A Year in Our Kitchen (Week 4): The Kitchen Spreadsheet

by Laura on March 18, 2012

in A Year in Our Kitchen, Blog

This is the fourth in the A Year in Our Kitchen Series. Read the Series: Week 1Week 2Week 3

A few years back I incorporated meal planning into my weekly shopping. I did so for a variety of reasons. Meal Planning would reduce my stress during the dreaded late afternoon/early evening hours when kids are hungry and we’re all cranky. Meal Planning would cut down on my time in the kitchen, as I would have all ingredients on hand, meat or poultry defrosted, and casseroles standing by ready for reheating. Yes, meal planning would prepare me for whatever mealtime would send my way. Or, so I assumed.

Lately I have been hearing “Mom I don’t like this dinner,” way too many times for my liking. I’m not sure if this can be attributed to the changing tastes of my kids (kids change likes and dislikes as they grow); their more frequent attempts to voice their opinions (they like the meal, but would just rather something else); or simply my forgetfulness (“Since when don’t you like meatloaf?” I say to Addison. “She has never liked it,” the kids respond in unison.)

I have a feeling it is all three, but what worries me most is the latter –  my forgetfulness.

I pride myself in my ability to remember, organize, and keep the craziness straight.

I’m a well-oiled machine that knows the exact minute the kids should be putting on their shoes, taking their first steps to the car, and when to slip into a spot near the school before they’re all taken. I’m efficient when it comes to finding moments in between after school pickup and drop off for soccer and gymnastics practice, to get the rice cooker going, the meat marinating, vegetables prepped, the table set, and a quick stop at the grocery store for milk or other essentials my pantry seems to be without.

It requires diligence. It requires on-spot organizational skills. It requires a quick, well-rested (*chuckle*) mind, realizing that with one slip up, the domino effect that ensues can throw me into a tizzy.

But, for some reason, I’m floundering when it comes to making mealtime as stress-less as possible. At an alarming rate, the kids are announcing their dislike for meals, and I’m realizing that I need to hone my tactics.

It’s time to dig deep, into my working day bag of tricks and pull out some of the tools that helped me plan editorial calendars, wrangle freelance writers, meet deadlines, and get a magazine proofed and ready to the printer on time. Yes, it’s time to incorporate an Excel spreadsheet into my mealtime planning.

Hmm, a spreadsheet with all the essential information — noting each child, the meal served, on which date, how well they like it, and any special notes.

Then, I’ll run reports on each meal – graphing who likes it, over time – how popular that specific meal is when compared to other meals. Perhaps a quick visual (oh, I see a phone app here!!), will help me keep track of liked, and not so well liked, meals, to aid me in meal planning. Oh, my heart is racing, I envision graph after graph helping me determine what to make and what to expect on a meal-to-meal basis . . .

Right now, I have to get into the kitchen to get dinner started. Tonight it’s Vegetable Barley Soup. A quick look at my graph, will tell me that that I can expect to hear complaints from at least two of my children.

Back up plan anyone??


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Previous post:

Next post: