Thursday, May 24, 2012

I Must Ask . . . How Often Do You Cook?

There is no sight on earth more appealing than the sight of a woman making dinner for someone she loves. –Thomas Wolfe

Two weeks ago, I asked how many picky eaters there were. Among the picky eaters, texture was the main cause for not wanting to eat something, which I thought was interesting because for me it is mostly taste. And although there were more total combined picky eaters, there were a surprising number who said they weren't picky, but then went on to list this or that they wouldn't eat. From one picky eater to another, I don't blame you one bit :wink:.

We're still talking about food this week. I'd planned to ask this last Thursday and then ran out of time to put it together, so it was a funny coincidence when the new girl at work, who'd noticed that I bring left-overs for lunch quite often, asked me how often I cook. I was all ready with my answer because I've been thinking about this post for a couple of weeks now. Generally speaking, I cook five times a week. I write out a menu that has three weeks on it. I fill the first week in and shop for groceries for everything I need on Saturday. I always cook something nice for dinner on Sunday {LadyBug requests pork chops frequently, which compliments Grasshopper's requests for mashed potatoes and gravy}. I do pretty well Monday through Wednesday. Thursday, Friday and Saturday are the days I have a harder time cooking. Sometimes, I swing by the pizza place on the way home from work on Friday night, but we don't eat out too often. Most of the time if I don't cook, we kind of eat what we can find; leftovers, cold cereal, ramen noodles. Whatever I have on the menu for the nights I wimp out on cooking gets moved forward to the next week, so that's one less meal I have to think of for the next go round. I find it really helpful to plan a menu and have done it most of my married life. That way I can have all the ingredients on hand for what we're eating that week, I don't have to think up something every night when we're all hungry and tired and if I know what's coming up, then I can "get in the mood" for whatever's on the menu. It also helps manage the expectations of the picky-eater Little Bugs. I have them help me plan the menu and if they can see that there are several dinners they like on the menu during the week, especially dinners they've chosen, there tends to be less complaining.

I don't mind cooking much. It's the dishes I don't like. Mr. Bug takes care of that most of the time {I think I've only loaded the new dishwasher once}, so that makes it really nice. I do not care much for the handling of raw meat, though. I buy hamburger 5 lbs. at a time and do all the handling at once. If meatloaf is on the menu, I make up two meatloaves, cook one, freeze the other, and then while the meatloaf is cooking, I brown the rest of the hamburger and divide it into 1 lb. portions to freeze and use later. It makes handling raw meat more manageable because I know that I only have to handle it once, but I get five dinners out of it. The same goes for chicken, only I will usually get between 10 and 20 lbs. at a time because handling raw chicken is at least twice as yucky as handling raw meat. I will divide out a couple of pounds and package and freeze those raw for dishes that have you cook the chicken as you make the rest of the meal. I bake the rest of the chicken and divide it out into 1 lb. portions, freezing it for future meals. Then, when chicken tacos {or chicken chili, or chicken enchiladas or chicken casserole} comes up on the menu, I pull a package of chicken out of the freezer, thaw it in the fridge overnight, and when I go to put dinner together all that is left is the shredding or cubing. It saves a lot of time.

When I asked what your favorite chore was, cooking got the most answers hands-down. Today I want know know just how much you like to cook, so I must ask . . . how often do you cook? Just for clarification, heating up a frozen dinner in the microwave doesn't count. But, everything doesn't have to be from scratch, either. I totally count those prepackaged pasta meals as cooking, because you use the stove top, it takes more than 4 minutes on high, you dirty a dish in the execution and I don't do them that often. I'm sure there are other prepackaged items that require similar efforts, so use your best judgement. I'd love to hear your favorite thing to cook in the comments.

P.S. I would add to Thomas Wolfe's quote that there is nothing more appealing than the sight of a man making dinner for someone he loves. Mr. Bug grills the best steaks. Ever.

10 comments:

Samantha said...

I love that quote too! I cook in the morning when my hubby gets home from work, usually hot cereal of some sort because he loves it. If we have Cream of Wheat in the house that is all he ever wants in the morning.

Since he sleeps during the day, lunch is usually a fend for yourself meal since it is just me and 2 adult children, leftovers or sandwiches or a salad usually.

When I wake him up at around 8:20 PM I've usually cooked dinner some sort of meat, a veggie and a starch, sometimes a salad and/or biscuits if I feel like making them. Tonight is actually the first night I went to town and got takeout in about a month, and only because his check was a bit bigger this week and we all love asian food so much but I can't make it as well as the terriyaki place can.

I love cooking, the clean up is what I hate! Plus it is cheaper and since I got phased out at work, cheaper is good since it means I don't have to look for a job if I don't want to. :D

Unknown said...

I love to do porcupine meatballs because it's the only thing I know how to make by heart. Plus I think they're yummy. I don't mind raw meat. I actually like to play in it. Then I can pick out every bit of fat cuz that's something I'm picky about.

P. said...

I cook usually every day, sometimes twice a day. We eat out regularly too though, at least once a week. I recently discovered the #2 Unwich at Jimmy John's, which is a roast beef sandwich with a lettuce wrap instead of bread. I've eaten that twice in the past 2 weeks.

You are certainly an organized cook! I usually have a general idea of what I might cook during the week, but never a day to day plan. It's great you have input and buy-in from your kids. I am sure they have learned much by your example.

Deanna said...

There are two types of cooking in our house. The get-it-done dinners, which generally take less than 30 minutes start to finish and keep everyone fed. Then there are the creative cooking dinners, which make everyone happy on a different level. At our house we cook essentially every day all meals. Partially because we can't afford to eat out, and partially because Husband and I are both decent cooks. Well, I should say that I am a decent cook, and he is a really good cook. I get food on the table regularly and on time. He does spectacular. I don't really mind cooking or cleaning up most of the time. It sure beats going hungry! :)

Chatty Kathy said...

I cook most of the time, unless we're going out for dinner. We're both retired, love to eat, like to cook, like planning meals together. I just notice that I have a harder time on portions these days.....I need to scale back for the two of us, but, hey, good leftovers are OK, too. But yes, cooking is definitely one of my activities that I enjoy, now that I have more time to devote to it.

Danielle Hudson said...

I won't admit how much I cook, but I will say, if my budget allowed for a personal chef, I would hire one in an instant. After hearing that quote, I would make sure it was a male!! haha

regan said...

We cook oatmeal every morning (not that instant junk!), and usually do sandwiches for lunch, and then cook for dinner. Hubby ALWAYS does the dishes, so I don't mind cooking-fests where it takes hours to make something. I just wish it took us a little longer to eat it! We can scarf down a dinner is less than half an hour! Sheesh! We love to eat out, or get pizza in, and usually do that once or twice a week, but it's usually spur of the moment. And we never plan meals, cuz our schedule is all over the place. Dinner is usually winging it with what we have on hand! Unless we have company, then it totally planned out, to the last little detail!

JazznJenna said...

Since I started planning our meals ahead since the start of this year, I've cooked 4-5 times a week for dinner. I'm starting to slack a little bit though, and I hope I find the motivation to get back on the ball, because the stress of not having the meals planned is creeping back into my life, and I'm not liking that.

QuiltNut Creations said...

I love to cook, and I love to bake even more. Now finding something that all 6 of us will like? That's a whole different story lol.

Richard Healey said...

I don't mind raw meat at all. I am a huge meat eater. My wife Tanya on the other hand sounds just like you. She loves chicken and she always buys the boneless skinless frozen chicken as she never hast to touch it. She finds it a easy way to get over the icky factor.

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