Meal Planning is a Whole Big Thing Now

I’m genuinely afraid my family is going to get used to me cooking dinner. This is temporary, people — a temporary situation!

When I was thinking through the ramifications of stay-at-home orders and social distancing, the one thing I didn’t realize at first was how much of my time and energy would be consumed by meal planning. I had become quite laissez faire about meals around here over the last few years, cooking real dinner only two to three times a week. I was working odd hours, and we’re all adults in this house now. I kept the kitchen stocked with stuff that was easy for my husband and son to fix for themselves and figured they were also capable of running to the store if we didn’t have something they wanted. My husband usually picked up lunch out somewhere, a slice of pizza or such like.

Now we have four in the house instead of three, every one of us eating every last meal at home. Meanwhile, casually popping over the grocery store for a forgotten item is no longer a thing. We are plowing through supplies on hand at a pretty good clip. Food acquisition and use are logistical puzzles, taxing the executive function center of my brain. I have switched from in-person grocery shopping to ordering online for pick-up, but the available time slots have to be scheduled several days in advance. By the time I went to pick up my groceries on Wednesday, I had forgotten what I ordered the Friday before. I tried to look at it as a fun surprise. And, oh, hey! I inadvertently ended up with the world’s largest oranges!

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Quarter for size comparison

One thing that makes me say, “Yay me!” is the fact that on the very early edge of all this mess, I subscribed to a local CSA program, with a box of fresh produce scheduled for our household once every two weeks. Here’s our first delivery:

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Delish

Each member of the family forages for their own breakfast and lunch. So I’m only preparing one meal a day. That’s not too much, really, even for someone who isn’t overly fond of cooking. Having consumed my share of rice and chicken neck dinners as a kid, I try to remember to be grateful for the ability to buy this food.

Another bright spot is that I never touch the dirty dishes, of which we are producing many stacks. The other three members of the household keep them cycling through the dishwasher and back into the cabinets.

And the other morning, I woke up to discover the cookie fairy had come during the night.

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I suspect the Cookie Fairy is really my oldest son

We’re figuring this thing out.

2 thoughts on “Meal Planning is a Whole Big Thing Now

  1. I love this, Ida. And I hear you! The whole food thing and all its moving parts was never my favorite domestic chore to begin with. Thanks for bringing levity and clarity to my own experience.

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