Despite two years of culinary classes, I am still quite pathetic when it comes to menu planning. I've noticed that far too often in the past few months, dinner around here ends up being a "fend for yourself" affair. That's not setting well with me. The daughter of my friend, Terry, posted an observation on her blog, llama-et-burro, awhile back that really struck me: "Feed myself like I like myself. If I had a friend over for lunch and fed them a piece of cheese, some chocolate, a banana, and a glass of milk, I wouldn't be a very good friend." A very astute observation, indeed. Thank you, Alanna.
In the past, the hubs has done the majority of the cooking. But now that he's in the midst of working toward tenure and promotion, he really doesn't have time. He has a lot of other things on his plate, so to speak, and with a stay-at-home wife (again, who went to school for culinary arts!), he shouldn't have to. (This should not in any way, shape or form be mistaken for a subservient 50's mindset. Those who know me, certainly know better!)
Given the fact that I've accumulated literally thousands of recipes over the years, menu planning shouldn't be that difficult. I am making it more difficult than it needs to be. I think it has to do with the fear of rejection. Cooking is very personal to me; it's a way of expressing to people that I care about them. To make something that isn't well received can be very disheartening. While I get very excited about trying new recipes, I also get a bit anxious as well.
But it's time. So I'm now in the process of selecting recipes I want to try and making up my grocery list. A few of the ingredients I'll need are a bit on the pricey side, but not many and I don't feel badly about spending money on meals prepared at home. So far I have four recipes selected: another tagine (using beef instead of lamb) with couscous; General Tso's chicken with lo mein noodles; Spanish pork chops with chorizo and green beans; and pasta shells stuffed with spinach, pancetta and cheese. Not much, but it's a start.
I'd be lying if I said I was making one of these tonight. I've got the grocery list started, but I won't set foot in any store at the first of the month without the hubs along as my bouncer. Left over pizza it will be!