I am a freelancer in the publishing industry, so words are very important to me. I'm a leftist living in a world gone mad, so politics are very important to me. I'm an environmentalist living in a degrading world, so pick up your damn trash, get rid of your gas guzzlers, and don't touch ANWR, you self-absorbed capitalists!

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21 March 2008

How to ... Organize Your Week's Menus

I've gotten the idea in my head that it would be terribly fun to put together an irregular series of "How to" posts. Heavy on the photos, that way I would have an excuse to purchase a gorillapod be able to combine my blogging with my photo diary. In my head, these are fabulous. I don't know how well they'll translate from brain cell to computer screen, but you have to take risks sometimes in life.

I don't have a gorillapod yet,Once I get a creative idea, I need to start it right away, before the exuberance dissipates and I'm left with ... nothing. So, consider this the beta version of my new "How to" series.


We are menu planners. This is for several reasons, including (1) the Consort and I share cooking duties so a written menu helps us get a sense of what the other will be making (this is an imperfect method, however, because unless both cooks actually *look* at the menu, you may end up with pasta two nights in a row, or chard twice in the same week!), (2) we are recipe-followers; there's nothing more stress-inducing than having three-quarters of the ingredients needed for a particular recipe, which is what would happen if we just cooked on the fly, (3) some of us have bad memories, so unless it is written down, he'll forget what he had planned to make and which cookbook it came from, (4) it's an easy way to record what activities are planned for that week, (5) it provides us with a surface on which to record items needed for the subsequent week's shopping trip.

This menu is proof positive of something I've said for quite a while: I am a one-pot-meal-maker, and the Consort is a multi-dish-dining-experience guy. Fist he made us some buckwheat linguini as well as a celery root soup, but even on his "off" night, his spanakopita included a side of salad! Me? Colcannon (mashed potatoes, sauteed leeks, and kale -- all mixed up together) and cauliflower-macaroni soup. It's gonna be mushed up in your stomach anyway, I just start the process for you.

Here's a hint as to how to tell whose menu will be made that night: If it includes fruit in it, or beside it, then it is the Consort's meal. This past week, he thought that adding a side of canned mandarin oranges was *just* the thing for a middle-of-the-winter supper. Sometimes, he thinks adding kumquats to a stew is just the right touch. On those nights, Impera and I look at our plates, cringe, then eat our food. Trixie and the Consort, meanwhile, are humming happy tunes as they eat their fruited meal. it takes all kinds.

As the week progresses, we are less interested in cooking, so we'll have a leftover night or a pasta-and jarred-sauce night. Fridays are typically pizza nights. I don't often write it in, though, because I don't want the girls to hold me to an impossibility. For example: this week I actually made my soup for Wednesday night because on Tuesday my mother-in-law invited us over for Thursday supper. She made pizza, and I *know* that, because the Consort wrote "pizza" under the F, I'm going to hear about it when I announce that we'll actually have pasta tonight. "There's nothing wrong with having pizza two nights in a row! Mom!!!" How much do you want to bet?

Now that the girls are getting older, and they are adding their requests to the "to buy" section of the menu, I'm enjoying the conversations that take place on the list. Their entries usually include ALL CAPS, BECAUSE THEY DON'T WANT US TO MISS THEIR REQUESTS, and exclamation points! because they really! like! the food! they are requesting!!!

If you click on the picture, you'll be brought to the flickr page, which includes several informational notes about this week's menu.