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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The joys of cooking, every day

At lunch time today I got a text message from my eldest son “any ideas for meals cos I don’t know what to cook”. (Remember he's the one who's moved out).

I must admit I laughed.

My reply started with “Welcome to my world!”

I find the most tedious thing in my life is trying to decide what to cook and before that, trying to decide what to buy in order to cook. I need easy, fast, simple recipes that everyone in the family will eat. I don’t like cooking the same thing all the time because my taste buds get bored. There are just so many times I can have spaghetti bolognaise before it gets “blah”.

Of course finding recipes that all of my boys will eat can be a challenge, especially when it comes to my middle son. He won’t eat eggs, chicken, fish or mushrooms. There go half the easy, quick, simple recipes I like! The other challenge is keeping the grocery shopping within budget. I would love to eat sushi three times a week, but it just isn’t going to happen!

I have my staples. The meals I fall back on time and time again like the afore mentioned spaghetti bolognaise. We also regularly have schnitzel, homemade hamburgers, homemade pizza, macaroni cheese, ravioli and sometimes steak. But I really do get bored both cooking and eating the same things. Now that my eldest son has moved out I’ve added lasagne to the list. He wouldn’t eat it as he’d had a bad experience with it once. My youngest son is pretty good with food, he eats just about anything.

Grocery shopping has become a weekly nightmare. I have been known to stare blankly at an empty piece of paper hoping the shopping list will write itself. Or I will jot down all the cleaning items I need, but then falter when it comes to the food. Eventually I will write down the easy bits – bread, milk, butter, cheese and whatever fruit we need. Then I will turn the page over and start to plan meals for the week. I write “spaghetti bolognaise” and then it all gets too hard and I quit.

I think if I were ever to be enormously wealthy I would either eat out a lot, or hire a personal chef to do all that thinking for me!


  1. Time to watch the cooking programs on the much inspiration there. I buy stuff then google how to prepare it. I have found lots of new ideas like that.

  2. I feel your pain! I think one of the dreaded questions I hear at least twice a day (from daughter & hubby) is what's for dinner.

    What is your recipe (I do like looking over cookbooks, but hate the actual fact of cooking, go figure!)for schnitzel? I lived in Germany for 3 years and loved it! Never attempted to cook it though.

  3. im coming over for dinner on Bolognese night--But I guess I should let you invite me. I'll bring wine!!! smiling


  4. Susan - I do watch the cooking programs, but they all cook such complicated things! I often google recipes and find things that way.
    Martha - I hesitate to admit it, but I buy the ready made schnitzel in the delicatessan at the supermarket *blushes*.
    Seductress - You have a standing invitation - don't forget the wine!

  5. Okay, Miss, you need to start "entertaining" once a week or so. Nothing fancy. Just get a neighbor, a co-worker, one of your kid's friends' dad (or mom) and invite them over. There are so many fun and impressive and easy things you can do that will knock people's socks off. Mock abalone (skinny chicken breasts soaked in clam juice for 3 days) floured, and pan fried in a little butter, lemon rice (squeeze a lemon on it) and rainbow chard with ginger, pepper flakes and nutmeg. Be free my dear, and make stuff up as you go along. Not hard, just attitude and a flower on the table and voila! You have a feast. Learn to make it fun! I have to quit advising. I get bored with me!

  6. Ha, I completely agree...the worst part about making dinner is deciding what to make! And I was going to blog about that, and you beat me to the punch.

  7. I have just recently started cookin up a storm. I am a vegetarian and I always struggled with ideas. Last year I subscribed to the magazine VEgetarian times and I have really enjoyed just going through the magazine and making different things each month. My motto: I cook what I want. If you don't want it- you can cook it yourself. :) VEg . times is also online. Check it out!

  8. When I'm trying to decide what to make for dinner, I'll sometimes hit on a recipe that I don't have all the ingredients for. I'll write down that recipe title on a separate sheet of paper, along with the cookbook title and page number. Then on my shopping list I'll put down the ingredient(s) I'm missing. It sort of accomplishes 2 things at once - menu planning and the shopping list. Of course, I still have to find a recipe that I do have everything for, which isn't too hard. But this way, next time I'm making, let's say, chicken, I'll have what I need to try that other recipe.