Between you and me, I’m finding it hard going in the kitchen since my family’s eating habits have become so diverse. It seems that I’m mostly flying by the seat of my pants. I’ll buy a load of fresh veggies at the beginning of the week, with all sorts of plans in my head. BUT when dinner time comes around I forget the plan, cook something else, and then am confused by what’s left to cook with the next day. By mid-week there are all sorts of sorry, wilted oddments in the fridge.
When the kids were small, and organisation was the key to survival, I had a blackboard up on the kitchen wall and I’d religiously plan the weekly menu and shop accordingly. Everything had a purpose, and I always knew exactly what I was cooking and when. That all changed when we knocked a door through the wall and there was no place left for the blackboard. Meal planning went out of the window (or door in this case).
Things are beyond a joke now that there are so many different diets to accommodate, and the mental gymnastics are leaving me exhausted. Time for a serious plan. I’m implementing The Standardised Meal System. If you have not read The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, I strongly encourage you to do so straight away. It’s a great read and a bit of an international phenomenon – have you been hiding under a rock? Without giving any plot lines away, hero Don Tillman’s quirky Standardised Meal System makes perfect sense to me, with its “eight major advantages”:
- No need to accumulate recipe books. (Ok, I’m not joining him on this one.)
- Standard shopping list – hence very efficient shopping. (I’m in.)
- Almost zero waste – nothing in the refrigerator or pantry unless required for one of the recipes. (I can work towards this.)
- Diet planned and nutritionally balanced in advance. (Definite advantage for multiple dietary requirements.)
- No time wasted wondering what to cook. (My biggest problem.)
- No mistakes, no unpleasant surprises. (Too familiar.)
- Excellent food, superior to most restaurants at a much lower price (see point 3) (Not sure about superior to restaurant quality, but practice makes perfect.)
- Minimal cognitive load required. (A definite plus at the end of a busy day.)
So I’m planning my own version of The Standardised Meal System, but I’m aiming for a 14 day meal plan rather than Don Tillman’s seven day plan, as I think we’ll get bored and go astray. The idea is to make 2 seasonal planners for Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter which I can try my best to stick to, and at least I will be a bit more organised.
The brief: Dinners only, encompassing all the following requirements – I’m NOT cooking separate meals for everyone! Gluten free (for Miss E), vegaquarian (for Miss S), twice weekly low calorie (for Mr.B – no carbs and should be under 600 calories, but I don’t count.)
I’m making a start with seven meals that are a mix of my own recipes, favourite recipes from cook books and around the web – links to recipes on the pictures. These are dinners my family like to eat and are part of my weekly repertoire. Nothing too fancy, but just fancy enough.
Do you have a weekly meal plan or do you free-style?