Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Earlier this month, I had everyone in my family make a list of their favorite foods: breakfast, lunch, supper, snacks, treats, fruits and veggies. I asked them to aim for 7 in most categories, and asked them not to talk to each other about it. At the end of the day, I compiled all the lists using a different color for each person.
I put all the 'like' things together, so I now have a complete list of what my family, including myself, really likes to eat.

This was a really helpful exercise. I was surprised at what was included and what wasn't included, pleasantly. Each list also represented the personality and age of each of my brood - what an unexpected treasure. And they are all pretty good eaters, so there wasn't a lot of just 'garbage' on their lists.

My plan, my hope, had been to take the results of that list, and put together a rotating menu of 10 -15 dinners that we just do over and over again. I decided at the last minute to ask them about their other favorites because it couldn't hurt to have that information, right?

(Animal Kingdom, 2011)
I lose so much time and creative energy planning menu's and grocery lists. As much as I want to be as cool as all my foodie friends, I just don't have the energy, time, or grace for it, not right now. Every time I sit with the intent to make an interesting eating plan, I get overwhelmed. I have great cookbooks, great online resources, and great friends that share their love of food and health with me. And no passion or love for the art and science of meals and food. I just don't love it. I wish I loved it. I wish I had a compelling desire to eat and cook super smart. I wish I were as cool as this blogger, or as wonderful as that MomOverThere.

And did you catch that line of thinking? How easily I slipped into that deadly comparing game, with me on the low side of the comparison? It was when I heard that as the motivating voice in my head that I knew I needed to pull out of the game until I could play healthy - head healthy.

Homeschooling three kids at three very different levels, with each of them needed to be driven to multiple activities each week, and a husband that is travelling a lot - we need something that works more than we need something that is beautiful and at harmony with the foodie universe. And I need to get some streamline somewhere in my game because I need to get some for the the things I Am passionate about.

Don't hear me saying that I intend to fill up our lives with entirely horrible food, because that's not what's going to happen, either. Now that I know what we all love, I'll build a menu that is based on that and on what I can do.

I expect that each season will be a good time to have everyone do their lists again. I expect that this routine will give us the creative space to try new things AND enjoy it every once in awhile. I also expect that having a repeating pattern of meals will give me more opportunities to get the kids involved in making the meals until they can do most of it themselves - a great homeschool perk.

This year, my kitchen game is going to get simpler, and a little boring, and a lot more peaceful.


Spring said...

I feel like my kitchen is already boring, and I am itching for change... but cooking has never been one of my hobbies either! I love to serve people food (restaurant blood?) and make them feel special... I just don't love the cooking part. Working on the independence in the kitchen here, too... they'll have to compare recipes!! (Also, working on independence with laundry- that is going well!!)

renee @ FIMBY said...

Well, I am a foodie (of sorts) and I'm tired of the whole kitchen thing!

I'm on a current Hit Repeat schedule of meals in the kitchen ourselves - lots and lots of lentil soup, roasted roots, stir fry and pizza once a week to keep the troops happy!

I think it's seasonal. Winter is not a season for inspiring food.

Heather said...

I have to second Renee's comment. I tend to repeat the same meals, lots of bean burritos, black bean salad, soups and roasted root veggies, because that is what we have available right now in Maine. I recently wrote about my meal planning on my blog, you can see it here http://www.townsend-house.com/2012/03/meal-planning.html

Anonymous said...

I love how this plan will enable the kids to help more and ultimately become independent in at least a few meals. Great thinking! Thanks for sharing!

Dawn from Oklahoma