Tuesday, May 09, 2006

bragging soap box: the menu

Ah, things are almost normal again. My new oven arrived yesterday and therefore I was able to start Monday off on the Cosmic Menu once again. Jacket potato with baked beans and salad. And as an added bonus, a small apple crumble. It all baked up very nicely indeed.
I started the menu just over a year ago. And it does make a difference. When I'm working I don't have to worry about what to make for supper and our lunches. I also purchase roughly the same foods every week, keeping control of costs and waste. I very seldom throw food out now. Which is probably one of Western Society's greatest crimes, don't you think? It all started to take shape last spring with a few different germinating ideas. One came from my Mom. She had become one of the followers of the Fly Lady (I'll let you look for it if you are really interested). It's a website that should only be read quickly and good stuff gleaned from it, then run before they trap you like the Moonies. They offer to send you emails every hour with a list of things to tidy around the house and of course, being an American site, it offers various products with the fly lady logo on it to help you organise your life and cleaning. (Dudes and Dudettes, buy a 35p reporters notepad and get on with it). What I got from the site was how she organised her weekly menu planning (lacking in variety, but necessary if one is on a budget) and what my husband got from it was shining the sink. Seriously, the idea that one should start the day with a clean kitchen, down to a shiny sink seems to me to be extreme, but Hubby has included it into his working day routine. Up at 7:30, the girl out of the house for school by 8:30, back in the house by 9, have a shower, read the papers online, then general tidy which includes washing and clearing away all the breakfast dishes and shining the sink. Therefore by 10 am he is ready to sit down with his brewed cup of coffee and get to work. Not bad eh? He also cleans and clears the entire kitchen after supper every night. It took me a while to not look upon this activity as an indirect criticism of my cleanliness. What I mean is that, the hubby very seldom ventures into the kitchen, now he's in there just to clean it, without using it first. But one should not look a gift horse...
The other reasons for the menu was wanting to not spend so much on food and to try to satisfy everyone's dietary needs without making separate meals. The girl went veggie on me darn it! And I decided not to undermine her decision. You know, by shoving a bacon sarnie in her mouth. (Yes I've asked her not to try to influence mamma's Boy when the time comes, he'll have to decide for himself too)
So, I sat down and worked out what I needed the menu to be; cheap as chips (without using chips), healthy with a good range, easy to make with just enough left overs for lunchy bits the next day. And it had to be foods/ meals we really liked, so that we looked forward to it. Then I planned the shopping list (proud of my sous chef experience for portion control). Then I typed up the menu and blue tacked it on a kitchen cupboard so that when bleary eyed in the morning I will know what I'm doing. Then for good fly lady measure we tacked on daily housework tasks on the bottom.
And a calm descended upon the house. So there.
Monday: jacket potato, beans and salad
Tuesday: Pasta
Wednesday: Stirfry
Thursday: Pizza, quiche or fritatta
Friday: Meat Protein night (the night that the Girl gets something different and store bought)
Saturday: Curry night
Sunday: Roasties
And of course lots of other details.

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