Monday, March 4, 2013



I think planning is important. That's this week's premise, that planning can save money. Which it does- my once-a-week outing to the market means fewer opportunities for impulse or hunger buys. When we run out of milk, I can tell the kids I'll buy more on Shopping Day, and they know they do not actually die from doing without milk for a couple of days. (Swapping the order of the meals isn't a big deal to me- I expect that.)

It's important to recognize that any plan is just a rough outline based on an imagining of the future. Should the future be other than as imagined, (and it usually is), it's good to adjust. This is one of the reasons Rebecca Currie of Less Is Enough prefers to shop for food  every few days- she doesn't know what she'll "feel like" eating several days from now, so it's best to not buy what might be wasted.

Me, I hate hate HATE the question "What are we having for dinner?" mostly because the question REALLY is "What are you cooking for us to eat for dinner?" and I? I don't like cooking, am not that interested in food and many days could care less whether I eat dinner (or any meal) at all. For me, cooking is an unpleasant chore I do because I love my family. Like scrubbing the toilet. Anything I can do to make that chore less irritating is going to make me feel better about the whole thing, especially since I'm inclined to fix a meal for the kids and eat a bowl of instant grits or oatmeal for myself. Most people don't feel this way about food, I know.

If I could eat only Romaine lettuce, salmon, artichokes, avocado, tea, eggs, cheeses, citrus fruits, garlic-cheese grits with maybe some crumbled bacon and the occasional slice of 12 grain bread, I'd be quite pleased. Unfortunately, the job description of Mom doesn't permit such self-indulgence, and I frequently am faced with cooking things I don't like, don't want or flat out can't eat because of nightshade allergies.

When it's 5:30 and I'm writing or knitting or considering a nap and someone says to me, "What are we having for dinner?" what I hear is "I am hungry and you need to go into the kitchen to fix that for me." I am already irritated the moment the question is out of my loved one's mouth. Not knowing what I have or how I'll put it together adds stress to irritation.  The meal plan means I already know that I've planned for dinner, I've shopped for it, and have all the required ingredients.  (People who wrinkle noses at me and say, "But we wanted hamburgers/sushi/anything but what you just said" do so with full knowledge that they are putting themselves in mortal danger.) People who want certain things to eat ought to take an interest in the weekly meal plan, offer input, suggestions and requests. Hell, they could even (gasp) volunteer to cook.

Change of plans: Pugsley said the school is providing pizza for the cast and crew of tonight's show, so I don't need to feed him dinner. Sometimes there is an extra person at suppertime, or one fewer, if someone was invited to a friend's house.... last night, Wednesday stayed with her friend and Gomez didn't make it home at all, so only Pugsley and I ate meatloaf and veggies, so there's plenty for a whole other meal.. (I forgot to serve the biscuits that were left from Saturday night's dinner). Wednesday's vegetarian girlfriend will be coming over mid-week, so we'll have veggie mac casserole on that day. See?  I'm rearranging the week's menu again, which may impact next week's plan.

New Revised Meal Plan:
Monday: CORN
Tuesday: Meatloaf, noodles & veggies
Wednesday: Veggie mac casserole
Thursday: Beef and veggie soup
Friday:... oh. Hey. Now I'm planning next week.

Oops. I usually wait until after Clean Out the Refrigerator Night to do that. Which is what I'll do.

Wandering into the kitchen while I'm cooking and asking "What are you making?" or (better) "What is this deliciousness wafting in my nose?" is completely acceptable and does not incite rage. Go figure.

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