When I’m at work, I often get home quite late and am often more tired than I would want to be. There are three of us in this house, but the distribution of talents and labour means that the bulk of the cooking falls to me. I don’t really mind that. I enjoy cooking. I’m usually quite good at it. What I hate is having to think up what we are going to eat, realise that the ingredients have expired/have been eaten/are still in the freezer.
Last winter, in an attempt to get round this, we started menu planning. I know this is probably a no-brainer to most people, but the fact that we weren’t doing it illustrates how chaotic things had got around here.
Most Sundays I make an actual paper chart and put it on the fridge door. It shows who is where and when and it has a column for suggested meals. We don’t always stick to it rigidly, but it does help. Most nights we eat well, without resorting to takeaway and the list helps the person who is home first make a significant contribution to the dinner preparation. I say the person who is home first, but I really mean Young Bloke, as Old Bloke’s cooking skills are still restricted to warming up soup in a pan and making his ‘speciality’, which is cucumber and tomato chopped up and doused with vinegar, served with bread and butter.
Thinking about going back to work after the holidays led me to a full and frank look inside our freezers. We have one and a half. The idea is that they will help me plan ahead and contribute to us throwing less stuff away and eating better. The reality has been variable.
So, today I reorganised the freezers. Now we have one small freezer full of frozen vegetables and potato things and the other is full of all those things I bought and never got round to cooking and tossed into the freezer on the day before their expiry date. I guess it’s better than the old system where I bought something, never got round to cooking it and threw it out. However, I know my shopping and cooking habits have to change if we are going to eat better and not spend so much money in the supermarket.