It’s been over a year since I posted about my commitment to menu planning and family dinners and I wanted to post an update. In my Life List I wanted to be able to successfully plan and cook family meals for an entire year. I’d like to be able to do that, but I’ve been thinking about it. Say I do it. What next? Do I stop? I realized my ultimate goal wasn’t to be able to do it for a year. It was to be able to do it. Forever. For always. For realsies.
Not that I had to always do it. I just wanted the option. To be able to do it, if I so chose.
Our life circumstances have changed dramatically since I first wrote about this. Anthony’s (fortunately) down to one job now and has graduated school so he’s around pretty much every evening that doesn’t involve D&D. Isobel is older and doesn’t need constant attention (just, you know, near constant attention). These things have helped the family dinner situation dramatically. We eat at the table together every night that we can, even if we’re eating pizza or takeout. I love that we get to do that.
I’ve been consumed with finishing my job at the library and I haven’t done much menu planning. I’m really just trying to get through the last month of this with my sanity in tact. I’ve given up on menu planning for the most part. I’m not going to have any more time when I’m home–I don’t have any illusions about that–but since I’ll be home menu planning will be more of a priority for me. I’ve already made an outline of our daily schedule for when I do stay home, and I’ve devoted lots of that time to the making of, eating, and cleaning up after food.
One thing I’ve noticed that really helps me stay inspired is scrolling through the food blog section of my blog roll daily. I don’t always have time to read, but I find that even if I just scroll through it I get inspiration and motivation and it really helps me cook more. One look at my browser history and you’ll find it’s full of porn–food porn.
Isobel has become very involved in our kitchen life and she likes to help by “washing the dishes” (read: getting enough water everywhere to fill a small pool), “feeding the cats” (read: filling one of their bowls with scoop after scoop of food until it’s overflowing, while simultaneously not letting the cats actually eat anything), and “cooking” (read: standing next to us on a small stool, eating the ingredients and watching us cook).
She’s even beginning to take note of our food preferences and habits. A couple weeks ago when I was sick and laying on the couch in abject misery she patted me on the arm and said, “Poor Mama. Mama sick.” She then went to the pantry and gathered up my tin of coffee and some emergenC packets and piled them on my lap.
Isobel is also honing her palate. Sometimes she rejects food for no apparent reason. The other day she decided she didn’t want to eat the half a banana she had asked for just a few minutes ago. Anthony ate it in front of her, to her absolute horror, and as he did she shrieked, with ever-rising pitch of disgust, “ew ew ew ew EW EW EW EW EW YUCK YUCK YUCKY! GARBAGE! GARBAGE! GARBAGE!”
How many times does she have to tell you, banana? When she said that you were garbage she meant that you were garbage.
Right now Isobel’s favorite thing to eat is cooked chicken. She still has days where she’s just not that interested in solid food. She’ll ask for a bottle and when I suggest something to eat instead she’ll say, “No Mama, I’m full.” The girl really loves meat in any form, but chicken is her number one favorite, so I like to always keep some around to tempt her. If anyone has ideas for using up vast amounts of leftover cooked chicken, I’d love to hear it. Isobel will eat it day after day, but Mama needs variety.