|We had a good menu plan this week.|
My first menu planning came while I was growing up. My sisters and I were usually responsible for fixing supper after my mother went back to work and meal planning was not complicated at that point. Every meal had a meat, starch (usually potatoes), a green vegetable, a yellow vegetable, bread and milk. Our house was well stocked with vegetables from our huge garden and venison from my father's hunting, so it was easy to follow the plan.
Also, during those years, I remember an assignment in eight grade to plan meals for an entire week. Every meal I planned was well balanced and included something from every food group. Also, the calories added up to the appropriate amount for the day. I think that was the most complicated and complete meal plan I have ever seen. So I learned menu planning in the early years, both in a simple and complicated way.
Then I grew up and lost menu planning somewhere along the way. I think it started when we lived in New Orleans, home of fantastic food, both expensive and inexpensive. We ate out a lot and loved every minute of it. However kids came, we moved to Texas, and the need for menu planning became necessary again. Plans during this time were sometimes written down and sometimes not but depended on easy to fix things for young kids--especially the ever-hungry Wally.
Another move landed us where we are now and it's where we've done most of our meal planning as a family. We've had family meetings and made up plans for weeks and months. We've made each person responsible for a day of the week. We've checked the ads and planned around what was on sale, and we've made plans from what was in the pantry and the freezer. We've assigned each day of the week a different type of food and planned within that structure. We've also used premade meal plans with shopping lists, and we've done a lot of last minute cooking.
However, my favorite way to plan was a way that Wally used for a while. He would take a cookbook and open it randomly. Each of us got to choose what we wanted from between those two pages. Then he would open it randomly to the next two pages and the next person would get to choose. We ate a lot of interesting things when he used that method.
So what does all of this mean? Menu planning. I'm for it. I just don't always do it. It's not because I don't know how. It's just that, well, I'm not exactly sure, but I just don't do it. Very often. Unless, I'm feeling guilty about how we've been eating. Then we have a plan, unless we don't. As you can see, I have a confused relationship with menu planning.