Yesterday meant doing one of those tasks I find both pleasurable and arduous. Sometimes it flows freely and is done in half an hour, sometimes it takes 2 hours and stacks of reference books, phone calls and input from the household, and is still unfinished. Sometimes I can get on the internet and my favorite websites, and find all sorts of ideas. Sometimes NOTHING looks good and I end up resorting to Old Standbys.
Making Menus and The Grocery List.
Many many years ago, due to Paycheck Issues and a severely tight budget, I began making menus and buying groceries once a month. When you consider how many Extras find their way into the buggy every time you shop, minimizing visits to the store is a very good thing. Having a list is even better, because I can focus on the list, and stick to it.
The satisfaction comes in with the unloading, packaging, and putting away all the stuff. I can look at the freezer and pantry, and know that, no matter what, we will eat for a month. As long as there’s flour for bread, coffee for in the morning, milk and eggs, we’re good. All that other stuff, the cube steak and potatoes and cheese…that’s extra and is happy-making.
I never have been the type to be able to go to the store and think “hmm…I’ll just wander around until I find something that looks good,and that’s what we’ll have for supper.” I know people who do that. I have several friends who do just that, and I’m not faulting them for it, but it isn’t my way. Order is required. Lists must be made, and the menus are vital. It is supremely satisfying to look at the calendar, and see that ham and sweet potatoes are scheduled for today, but I don’t really WANT ham and sweet potatoes, however, cube steak and mashed potatoes are written for tomorrow, and since the ingredients are already purchased, we can do just that, and have the ham another day! Oh glory!
It is also deeply satisfying to have a full pantry. Plenty of coffee (that most vital of sustenances), plenty of eggs for breakfasts and salad greens for lunches and always a chicken for that emergency “I don’t want what’s written down but I don’t know what I want” sort of meal, that can be turned into chicken and dumplings or a roasted chicken or even fried chicken if it’s That Time of the Month. One cannot go wrong with a whole chicken.
And so I am satisfied. Yesterday saw an hour being spent making menus and The List. Terry requested some cold weather comfort food in the form of chicken and dumplings (and a polite observation that the last 4 times I made that, I made drop biscuit dumplings, which I interpreted as a request to make strip noodle dumplings), #4 has been asking for cube steak and gravy with mashed potatoes for some time now, and I, of course, want a roast chicken with a salad and some fancy-pants rice.
Now the pantry and freezer are full (Ground round was 1/2 price! Scored me 6 pounds of that! Also chuck roasts were on sale! Pot roast!), I’ve had a cup of coffee (decaf, I’m trying to manage myself better) and a piece of marzipan stollen (and a subsequent sugar headache. Next time I’m picking the marzipan out.). Now the Christmas lights are down, and since David asked to borrow my car, he has no excuse to get out of helping with the rest of the undecorating.
What gives you a feeling of satisfaction and contentment?