Thursday, February 20, 2014

Premise #8: CORN For Many Reasons

CORN For Many Reasons has nothing to do with actual corn. Well, it could, maybe. Sometimes. If you have leftover corn.

The idea of Clean Out Refrigerator Night is to Use What You've Bought and to Know What You Have. It is also to eliminate accidental science projects. I like to have CORN on the night before Garbage Day. It just makes sense.

This is intrinsically different from Eating Leftovers. I've nothing against that, naturally, but if I let them, the kids will just Eat Leftovers without actually doing CORN. CORN involves pulling All The Things from the fridge and setting them on the counter. Little bits of stuff are judged to be Something or Not Anything. Moldy things go in the trash. Dried out things might go in the trash, or they might go in soup stock, if I'm planning soup stock. They might INSPIRE soup, if there are enough of them.

Tonight is supposed to be CORN (it's Monday) because Garbage Day is Tuesday, which is tomorrow, if memory serves. However, the family believes itself to be Off The Hook because a) they Ate Leftovers yesterday, so they think their weekly CORN has been fulfilled and b) Gomez wants to make Beanie Weenies, using real-for-sure-expensive Bush's Vegetarian Baked Beans and the Nathan's hot dogs he tossed in the cart while we were at Costco. (It seems no one likes MY baked beans- "It's like eating clown," Pugsley said. "They taste funny.") He hasn't purchased them yet, so who knows what will happen. There are enough leftovers that they could all Eat Leftovers again without even making a half-assed pass at CORN.

But anyway, CORN is supposed to also provide a surprise meal. When we were doing the $21/week grocery plan, on Monday nights I would go through, find bits of Something and create a surprise meal of them, and all the little bits and bobs of stuff that weren't going to be Tuesday Surprise were consumed as CORN or thrown away as Not Anything, spoiled or both.

People who simply Eat Leftovers are missing out on two-thirds of the tri-pronged point of CORN.

Another little bonus of CORN (in my opinion) is that it's a meal I don't need to plan or cook.

Once in a VERY long while, there isn't enough in the fridge for CORN, (usually when we've been out at mealtimes more than once during the week, or when Gomez hasn't been home, because when he's home I cook for 8 or 12 or 170, but when he's not home, I've more or less gotten the hang of cooking for 3), so when there's nothing to eat for CORN, we have soup and cheese & crackers. Because Easy! No Thinking! is another of the many reasons for CORN.

Here is my universal sample template of mealplans:

Sunday: Something I think of, crock pot
Monday: CORN
Tuesday: Tuesday Surprise
Wednesday: Something I think of, meatless
Thursday: Pugsley's meal
Friday: Wednesday's meal
Saturday: Something I think of

On the advice of a few wise friends, I'm instituting a new thing: teen cook nights.  Starting next week, Pugsley is responsible for making Thursday's dinner and Wednesday will cook on Friday evenings. They'll make something they already know how to do, be limited either by an $8-10 ingredient budget or what we already have in the house, feed all four of us and not use EVERY utensil in the kitchen.

Because it isn't just the refrigerator that needs a cleaning.

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