Who knew a meal could be such a pain in the ass! Seriously. Every day around 1pm as I sit down to lunch I realize I haven’t done a damn thing about dinner. Next follows the mad panic to figure it out. The daily hunting and gathering is a constant irritation which provides nothing but stress… oh yeah and in the end sustenance.
We roll in the door sometime between 5:45 and 6 – the kids are starved, we’re pooped and bedtime is just around the corner. The first order of business is pulling together some sort of quasi-healthy, hopefully palatable meal that will please 2 kids and 2 adults. And to think we can face this incredible challenge not once a week – but 5 nights in a row. Awesome!
I know what you’re thinking – make a plan, cook ahead, yada yada yada. Tried it all – the simple fact of the matter is that no matter how organized we can be on this front, I’m still the person who hits the supermarket during the after work commute hoping to find something for dinner! Don’t even get me started on groceries – that my friends is a whole other blog!
We have successfully followed a cook ahead plan – a freezer full of curries and soups has been a blessing – but man, I’m BORED of chicken soup. The nightly meal plan (Mon – Chicken, Tues – Pasta etc) never works. Who wants to live life so rigidly? Not to mention the long term planning that needs to go into those menus.
So here we are again, 1pm and I’m texting J – “what do you feel like for supper?” and the response follows one of 3 routes.
1. “I have no idea. Whatever you want is fine.” Which translates to: “I have no idea so you think of something.”
2. “Let’s have soup.” Which translates to a pantry lucky dip.
3. “Take out?” Which translates to “Take out.”
We’re lucky, we live in a great foodie city and can order cheap, fantastic and bonus – healthy food on the way home. We eat sushi like its McDonald’s in this town. However, we can’t do this every night. So begins the conversation – pasta? No. Chicken? No. Delicious braised lamb with couscous and white bean ragout? Are you kidding me? I wish.
This doesn’t even factor in the curve ball of Shorty #1. A great eater initially, #1 has grown pickier in her old age. She loves a finely grilled hot dog or a delicate macaroni with cheese. Occasionally she enjoys a beautiful cheese pizza. She goes absolutely crazy when anything comes served in a sauce (save for her beloved pasta of course). We are trying to re-broaden her culinary horizons, but so far this continues to be an uphill battle.
Shorty #2 is far less… discerning. She will venture into the more exotic territories of the spice route with curries and other savoury dishes. But she too has her moods and sometimes only scrambled eggs and bapbap (aka ketchup) will do.
So how do we plan a meal for 4 that will appeal to all? That is sauce, gluten and dairy free. That tastes amazing to everyone and won’t contribute to our culinary ennui. Beats me – but whoever figures this out should win the Nobel Prize!