This is getting out of control. Despite my appreciation for culinary delights, I find myself wishing every day for a magical food pill. How has this not been invented yet? I had such hopes after astronaut ice cream! I would welcome a food pill simply because I loathe “figuring out what to do for dinner”. I realize many people enjoy this opportunity to be creative, expand the palate and to delight the taste buds; I just want to get it done. Growing up, it was never an issue because my parents decided what would be on the menu each night. (Ugh. How did they do it?) From college through residency, I simply had meal “uniforms” to avoid making the dreaded dinner decision. I ate the same damn thing for every meal just about every day, unless one of my lovely friends presented an alternative that didn’t require my input. Don’t get me wrong – I thoroughly enjoyed straying from my routine, as long as I didn’t have to take part in the “what to eat” debate.
Getting married, well, now there are two of us to complicate the matter. Nightly dinner decisions with two human variables? Impossible. I wish I hadn’t taken my years of easy nightly dinner plans for granted. Every night it’s the same. We get home from work in rapid succession and talk for a bit. I try to mask my hypoglycemia and hunger/anger, as long OR days rarely allow for even a full snack. We passively avoid the topic and finally the inevitable rolls around: “Soooo… what should we do for dinner?” NOOOOOOOOO! I hate it! And every night, again and again!!!! I start twitching and want to lunge for almonds or so many carrots that my skin turns spray tan orange. We both just agree that we want to eat, but say that we “will eat anything”. Well, that willingness to eat anything is not productive. Not at all. This goes on for what seems like forever. Every. Night.
So, we are learning to deal with the nightly dinner debacle. (Yes, I know there are bigger fish to fry coming down the line, so it’s best to address the little stuff now.) These are some ways to decrease the supper stupor:
1. Have some regular take-out places. They make reliable default choices for when you are stuck.
2. Form a meal “uniform”. We usually make some stir fry-esque assortment of veggies and tofu and whatnot. Stir-Friday anyone?!
3. Trade off nights. Whoever is “on” has to decide what to make and deal with it thus bypassing any joint decision-making.
4. Try to make dinner an adventure. We have some good friends who pick a spot on a globe and cook the corresponding cuisine. This takes a degree of planning that we are not quite advanced enough for, but it’s a fantastic idea.
5. Trader Joe’s Microwavable Brown Rice. Seriously. This has saved me, in many ways.
6. It’s okay to do your own thing. Take a night off from dining together and just do your thing. Saltines with jam while standing and reading Vogue in the kitchen, popcorn, soup and grilled cheese, or my Mom’s classics – a caramel apple or nachos. Just be free, you guys.
7. Have a night out at a restaurant. That’s pretty straightforward. Um, but good luck picking the restaurant. That’s another ball of wax.
8. Make one night for new stuff only. This is tricky- it limits your choices in terms of what you can think of, but then you realize your choices are Bradley Cooper Limitless. Try keeping a restaurant list, or a recipe list and check them off. I say this like I do this- I definitely don’t. But maybe I will.
Well, now I’m hungry, sans plan. I’m just thankful that I never have to decide on breakfast or lunch, that my friends is solo and easy peasy. At least on weekdays.
So how do you all decide what on earth to do for dinner? How do you meal plan? How can I get more patient about this, as it will go on for the rest of my life???? Help!
Image via dennis-yu.com