Monday, 5 March 2012

Meal planning Monday

I cannot believe that it’s 'Meal-Planning-Monday' already. At least it’s not the first of the month meal planning Monday – the Monday before the first Wednesday of the month which is the big bonanza shop. I meticulously plan out all the meals we will eat for the coming month, work out what that means in terms of dry goods, tins, frozen food, along with any other household goods we need (washing powder, toothpaste etc), and order all that along with the fresh stuff for the first week’s meals (apart from anything I will get from the Butcher (meat – obviously) and the Deli (fish) in the village)... Oh yeah – sorry, for  a moment, I forgot... that happens in my parallel universe, where the sun always shines, the dog doesn’t chase pheasants and injure himself on a regular basis, Blue eats cheese sauce, the washing machine isn’t about to die a horrible painful death with every load I venture to wash, and I never, never scream at my kids like a crazy banshee about something ridiculous like who squeezed toothpaste all over the bathroom...

So, back to MY universe, the actual one that I live in, instead of the one I retreat to in times of stress, it is still menu- planning Monday, with a view to ordering an internet shop to arrive on Wednesday. For reasons that now escape me, my food week runs from Wednesday to Wednesday, and I have found that unless I at least nab a slot by ordering some milk on a Monday evening, I am too late. I do indeed have a piece of paper, put together last Monday which purports to map out the meals for March. I do try to order a massive shop at the start of the month to cover dry and household goods, then top up week on week for the rest of the month with fresh only, but the reality is nowhere close to my fantasy. Rather than a comprehensive guide to a month’s balanced meals, what this actual amounts to is a cruel joke, of my own making, leading me to believe that I am organised, competent and serene.
In fact there are holes all over the place in my 'plan'. I always forget that we have to eat lunch at the weekends. I don’t check the freezer and plan meals that do not in fact exist, only to remember on the day I planned to have beef casserole from the freezer, that I’d made it in to a pie on another occasion and we’d eaten it (and jolly good it was too, but that’s no help when it was the last planned meal of the week and there is nothing else to eat). I don’t check in the cupboards and over-order dry goods. Typically, what happens is that I will omit to order something and be deeply disappointed, so I make sure that I order it the next week and then my brain kind of caches it so that I order it the next week...and the next. I have had to be very creative with ground almonds recently.

The Mondays that follow through any given month involve me considering the original piece of paper with increasing desperation, filling in the gaps of meals I failed to plan, updating social engagements and replanning as I complete the online order.

The days that follow are ‘Top-up-Tuesday’ when I remember and then immediately forget additional things to add on to the list as I scramble to get online before the deadline to update – and at least once a month I manage to log on while there’s some kind of maintenance going on which causes me to lose a whole order. Hot on the heels of ‘Top Up Tuesday comes ‘What-have-I-forgotten-Wednesday’, which speaks for itself. By Thursday I am usually too exhausted to care.

Each week, as with so many things, I think “This time, it will be different”. But who am I kidding? Better get started...

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