curry chicken salad for lunch).
Before this I wasn’t very wasteful as a cook, but now I make sure to find a use for everything. And I’ve found various cuisines have proven to be easier, cheaper, more versatile and more flavorful than the traditional comfort food/one pot meals of western European/American white folk. As a result I’ve found myself spending considerably more time shopping in various ethnic markets. What has been a giant pain in the ass has also proved to be educational in terms of cooking and ingredients. It’s also been delicious for all of us, and has expanded our kids taste buds. I guess there’s an upside to everything.