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Monday, May 21, 2012

What’s for Dinner?


“Sometimes when I looked back at the days of being a wife and mother, one of the things that most amazed me was that every day I was the one who made the decision as to what three other people would eat.”
- from Without Reservations by Steinbach

The worst part of this “feeding the family” gig is...
...thinking up what to fix night after night. I don’t mind the cooking. I don’t mind the clean-up. I do mind the think-up.

A friend of mine asks her family to “order” the meals she’ll fix each week. I love the idea, but I know what I’d get from one member of my tribe: Monday: pizza. Tuesday: pizza. Wednesday: pizza . . .
I hope my friends will still want to be after they find out I have menu rotations: one for spring/summer, one for fall/winter. All our favorite recipes (read: what my kids will eat) are on the lists. In summer the categories are “salads, pasta, wraps, chicken, sandwiches, and Big Food.” Winter categories are “crock pot, vegetarian, chicken and ground meat.”

Ideally, on Friday, which means Sunday afternoon, I make a plan for the week and shop on Monday.
Each day I consult the plan – in much the same way the evil queen consulted the mirror – for the answer to the all-important question: Schedule, Schedule, on the fridge: What the heck’s for supper?!

 
Contributed by Elaine Jack, Assistant Editor, Today's Family magazine.
Photo Source: National Nursing Review

8 comments:

  1. Great post on a reality faced by at least one unlucky person in every family. In our house, my wife usually makes the menu - followed each night by children who are equally unimpressed and hard to please. I for one, plan on being a little more appreciative for the "thinker upper."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One of my favorite Baby Blues cartoons:
      When You Say: Dinnertime!
      They Must Hear: You may begin critiquing my cooking and meal-planning skills!
      Kid: What smells?
      Kid: This better not be chicken again!
      Kid: Please let it be macaroni and cheese!
      Kid: How much to I have to eat?

      -Elaine

      Delete
  2. I have tried it many different ways: deciding day by day, a week in advance, a couple of days at a time....and can't really say that any approach works better for me than another. Their apetites change, their "favorites" change, even changes in the weather can dictate what will be a hit and what won't. For me, the worst part is deciding what everyone will eat if I am not at all hungry at the time! Bottom line is, she who does the shopping and the cooking rules the dinner table and if they are smart, they will hush up and eat!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Reminds me of that old joke about the guys in the lumberjack camp who take turns cooking, a turn lasting until someone complains. So this long-suffering cook picks up something from the trail and puts it in a pie crust and figures that'll fix 'em. And punchline is some body says, "This is moose-dropping pie! Good, though!"

      -Elaine

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  3. Advice to soon-to-be-husbands: When she asks "What do you want for dinner?", she is really saying "Please decide what to make for dinner." So the correct answer is never "Whatever you want, dear." The correct answer is almost any meal that you haven't eatten in the past week. If you can frame your response with "I really liked the (whatever) that you made.", even better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are spot-on, Bob! Ever thought of going into coaching new husbands?

      -Elaine

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  4. When I lived in Missouri, we lived far away from Trader Joe's, Whole foods, etc, so I drove to the "big city" to stock up about every 6 weeks, also purchasing locally raised grass-fed beef and organic chicken in bulk. So the freezer was stuffed. I made a list of all the different dishes we could prepare from what was on hand, and I would mark off the list as we used something. It really was a big help in keeping the menu varied and not having to "think" too much. But alas, now that shopping is so "convenient" we have fallen back into "what are we having tonight?" and gotten into a bit of a rut.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm told that CSA (community supported agriculture) is an adventure in creativity - you pick up your bag every week and then figure out what to make with the vegetable riches. Somehow that sounds like a burden to me: paralyzed by the possibilities. And pressure to make something, anything, out of rutabegas!?

      -Elaine

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