deadline dinners

365.318 ... 20100103SI’m in the depths of another week of deadlines so I expect posting will be light and hurried. I barely sketched out what I plan to write all week, let alone plan meals.

This leads me to ask a few questions because I’m often insatiable in my curiosity of how others live. It’s normally confined to other countries and time frames, but not always. Melanie just let me know of a yummy new-to-me book on Daily Life in Victorian England, but I digress.

The majority of our meals each week (choose your time of day) are ones we’ve prepared. The majority of the ingredients in these meals are ones easy to identify and if they are not fresh they were frozen, canned, or boxed. I try to limit the amount of things I can’t pronounce on ingredient labels for items I don’t often make (such as pasta or bread). Together we might eat out once a week but we’ve cut that back since few restaurants that meet our combined dietary criteria appeal to us on a regular basis. E has lunch out more than I do since I generally return to my home office by 2:30 and eat lunch then. Since moving and gaining half an hour due to a shorter commute, we now breakfast at home too. E’s cereals may not fit my criteria as much as the items I eat do, but we’ve cut out an eat-out meal. Not only do we save money, but we’re definitely eating better breakfasts.

Meal planning is still my largest struggle. With more space — a real pantry closet in the kitchen and additional space in the basement, I’ve found it easier. I can buy things in bulk — corn meal, rice, pastas with or without gluten, etc — and our weekly shopping is more for little extras that turn these from plain meals into something different and hopefully yummy. I don’t have a “if it’s Tuesday it must be Taco night” mentality but I won’t deny that we tend to have stir-fry, pasta, and mexican of some variation each week. I try to write out menus and grocery lists Wednesday afternoon by looking at a list of what we’ve had recently and what’s in the pantry.

My Curiosity Questions:
feel free to answer or not. pick one or none. if you’re verbose I kindly ask you move it to an email if you wish to converse with me, or think about a blog of your own. I recommend

  1. How often do you eat out each week?
  2. When you cook is it more of an “Add Water or Microwave” type item or something more from scratch*?
  3. Are you cooking more now to better control what you eat?
  4. Do you plan meals?

*remember I don’t like fussy meals so scratch doesn’t mean a 10 course meal with lots of prep in my book.

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One Reply to “deadline dinners”

  1. 1. Less than once a week, probably less than once a month. (I exclude Shabbat invitations out.)

    2. From scratch!

    3. Yes and no. The eat-out options here kinda suck, so I’d be cooking a lot anyway, but I have become more conscious of what we eat (and therefore start with more from-scratch-y ingredients than I did, say, four years ago). I still buy breads most of the time.

    4. Um…sometimes? Now that I don’t automatically walk past Trader Joe’s almost every day, I try to have a few meals in mind before each shopping trip. But I also always (try to) keep on-hand the ingredients for two (out of about…four or five?) fallback meals (soba noodles + vegetables + tofu + broth; quesadillas; shakshuka; pizza; “big salad”) plus not-from-scratch meal bases for the kids (fish sticks, polenta rolls, latkes, boxed tomato soup) on nights when it’s clear we’re not eating together (more an more often now)

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