Of Cooking With Menus

Dear Menu-Planning-Cooking-Woman,
I have a few questions for you today.

Do you ever have days when it’s 5pm and you still don’t know
what to make for supper? Yes, I say supper.
Please tell me how in the world that is possible.
{Plan a menu far in advance}
Far in advance, hmmm, like a month? Wow.
I can’t even plan 1-2 days in advance.

How do you make that menu and stick to it?
{Just write it down and then cook it on the appointed day.}
Alrighty then, sounds easy enough, but that always leads me to this…

I have always had this burning question about your kind of people.
Are you always, really, truly, hungry for the meal
jotted down for Thursday night?

{Absolutely. If that is what’s on the menu, that is what we eat.}
Seriously? If I plan a menu, I never feel like eating tator tot casserole
on the night tator tot casserole is jotted down for.
I want Chicken Alfredo that’s slotted for Fri night
or the pizza scheduled for Sat night.
Anything but tator tot casserole.
Who wants tator tot casserole anyway?

Can you really manage to go grocery shopping
only once a month? (Your husband must be very proud)
{Yes. You just buy everything you need on that trip because the menus are all planned. You should never need anything extra because when you stick to your menu, you always have the correct ingredients.}
Wow. I was in town yesterday and we are already out of butter.

Do tell, how do you manage to get this done all the time?
{Organization. Perfect planning.}
Guess I missed that ingredient on the cooking boat.
If you haven’t figured it out already,
cooking is not my first love,
eating is.

Thank you for your time. I will give this
menu thing a shot and see if it works.
{No problem. Just remember to cook what is on the menu,
never veer to the right or to the left for Alfredo or Pizza
when it’s tator tot time.}

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Now I’m sure somewhere out there is a working woman,
reading this and thinking,
“You my girl, have no idea how nice you have it.
Stay at home mom, nothing to do but take care of a few kids.
How can you not figure out what is for dinner before 5pm?”
Yes, I know, that is precisely my question too.

And I know somewhere out there is a farm wife on Wed afternoon
planning her third meal of the day, 12th meal of the week, thinking,
“You have no clue. Not a clue whatsoever what real cooking is like.
You have no idea what life is like when there are 3 meals a day to make.
You have nothing to complain about when all you have to do
is come up with 1 meal each evening.”

Meekly whispers: I know.

I also realize there are people out there starving.
A mama in Africa would probably tell me I have no business
even asking such questions because at least I have food with which to cook.
I know. I know.

But today, this is my problem.
Or every day this is my problem.
And I can’t quit thinking about it.
And wondering how to fix it.

So now that I have been set in my place and have organization on my brain,
I am off to browse cookbooks, make grocery lists and try to figure out
what is for supper for the next 37 nights in a row.
And after I do all this organizing and whatnot,
I guarantee you I will not be hungry for whatever is on the menu for that one specific night and all my work will be down the drain.
Make it anyway you say, she says, ugh, good diet plan I guess.

Knowing me it will be 5pm tomorrow and I still won’t know what to cook.

Then I’ll call you and we’ll go out to eat.

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12 thoughts on “Of Cooking With Menus

  1. I am laughing so hard, because this is SO me!! I’ve tried the menu planning in advance (a week is the most I could ever do), and while it did take stress away each day, I always ended up switching meals around during the week because I wasn’t hungry for them on the correct day! Such a great post. 🙂


  2. I loved this post!! I have been menu planning over ten years now. It really makes my life soooooo… Much easier. Of course I have those days when I just don’t feel like what’s on the menu. I just substitute another meal instead ( either on or off the menu depending upon how I am feeling). A menu plan is like a schedule – a guide, but you don’t have to stick exactly to it 🙂 I only ever plan a week at a time and since we raise our own meat it’s around what is in the freezer ( or what is left before the next butchering). I then shop weekly too. I would love to do it monthly, but my planner which goes on my fridge only has space for weekly ( all three meals ). That’s my excuse :). I would love to hear how your planning goes!


  3. Where shall we go eat? Cause I gaurantee you I will be in the same boat come 5 pm!! 🙂 🙂 I have planned meals for a week at a time (for a short time, I might add) by letting the children choose the menu 3 night and the man and I 2 nights. I stuck to it better that way cause I couldn’t change my mind since I was making what THEY wanted but I default back into the “no plan” mode so easily! I wonder what it would be like to love being in the kitchen instead of thinking up ways to be in it as little as possible……………..


  4. Oh, yeah. I do the “It’s 5:00, shoot..! I gotta make supper!” thing way too often. 😦 my sister calls at 7:00, “Are you relaxing for the evening?” Ummmm, nnnnoo. We’re almost ready to eat supper! 😀 I blame it on the hubs coming home later. Or, the children had a big snack after school. It’s not usually my fault! Sure.

    I like to plan out menus, but too often my kiddos eat a very important ingredient and I can’t make “that” meal. I’ve considered putting locks and bolts on my pantry.

    Sigh… I think my best solution is to wait for summer… Till my girls are out of school and I can divvy up the meals mostly to them. 😉

    You aren’t alone in this boat!


  5. Stop with the yummy food pictures 😛 I’m not a meal planner, even though I’m a farmer’s wife 🙂 Even planning a weekly menu sounds too bothersome 🙂 And I do not “cook” 3 meals every day. Sometimes we have sandwiches, and soup out of a can. Sometimes you just keep it simple 🙂 I’d much rather worry about 3 meals a day though, than pack a lunch! Love your witty post!😁


    • Btw, I just found this recipe tonight and thought it looked delicious. So you can be my guinea pig and try it first and tell me whether it’s good. 😀


  6. Oh, my! This sounds like me. I can never stick to those pre-planned menus. We run into the same, exact problem, in that, we never seem to be hungry for the thing that is scheduled. I think it is some sort of psychological hang-up, but if it says I have to eat something, I will crave everything else BUT that! We recently discovered Raising Cane’s, so I am right there with you…they are one of our new favorites! You have a lovely blog. 🙂 God bless you and your sweet family.


  7. Great post!

    I use a very lenient meal planning system. On Fridays, I pull out 5-6 dinner recipes and I use those to make my grocery list. I keep those 5-6 recipe cards on the fridge and just choose from them each day, putting them away after I’ve made that recipe. Every once in a while we get to the last card and don’t want that for dinner that day, but usually this system works for me.


  8. This was hillarious to read. Love the double voices. I’m a menu planner, but only for a week at a time. It’s waaaay too far to the grocery store to wing it well, or then I’m just not good at doing things on the fly. Probably the latter. But if it were 5:00 and I had no idea what’s for supper….well, there might not be supper. 😛


  9. Love this! I only cook suppers too and feel guilty one the days my husband wonders why I can’t bring him lunch! (He works down the road) If I had more time maybe? Right?
    I love how you threw out every angle and still struggle with it. Sometimes (like today as a matter of fact) I’ll get a chunck of hamburger out of the freezer after lunch and then it haunts me in the sink because I know it’s there and I’ve changed my mind 7 times now on what to do with it!


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