2020 Grateful 40: One chicken and a bucket of yellow paint

When yet another friend posted/wrote something about having to cook now that they’re in isolation, I realised that many people don’t cook at all or cook very little. But now that eating out is but a vague memory in the distant past and takeouts have lost some of their appeal, this is the perfect time to start. Himself and meself have dropped comfortably into the traditional ways of him ploughing the field, cutting the grass, strimming the hedges, and me cooking, cleaning, and redecorating. He has more work-work than I do right now, so I get to do the cooking, and I’m enjoying it.

There’s something about looking at the cupboard and seeing what’s on hand and then finding a recipe that will work with what I have. With the shopping reduced to weekly runs, I’ve noticed that I’m being more careful than usual with portions. It’d be way too easy for us to eat our way out of this crisis.

I scored a hattrick with a chicken last week. Three days, three dinners, one whole chicken.

Day 1. Roasted chicken seasoned with grated orange, sea salt, and cinnamon and stuffed with a simple onion and sage stuffing served with mascarpone peas and sweet potato oven-baked fries.

Day 2. Mexican bean strew with shredded chicken and lime served with cornbread (himself makes a great cornbread and as I’m off cakes, sweets, and biscuits for Lent, this is as close as I get to sugar). I didn’t have black beans so I used red beans – and if you do, drain them first. Don’t use the liquid they come in as it’s very gloopy.

Day 3. Chicken fajitas – well, that was the plan, but I’d run out of tortillas and only had Italian flatbreads. But we adapted.

Cooking is keeping me sane. I like the thought that goes into it, the planning, the execution. I like the ritual. The routine. And it means that I’m doing something.

Motivation has been in very short supply. Now that I have all the time to do what I want to do, I don’t want to do much.

I did paint a feature wall in his office. I happened to be in Tesco looking for the black beans I couldn’t find for my Mexican strew when I noticed a 5L bucket of an ochre-coloured paint and thought, why not! It took two coats so I got my upper body workout (in real life it’s much deeper than in the photo). And, of course, the white walls had to be done, too. It was impossible to get clean edges as the walls in the old house are far from straight. It looks good straight on but less than perfect if viewed at an angle. I’m learning to live with imperfection though. We put back the furniture yesterday morning and rehung the pictures. And the strangest thing has happened.

Every time I pass through and see it, I smile. It’s involuntary. In fact, I’ve tried not smiling but that takes effort. My conclusion: yellow paint is happy paint. Or is it? I had to check.

While yellow is associated with energy and good things, it’s also seen as a source of frustration and anger:

Yellow can also create feelings of frustration and anger. While it is considered a cheerful color, people are more likely to lose their tempers in yellow rooms and babies tend to cry more in yellow rooms.

But it seems it very much depends on the person. And we’ve no babies. But I will be keeping an eye on how often he shouts at the computer. For now, it’s making me happy. And seeing me happy has made himself happy. And for that I’m grateful.







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