Every so often, Scott and I will toy with the idea of planning our meals. This often occurs after an exhausting round of the “who can be less decisive” game.
“What do you want for dinner?”
“I don’t know, what do you feel like?”
“Nothing. It’s too hot out to want to eat.”
“How about a pizza?”
“I had pizza for lunch. How about a sandwich?”
“Sandwiches are boring.”
“I don’t care, whatever you want.” (spoken simultaneously)
Blurgh. I am the undisputed world champion of NOT knowing what to have for dinner, but it’s a stressful title to hold…particularly when you’re in charge of 75% of the cooking (Scott being, of course, the grill master of the household). Scarcely less annoying is the, “holy cow, what’s that smell coming from the fridge?!” trivia challenge, which generally occurs 3-4 weeks after a particularly optimistic shopping spree by the world champion of not knowing what to have for dinner. Don’t know what to cook? Let’s fill the fridge with supplies for the entire repertoire…you know, because it’s totally logical that I can cook 15 complete meals in 2 days (slight exaggeration). The periodic cleaning of the fridge has nearly been motivation enough for me to change my ways, particularly after the very unfortunate incident with black beans. Holy moly. I think Scott still has nightmares about that one.
I’m not sure what the eventual catalyst was. Save money? Waste less? De-stress wife? Avoid a repeat of the dreaded black bean incident? Make grocery shopping easier? It’s too close to call, but Scott came home from vacation ready for a change. Being a man of action, he wasted no time compiling a spreadsheet of every known meal in the Nelson arsenal. Called in to consult, I added a few items to it and then helped compile a 3-week meal plan.
So far, I’m very pleased with our little plan. It’s made grocery shopping much easier: I know exactly what I need and what it’s going to be used for. Knowing what we’re having in advance also eliminates any lunch conflict and the dreaded cycle of indecisiveness. The very best part is that we spend and waste less because we buy fewer groceries but actually use what we do buy. A beautiful thing. The two hardest things about it so far are the time commitment and changing old habits. Obviously, it takes more time to cook than to pick up something “fast” on the way home. And when shopping, it’s difficult to repress the little voice that feels the need to depart from the list…”just in case.” No need for that! It’s all planned and accounted for.
I am aware that many of our friends already think Scott and I are freakishly organized…combine that tendency with the whole “running for fun” thing and we’ve been right on the edge of “extraordinarily weird” for some time. Extending our organizational habits to meal preparation may push us right over that edge in some people’s eyes, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take.