Menu Planning + Head Explosions

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My head exploded the other day. Metaphorically, of course, but still. Perhaps we call those “epiphanies,” or “revelations” maybe? That all sounds rather biblical and, unless accompanied by a burning bush, not accurate either. We’ll stick with head explosions.

A dear friend of mine here in the city looked at our refrigerator, where we’d taped our meal plan for the week, and actually giggled. “You know what you’re eating every night for dinner? This is amazing!”

The amazing part was that it was taped to the fridge. Normally we email it. But truly, my friends,  this is really not that amazing. It’s called Menu Planning, and I thought this was how everyone ate. But what ho! as a Jane Austen character might say. Turns out, no. From what I am beginning to understand, the average San Francisco millennial’s food situation looks like this:

Step 1: Acknowledge hunger.

Step 2: Cast about for  nearby food. If you work at Google, this is easy. If you work somewhere without schmancy perks, less so. If you work from home, even harder. And if you work from my home, you are snackin’ on hummus and baby carrots, all day every day people.

Step 3: Become cranky, descend quickly into angry. Hanger sets in.

Step 4: Eat Luna bar. Remain hungry.

Step 5: Cave and buy something processed, prepared, or go out to dinner.

Step 6: Repeat.

Or you could skip straight from Step 1 to Step 6 with careless abandon. Yippee skippee! I love spending all my money at restaurants!

Maybe it’s the impending wedding, impending trip to Iceland, impending honeymoon, or, you know, general stuff like life and how it costs money, but I do not love spending all my money at restaurants. I love spending money at delicious restaurants and savoring a meal like a fine wine or a conversation with a dear friend. I hate spending money on a Starbucks oatmeal, a bruised granny smith coffee shop apple, or a sub-standard sandwich, because I could handle all that myself and it would be so much better and cheaper. Many people – maybe even most people? – will pay a premium for convenience. I am just not one of them.

Most people think Menu Planning is something you do with kids or when you’re married or when you have nothing better to do with your time. But though I am a lowly apartment fiancé (a mere step below housewife), I actually cannot imagine not doing this. I don’t want to grocery shop more than once per week. I don’t want to spend more than $100 on groceries when I do it. And I want to live with my riches for a long, long time, eliminating both processed food-like substances and paying for said food-like substances completely out of the equation.

Ergo, Menu Planning! And since I am such a passionate menu planner, I thought it would be fun to both explain how we do it, and start posting our menus here for others to enjoy and possibly even use?! Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to know we were all eating peanut noodle spring rolls together on the same night. Because that’s what we are having for dinner here in SF tonight, and we’ll be keeping our head explosions to a minimum while we do it.

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9 thoughts on “Menu Planning + Head Explosions

  1. Joanna says:

    I LOVE THIS. Menu planning for the win. I don’t care how much it makes us seem like 80-year-olds, planning menus is a perfect example of painless thriftiness that leads to feeling comfortable and downright luxurious in your home and your life. Also I would like to invite myself over for Tilapia Tuesday.

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  2. mrshate says:

    I have made lists for years of “favorites foods to cook and combinations thereof>>>menu”, but my brain shuts down when I try to make it keep a schedule on this particular aspect of life. And that’s strange, because I know I it frees me to do “what’s right”. Here’s a quote that explains it…”there can be no spontaneity without organization”.

    Need to delve further into your postings re: menu planning!! 🙂

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    • Hilary says:

      @mrshate – so true! And I think we all have those long running lists of recipes we’d like to try, cocktails we’d like to mix, etc. It helps to be a major planner and to live in a city where life is just that much harder if you don’t plan ahead.

      Thank you for visiting! And best of luck with all your menu planning in the future 🙂

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  3. mrshate says:

    You’re welcome 🙂 And true…if I had to fight traffic, parking, toting groceries up staircases, etc etc I’d be planning way in advance. I live in a rural town less than 5,000…two grocery stores…so I need to rearrange my mindset 🙂

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  4. Eliz says:

    Your dear friend is pretty pumped you’ve decided to share all these menu plans. 🙂 (In case you’ve not noticed, I catch up on blogs, correspondence, planning, eating, sleeping, and having fun in the summertime, and it’s currently that time) 🙂

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    • Hilary says:

      LOVE summertime! Welcome back to cooking blogs and weekly sassiness from yours truly. Let’s cook something blog-worthy in our matching aprons from your mom when you come visit!

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