I love lists and whenever I find myself overwhelmed, I react by making a list. Or filing something.
Making lists and creating a beautiful filing system gives me the illusion that life is under control. And even when it isn't, the process of writing a list of my problems or filing away papers that upset me is an incredibly comforting act. Once the offending papers are filed away and the to-do list is safely recorded on a piece of paper, I can (usually) stop thinking about these difficult issues until the time comes to tackle them head-on.
So when I recently started feeling overwhelmed by the idea of preparing Sunday dinners that everyone in my family would eat, I reacted by making lists-- a lot of lists. Because I know that my list-making obsession has a tendency to overwhelm others, I'm only including two of those lists here. I'm hoping that by writing these lists, I will be able to narrow the focus of my menu planning and figure out what's really important when preparing Sunday dinner for my family. And even if it doesn't work, it's certainly made me feel better-- at least for the moment.
LIST #1: My Favorite Sunday Dinner Foods
1. My father's country ham
2. Blue crabs (hand-cracked by me outdoors by the water at a newspaper-covered table)
3. Coconut cake with seven-minute frosting
4. Daniel's Chicken Mole
5. Spicy eggplant with pork from Yang Chow's
6. My mother's beef burgundy
7. Croissants with jam (especially marmalade)
8. Sweet pickles
9. Sand Dabs- pan friend and served with capers and beurre blanc
10. Chocolate covered candied orange peel
LIST #2: Top 10 Sunday Dinners That I Already Prepare
1. Spinach lasagna
2. Fish and chips
3. Spaghetti and meatballs (with lots of parmesan on the side)
5. French Toast
6. Pancakes (or Waffles) with maple syrup and a side of bacon (and mimosas for adults)
7. Mac and cheese (this is really a kids' favorite)
8. Roast chicken and veggies
9. Sweet and Sour Meatballs with Rice
10. Fried chicken fingers (with dipping sauce for adults)
I'm a little disappointed to notice that my two lists don't have much in common. I'm not surprised, just disappointed. However, it does explain why I've been feeling so bored with everything I cook. It’s not that I dislike any of my family’s favorite meals. To be honest, there aren’t many foods in this world that I actively dislike and I won't cook anything that I really hate. It’s just that I wouldn’t classify any of the foods I regularly prepare for Sunday dinner as my favorite foods. Except for bacon. I must admit that forgot bacon when I made my favorite food list. Obviously, I need to find a way to incorporate foods that EVERYONE in the family will enjoy, myself included.
So until the next post, I'll be working on ways to include more of my favorite foods into our family meal plan. I'll also be asking my family members to give me lists of THEIR favorite foods. If you want to get in on the action, send me your lists-- the good, the bad, and the ugly.
In the next installment of this thread... LIST #3: Foods I Think My Family Should Eat (or Eat More of…)