"A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness."
- Elsa Schiaprelli
Today I want to address the question I get most often in email:
"How do you have the time to cook all that?"
OK, so now you will get to know me for what I truly am: An Organizational Geek. My mask is off and my true Fly Lady training has been revealed. I am not one of those people who can fly into the kitchen at 5:45pm, look at what is available and throw together an amazing meal. And because I am not willing to call in take-out very often and I do my best to avoid packaged, processed foods, I have got to have a Plan. Stan.
It all starts will a menu of the family favorites. I took some time one day and typed up about 3 pages of vegetarian meals, animal meals, soups, salads, dressings, sides, and desserts which at some point in time someone at the table said "Not Bad, Mom." It's in my Kitchen Control Journal along with the relevant recipes. (Shameless Plug:. Private Nutrition Clients are guided through a process of creating their very own Kitchen Control Journals. This madness can be yours too!)
Step two is sitting down once a week, usually a Thursday, sometimes a Saturday night (hot social life that I have) and planning out what we will eat more or less for every single meal and snack. I take ideas from the family favorites list and also from one or two cookbooks that I rotate each week or so. I sit with the date book in front of me so I can see which nights different family members have sports, or meetings, or classes or whatever, and I plan accordingly.
That gives me a plan that looks like this:
Sure, things change and I cross things out, or move them forward. But having the basic plan gives me peace of mind. I a regular mom, wife, chief cook and bottle-washer who happens to be running her own business as well. I don't think I have any more time or less time than anyone else. I can honestly say that I am rarely in the kitchen for more than an hour or two a day and that's cooking 4 meals a day and cleaning up as well. I don't cook complicated things very often. We eat leftovers quite a lot. I work quickly. I've had a lot of practice. The kids are put to work too beacuse I want them to know how to cook when they're off on their own.
That said, I'm not perfect. Sometimes we still fall back on pizza or falafel. Sometimes I make things that turn out really awful. I'm sure my kids would prefer pasta and schnitzel tiras every night. I'm just doing my best to eat healthy and feed my family healthy things. If they come to your house and eat nothing but potato chips, soda and cake, you don't need to gleefully report that to me. They're normal children. I know they love junk food as much as the next person. How they eat outside of the house is not for me to control. I do my best to feed them well at home, to teach them about nutrition and cooking and to not make too big a deal about "forbidden foods" or whatever.
Now, if you'll pardon me, I've got a date with Neon, my patient, blonde belly-dance teacher. Then, I'm going to go back on what I just said above and spend a really long time in the kitchen trying to create a dubious looking soup recipe by Dr Fuhrman with the auspicious title of "Anti-Cancer Soup." I will of course be taking pictures and blogging all about it...