Sarah of Ghost World is an impressively well-organized blogger and pediatrics resident (and Quo Vadis / Rhodia fan). Reading her recent posts about refilling an empty fridge and managing the loose ends in life reminded me of a subject I’ve been meaning to write about since I saw her advice on Carrots â€˜n Cake back in April: meal planning.
When I lived in Europe (Germany, Austria, England) for a few years after college, I fell in love with how easy it was to go to the farmer’s market every day, see what inspired me, and cook. Of course, I also had a lot more free timeâ€”the easy pace of European life is often oversold, but it’s definitely less hectic than your average New York day. The only thing you had to plan ahead for was Sunday, when everything was closed. And you could always go to a restaurant if you didn’t do your shopping on Saturday.
Here in Red Hook, I’m no longer close to a daily farmer’s market, though we do have a great supermarket. I work from home, and I don’t have kids, so it’s still relatively easy for me to pop over to the store at the end of the day and pick ingredients for that night’s dinner. Nonetheless, I’ve been experimenting with the idea of plotting out a couple meals in advanceâ€”in part because it’s summer, and I can now buy a bunch of vegetables at once at our weekly farmer’s market, and in part because, you know, life is stressful, and who doesn’t want more free time to read or garden or take an aimless walk around the block before dinner?
There are plenty of online tools to keep track of recipes and meals; many people also use their planners for that purpose. Thus far, however, I’ve been taking it 2-3 days at a time and using a simple shopping list as a mnemonic device.
How far in advance do you plan your meals?