You are headed home after a long busy day. No matter what you have spent your day doing, no doubt it involved making decisions, beating deadlines and maintaining a good energy level. One would think your day is over, and you can be off duty….but no…. you have one more decision to make, one more question to answer: What’s for dinner? Ugh, who doesn’t hate that question?
No matter whether dinner is to be made at home, brought in, or eaten at a restaurant, it is still a pain in the butt to make that decision every day. Yes, I realize this sounds spoiled, as far too many people in this country and world won’t have food to eat tonight. So I do appreciate that I’m lucky enough to complain about this nightly chore. Honestly, I don’t mind cooking. As a matter of fact, I generally enjoy it. I love to try new recipes, putting all the ingredients together to see how it comes out…and there is nothing like the satisfaction of having great results. We only eat out a couple times a month, so most nights I cook with the hope it is healthier and less expensive — although this means that my grocery bill is frightening.
What I don’t enjoy is the deciding what to make each night, the planning, the grocery shopping, the clean up, and overall the amount of time it takes out of my limited evening free time hours. To try to ease this pain, I create a two-week meal plan that I post on our refrigerator. It helps me plan my grocery shopping, my budget, and of course gives me the answer each night to that ugly “what’s for dinner” question.
Well, that is the plan anyway. As I tell my husband and son, the menu is always subject to change. And sure enough, it changes. There are some nights when I get home and just don’t feel like making, or eating, what I had planned. Or I can be missing a key ingredient – like when the fish market was closed so I couldn’t buy the fresh scallops on my way home as I had hoped, or I didn’t realize we were out of something like eggs. Then there are nights like tonight. I had left a note for my son asking him to take the turkey tenderloin out of the fridge when he got home from school so it could thaw. He is a 12 year old boy. That means that in the distance between the note on the table and the refrigerator, he got distracted. And when I arrived home, the tenderloin was still in the fridge and frozen. Combine that with the fact that I got home late, and it would have been after 8:00 if I stuck to cooking my planned meal.
So on those nights, I am forced back to that dreaded question, thus seemingly defeating my own plan. I usually review my meal plan to see what I can “borrow” from a different night. Or come up with something else completely. By the end of the week, my menu ends up looking like some sort of scientific equation with arrows, cross outs and re-do’s. And there have still been plenty of frustrating “winging it” nights.
If I was one of those wealthy celebrity-type women, I think I’d still want to cook, at least some nights. But I’d certainly be more than willing to pay someone else to do the planning and shopping. Then I could be the one to ask the question “what’s for dinner?” and someone else would have the answer for me.
That would be just fabulous.
I’m glad I’m not the only one that struggles with this. Most nights I just resort to noodles, but if I ever have kids I realise that I’ll have to up my game with the cooking. I have a lot of admiration for mothers who come home and still manage to make a meal for their kids, and vary it from night to night. kudos!