I was asked about my dinner prep strategies during an interview last week, and I had to confess: I don’t give much thought to meal planning.
I’m not proud of it. I often wish I were more like the marvelous Melissa Joulwan, whose ingenious Weekly Cookup and Hot Plates concepts in her cookbook, Well Fed, make meal preparation a breeze. Or like Tammy Credicott, whose new book, Make Ahead Paleo, just arrived in the mail yesterday. If I really had my act together, I might even try cooking all my meals a full month in advance, à la Tricia Callahan of Once A Month Meals.
Sadly, I’m a shambling mess when it comes to meal prep, and there are days when I’m tempted to go foraging for a carnitas salad bowl with extra guacamole at Chipotle instead of turning on the stove. After all, meals are the one thing that can be easily and cheaply outsourced…
But then, I remember: nothing beats home-cooked meals.
Since going Paleo a few years ago, I’ve found that the only way I truly understand what I’m feeding myself and my boys is to roll up my sleeves and prepare our meals from scratch. In doing so, I’ve gained a newfound appreciation for whole, nutritious ingredients. Now, with countless hours in the kitchen under my belt, my culinary chops have slowly but surely improved. Like all skills, the only way to get better is to practice, practice, practice.
Plus, I love our little clan’s nightly ritual of gathering together at the dinner table; there, we can come together as a family to: Instagram the food (that would be me), wearily complain about all the Lego bricks underfoot (Henry), share defensive strategies in response to zombie attacks (Big-O), and count aloud the number of days until Christmas (Lil-O). I have fond memories of cracking jokes over supper with my parents, sister, and grandparents, and I want to pass on this important tradition to my kiddos.
Besides, cooking at home is far more budget-friendly than dining out every night.