In almost all aspects of life, I am a type-A, hyper-organized, call-me-Monica-Geller kind of girl. I say almost, because there is one area of daily routine where this attention to detail is severely lacking.
That’s right; I’m talking about meal planning.
Oy ve. In theory it sounds like such a simple task. Plan your meals, write them on a calendar, make your grocery list, blah blah blah. But in reality, every afternoon around 4:00pm I’m like OH CRAP, WHAT ARE WE GOING TO MAKE FOR DINNER?! So I hunt through the pantry and the fridge and peruse my Pinterest recipe board, but we’re missing five ingredients for every recipe and I don’t know what good substitutions would be so then I call Brett and whine about how we never have the food I need to make stuff and he’s like “I’m busy right now and don’t have time to listen to your pre-dinner meltdown” and I’m like “I will give you one hundred dollars if you pick up Chipotle on your way home” and he’s like “Fine, I’ll do that” and then we hang up and I feel better about dinner but feel worse about my domestic abilities so it’s not really a complete win.
And then the same thing happens the next day at 4:00pm and I tell Brett I will give him two hundred dollars if we can order pizza.
I don’t know what it is. I don’t know if I’m a bad cook or if I’m just too lazy to make good meals or if I’m too overwhelmed with 80 other things during the day that by the time 4:00pm rolls around I have no creative energy left to devote to the kitchen, but WHATEVER IT IS, meal planning is a struggle for me.
And then I read books like Bread & Wine and I’m like, yes! Yes, Shauna, yes! I want to create magic in my kitchen! I want to MAKE DINNER FOR MY FAMILY! So HOW? How do I do this without losing my sanity?! Why is it so hard?
I have no answers. I suspect being a good meal planner is really about putting in the work, just like anything else. I know that when I do take the time to cook or bake fancy things, I am usually pretty dang pleased with myself. And the food usually tastes pretty dang good, and Brett is usually pretty dang grateful.
If meal planning is about putting in the work, we can probably compare it to running a half marathon. (I can’t use full marathons even in metaphors because my brain simply cannot comprehend running 26 whole miles in one day.) So let’s say that meal planning is like running a half marathon, and that making lists, printing recipes, taking Everett grocery shopping (hold me), unloading the groceries, putting away the groceries, boiling the water, chopping the veggies, washing the fruit, dicing the chicken, splicing (is that a cooking term?) the onions, etc etc etc is THE TRAINING. Which would make the actual race and finish line: providing my tiny family of three with home cooked dinners for an entire week without anyone getting food poisoning.
It’s doable, right? I don’t think I could ever run 13 miles, but making dinner for a week should be an attainable goal, I think.
Are you a good meal planner? WHAT’S YOUR SECRET? Help me train. Please. I’m desperate.