I do not mealplan. At least, I don’t mealplan the way most food bloggers blog about their meal planning. From what I read, weekly meal planning involves detailed lists of meals for the week. The meal planning comes before the food shopping and the food prep. I guess.. I was sort of trained the other way. I food shop first – and then I meal plan. Unless I have something planned for which I need specific ingredients for, and that rarely happens more than once a month.
I guess, because I have a pretty set, if flexible, style of cooking, when I go shopping (without a plan!), I buy things which I know from experience, work with my way of cooking. I also tend to have everything I ever need in the kitchen in stock all the time – except the fresh stuff. So if for example, I want to eat lasagne tomorrow, – I have all the ingredients ready anyway. In my store cupboard I have onions, lasagne sheets, chopped tomatoes, dried herbs, even jarred white sauce. And in my freezer I have frozen mince, chopped spinach, shredded cheddar, and I might have broccoli or courgettes in my fridge – and I can make a lasagne out of all that.
Other days I’ll head home with a free evening and no plan, to a fridge full of vegetables, and I’ll just pull things out and put them all together in a stir fry and eat that with rice. To me meal planning is extra work. I understand that with more mouths to feed – and hence more ingredients needed to feed them, meal planning eases the store cupboard stock levels needed to be as flexible as I am. But for my life – which is already very busy, and my kitchen skills level – meal planning is a chore, and having to stick to a plan, which I may not feel like on the day assigned, is a chore.
For me, flexibility allows spontaneity, creativity and relaxation. Creating food in the kitchen is a pleasure. I allow the vegetables in the shop or market to guide me into my meals for the week. I let the jars in the fridge tell me what flavours to use in the next stir fry. It works out cheaper too – if there are any discounted vegetable, meat or sauces.. I grab them, and then I plan around them and use them. I don’t like major change, but I like these little randomness. I like.. knowing that I can eat well, I can cook well, and I can look after myself – without holding too much control over everything.
When life is so busy… With my schedule pre-filled Monday to Friday.. the little bit of freedom and spontaneity my kitchen allows me feels freeing. It feels like I weave a little bit of rainbow into my food everyday.
To my kitchen – I am so grateful to have you in my life. To have the freedom to create lovingly crafted spontaneous dishes in you. Thank you for having the storage space to allow me the utensils, sauces and spices I hoard. Thank you for indulging in my every food want and fancy. Thank you for being you, thank you for facilitating my growth.