Living with ADHD: Cooking with ADHD

Posted by on Apr 29, 2014 in Living with ADHD | No Comments
Living with ADHD: Cooking with ADHD

Forget graphic arts. Forget web design. I think I may have found my calling in life. I think I need to write a cookbook for people with ADHD … “Cooking with ADHD: Help for the Domestically Challenged.”

I like to cook… sometimes.

I love to bake… sometimes.

There are a couple of recurring problems, however. Most women with ADHD have some serious low self-esteem issues, especially when it comes to domestic things. Our homes are far from spotless, our kids think the dust on the tabletops are a great art medium, our closets are not organized, there are always piles of dirty laundry, and the sink is rarely devoid of dirty dishes. Life-long challenges with these things make us doubt our abilities to perform any domestic tasks.

Cooking is a domestic task.

It doesn’t help when we find really great looking pictures in magazines of wonderfully, tasty looking dishes. “That looks really good! I could do that!” We’re now working with our lack of impulse-control, and we dive in head first.

It’s the Christmas Season, and I start looking through all those magazines with all those photos of really tasty looking dishes. I dog-ear a few of them. Determined to produce something with my own hands this year for friends and family, I find one that doesn’t look too bad. It reads, “prep time: 20 min., bake time: 1 hr.” 20 minutes. How bad can it be?

But that’s another one of those serious problems women with ADHD have. First, it’s Southern Living, and those recipes are not for the weak anyway, and second, “prep time: 20 min.” is great for normal women, but by the time  you add in the ADHD time conversion factor, we’re looking at a good hour-and-a-half here.

Now let’s add to that the way the ADHD brain works. “I’d like to make one of these cakes for six people. I’ll just multiply the recipe by six and do it all at once!” I grab the calculator, multiple all the ingredients by six, and I’m off to the store – with any luck at all, list in hand.

Not being totally familiar with where things like baking soda are in the store, I go up and down each aisle, get distracted frequently, and an hour-and-a-half later, I’m heading home, ready to bake!

First step: drain cherries well and finely chop.

That wouldn’t be so bad if I was only making one cake. That would be two 6-ounce jars. But no, I’m doing six. So I now have a colander full of maraschino cherries that need to be “finely chopped.” An hour later, I’m still “finely chopping” cherries and this 20-minute prep time is seeming like a really cruel joke.

Several hours later, the cherries are all “finely chopped.”

During this two-hour chop-fest, I had time to re-evaluate the whole “do all six at a time” thing, and concluded that the oven would only hold three at a time. So I readjust my measurements and move on.

Next step: beat butter with electric mixer until creamy.

Mind you, there is a separate article in the magazine with this recipe on making pound cakes that includes tips on knowing when the butter is at room temperature – which is, apparently, important. So I’m sticking my finger in the butter to see if it does what it’s supposed to.

Ok, close enough. Let’s beat the butter! This is kind of fun, which isn’t really a good thing, because when someone with ADD is having fun, they don’t like to stop and move on to the next step. Let’s just say, the butter was definitely creamed.

Next, “gradually add sugar.” Did I mention that people with ADD have impulse control issues? Words like “gradual” are difficult to fully grasp. “…beating until light and fluffy.” I’m not sure I could honestly describe what I ended up with as “fluffy.”

Now it starts to get hard. I’m supposed to add eggs one at a time. I have a hand-held mixer. People with ADD should invest in a mixer that sits on a stand so you don’t get out of your groove during times like this. Add egg, mix, stop mixer, add egg, mix, stop mixer… I’m struggling to maintain focus now.

New task! Sift flour, salt, baking soda, and stir in “finely chopped cherries.” That was easy!

Ooooh… here we go again, only now things are really getting complex. I’m supposed to “gradually” add flour mixture to butter/sugar/egg mixture, as well as add the sour cream to the butter/sugar/egg mixture “beginning and ending with flour mixture.”

My brain is about to explode, and I’m remembering why I don’t bake very often, but I do manage to finish it.

“Pour batter into 9×5 inch loaf pan.” I forgot to mention that the store only had 8×4 inch loaf pans. So I figure I’ll just grease up four of them instead of three of them, and all will be well. And this time, it actually is.

“Bake at 325 for 1 hour.” Now we’re talking!!! I can finally quit “baking” and take an hour break!

Prep time for women with ADHD: 3 hrs.

Note to self: Next year go to the bakery.

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