Monday, April 12, 2010

Le Menu

In life it is important to allow yourself to be excited by the little things, or at least feel a little inner glee at the things that make your heart sing. Sucessful people are passionate, or so it seems. And for passions to become passions, one must embrace them for yourself and disregard how they seem to others.

One thing I am passionate about is meal planning and the important correlation between this and food waste. Throwing away food makes me sick. It's a waste of money, time, resources and most of all, there are plenty of people in the world who could have enjoyed or at least appreciated it. After reading Angela's Ashes as a teen, I hammered my little brothers at the dinner table with stories of how hungry some children are. When they didn't eat their veges, at least I could console myself with the knowledge that their scraps were sustaining our chooks who gave us eggs in return. There is little room for chooks in my small yard so instead I plan a weekly menu and eat every scrap on my plate (warning: this can be bad for your waistline so learn to dish up reasonable portions).

Food waste is also disastrous for your carbon footprint. According to an article I read last October titled Sydneysiders 'dump food, degrade planet', decomposting food is a major cause of greenhouse gas emissions. Alarmingly, one is seven shopping bags purchased is thrown away uneaten.Can you believe that?

On shopping day, menu planning requires you to find out how many people will be home for dinner on each night of the week. It also requires checking what you do have in the fridge before you shop so that you don't end up with too much of something that will go off before you eat it.

On the positive side, you can look forward to not having to answer that much-asked question "what's for dinner?" because you'll have it all mapped out. Another plus can be having the meal started or even cooked by other members of the household who beat you home and look at what's on the menu. If you're worried that others don't know how to make that evening's dish, get into the habit of leaving your recipes on the bench each day (if they can read and follow instructions, they can cook!).

When I started planning our "menu" several years ago, I would hide it in the pantry for our eyes only. It seemed daggy in the way that it took away the spontaneity in the nightly routine. The biggest driver in creating the menu was to make life a little easier at the end of the day -coming home hungry, tired and stressed makes decision making difficult - but there is no denying that the other two drivers were saving money and waste. Rubbish and saving can both be yukky but the weekly menu is ingenious and very soon it moved to the fridge for the world to see.  Now I've moved it to a blackboard on the wall, mainly because I found a blackboard that makes my heart sing. So far I've written out three weekly menus and it has been fun to make like an old-school teacher putting chalk to blackboard. What do you think of 'Le Menu'?
Bistrot De Paris blackboard from Bed Bath N Table (03) 9654 7510

In life you have to do what makes you happy, or at least what gets you by.

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