Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Cooking the books

How do you feed your family? Some people feed them off the supermarket shelves, straight into the oven then into the mouth - minimal cooking required. Some people have more-or-less the same shopping list each week: fish on a Friday, mince on a Tuesday - minimal planning required. I am not very minimal.
I have some laudable motivations: health of the family, health of my purse, variety of diet, foods in season, throwing little away, planning around my weekly organic vegetable box (my only remaining monetary treat since our income was squeezed by three boys, a new house and my stay-at-home-mummy dreams).

I also have some selfish motivations: an obsession with gorging myself on recipe books - the reading of, rather than the eating out of (though I do that too), being a bit obsessive with planning and listing things (luckily I'm not the only list-crazy lady around), and that lovely smug feeling you get from pretending to be selfless and feeding your family healthy, hearty, yummy food.
Here's what I do: I see what's coming in the vegetable box each Wednesday and then I plan a week of meals based on that and what's in season. I try to stick to it to avoid chucking once-edible things away. But behind this weekly activity is a longer-term, very self-indulgently selfless one: I go through every recipe in every recipe book I have. I check for what we'll like, what I'll cook, and what will feed us all. I write each recipe down in a list. I keep all my recipe books in an order (alphabetised by author; dated within each author - I know, OCD). And then each week I move on to a new recipe book to choose my menu from. I try new recipes as far as I can, before recycling old favourites (after cooking, the recipe gets a little rating/comment). So I aim to one day have cooked every recipe we'd like to eat from every recipe book we own!

Today is shopping list writing day. Last week we were on Nigella Bites, this week we're onto her 'Feast' book, and next week it's her 'Kitchen' before we move on to another cook. I really like 'Feast'. It's a good read, a novel approach, and it suits our tummies.

A lot of my blog so far has been sewing-related, as that's my new crush. But cooking the books is my long-term love, and I really ought to include more of it here. I thought I'd try to do a weekly round-up of what I've cooked and what we thought. What do you think?

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