Knowing When to Walk Away: I Gave Up Cooking in 2022 and I’m Thrilled

I don’t usually give up. It’s not in my personality and it’s not what I promote. Knowing when to walk away was not my thing.

But I did give up and I’m glad I did. Sometimes a part of getting older and wiser is knowing when to walk away.


Knowing When To Walk Away: I Gave Up Cooking In 2022 And I’m Thrilled

The Early Years Before Knowing When to Walk Away

When growing up, my mother cooked tasty dishes. Her German potato salad made with vinegar and oil was to die for. She had a delicious Hungarian goulash recipe. We ate sauerkraut with a lot of German dishes. And the German pancakes – I can taste them now and my mouth is watering! When it came to cooking, knowing when to walk away was not something she ever needed to be concerned about!

I guess I was a slow learner.

From time to time, I baked – once-a-year birthday cakes, pies, cinnamon rolls. My first baking experiment was popovers, which were wildly successful. (Knowing when to walk away wasn’t necessary regarding my popovers!)

At my school, we took Home Economics, where we learned lots of useful techniques. I passed the cooking part because I was the only one in our group who wasn’t afraid to stand up and give an oral report of our culinary exercise. I hadn’t yet mastered knowing when to walk away. My passing grade certainly wasn’t a result of knowing when to walk away… or my cooking skills!

READ MORE: 20 Useful Recipe Books To Enhance Your In-Home Dining Experience

Adulting and Knowing When to Walk Away

Knowing When To Walk Away: I Gave Up Cooking In 2022 And I’m Thrilled

As a newlywed, eager to impress my Southern hubby who requested a New Orleans favorite of red beans and rice, I was ecstatic! How hard could it be to open a can of red beans and cook a box of Uncle Ben’s rice? I won’t answer that. Suffice it to say, it was not what hubby was expecting! I’m sure he was secretly wishing I was knowing when to walk away from those uninspired attempts at Southern cuisine!

Moving forward, he thought requesting fried fish would be easier for me. Not knowing how to do anything never stopped me! I bought the fresh fish and a box of corn flakes. Rolling the fish in the (uncrushed) corn flakes, it never occurred to me to wonder why the flakes didn’t stay on the fish. Dropping the mess into two inches of cold grease did not help any part of this dinner. It was probably that moment that my highest compliment for my next 40-plus years began when my family would say, “Hmm… this one is edible!” They probably wished I had started knowing when to walk away back in those days.

READ MORE: 15 Realistic Ways To Achieve And Maintain Work-Life Balance

Knowing When to Walk Away and Leave it to the Experts Instead

Knowing When To Walk Away: I Gave Up Cooking In 2022 And I’m Thrilled

Luckily, when our kids were growing up, my mother-in-law (“Meme”) lived with us. I used to introduce her as “my wife” because she cleaned our home, picked up the kids after school, and most importantly, she cooked one delicious meal after another every night.

When we sat down at 6:00 p.m. each night after work, we experienced a 1950s lifestyle – a family of three kids, Meme, hubby, and I sitting around the set table, having conversations over a tasty meal. It was amazing!

Don’t get me wrong. We paid Meme handsomely for her services, and she loved being our “housewife.” It was an ideal great situation for everyone (and required no knowing when to walk away from me).

A Life-Changing Moment in my Journey toward Knowing When to Walk Away

In 1997, Meme was in a terrible car accident and was killed. It was awful. Our daughter was in the car and thankfully, she had no physical injuries. But of course, Meme’s death affected us deeply.

For the next six or seven years, we mourned. And we were also very, very hungry.

Unfortunately, those early years of marriage were not used to cultivate any cooking skills – you know, test out what works and what doesn’t. I should have made cooking mistakes while the kids were young and naïve instead of starting my cooking with three judgmental teenagers. Whenever I cooked, it was definitely not met with great acclaim or even supportive encouragement.

Knowing When To Walk Away: I Gave Up Cooking In 2022 And I’m Thrilled

All of our local fast-food restaurants soon recognized my car and would even call me by my name as I drove through three times a day – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Well, maybe not that often, but it sure seemed like it!

A Stunning Realization: Knowing When to Walk Away

Knowing When To Walk Away: I Gave Up Cooking In 2022 And I’m Thrilled

Our kids are grown now and grandkids visit to experience cooking with Gummi (my given grandmother’s name). We have one failed cookie experiment after another. The grandkids are learning that knowing when to walk away is important through my baking skills as well.

That’s when I had to come to the realization that cooking isn’t my thing.

When I do cook, I try so hard – maybe too hard. I follow limited recipes as I’m celiac by medical diagnosis and vegan by choice. There are a few recipes I used to make, my award-winning lasagna is pretty much out of the question, which is too bad because I would get high fives all around for my lasagna.

So what’s a girl to do? I gave up.

And I gave up reluctantly because I’m not somebody who gives up easily. But sometimes knowing when to walk away will do more for you than staying does.

READ MORE: 15 Things You Should Give Up to Be a Happy Parent

Knowing When to Walk Away Has its Benefits!

Knowing When To Walk Away: I Gave Up Cooking In 2022 And I’m Thrilled

One day, a neighborhood Facebook post from a stranger claimed she was a personal chef, and available!

My first thought when I read personal chef was, “Sounds too rich for my blood.” But desperate, I decided to try her once.

Scared to mention my decision to my ever-hungry hubby and the unbudgeted cost, I hired her anyway. She emailed multiple recipe choices, all within my dietary limitations. Two of the three I selected were my hubby’s favorites – steak and veggies, and stir fry. I gave his preference in hopes of being able to win him over and have him buy into this whole “personal chef” idea and its associated cost. (Didn’t want hubby knowing when to walk away from my personal chef now, did I?)

READ MORE: How To Use Manifestation Techniques In Your Life

Surprisingly, the amount of money spent for her two most productive hours in my kitchen, at $30 an hour, plus the amount of food bought, turned out to be about two-thirds of my weekly food budget! Our food budget included snacks, of course – we were perpetually hungry. Add to our snack/food budget, we ate out way too often.

However, when our personal chef (doesn’t that sound exclusive?) left our home, she casually instructed me that all the meals were in the refrigerator with instructions. All I had to do was to sear hubby’s steaks.

Excuse me? Sear?

I had no idea what it meant to sear anything. Just forty-five YouTube minutes later, despite knowing when to walk away (or at least, wanting to!), I felt more prepared. And sigh… my searing did NOT ruin our personal chef’s amazing work!


So yeah, I gave up and I’m proud of it. I’m going to encourage you to start knowing when to walk away. Stop and think about something that maybe you don’t excel at. Or maybe you don’t like to do. Ask yourself what would happen if you gave up something? What would it cost you? What would you gain? Weigh those options to decide are you ready? Is it your time to begin knowing when to walk away? Is it time to give up?

And yes, our personal chef is returning weekly.

WANT TO READ MORE?
Knowing when to walk away is important, but we learn from our failures, too. Here’s Why You Need To Fail In Business In Order To Succeed sometimes instead of knowing when to walk away.

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