Thursday, June 26, 2014

Day Twenty Six: The Personal Menu

Image from Flickr

Imagine, having won the lottery of course, that you employ a personal chef who creates delicious and nourishing meals for you three times a day, and has nutritious snack options for your 4pm afternoon tea if needed.  He or she has a list of your preferences and then goes to work creating your personal menu which keeps you happy and healthy.

I sometimes dream about that, about having my own personal chef like the super-rich do.  In my movie-star life I’d never have any weak moments where I eat something that ‘I feel like’ rather than the more health-giving option that is better for me but not yet prepared or even thought of.

But even if I did have more money than I could ever spend, even if I had a personal chef on call, I would still have to tell them what I wanted to eat, at least to start with.  They would have to know that I don’t like too much dairy apart from yoghurt, I don’t eat pork/ham/bacon and that I don’t like bready meals such as hamburgers.

Coming up with the ideas is the hardest thing about feeding ourselves don’t you think?  The most bothersome part about making dinner at home is dreaming up something to make that is yummy, healthy, not too expensive and quick to prepare.  After that it’s easy, once you know what you’re having.

Sometimes when I’m having a particularly moreish lunch or dinner I think to myself I must write this down so I remember it as an option.  Particularly in the case of things I used to make but then forgot about.  When I re-remember them I don’t want to forget again.  That way I don’t fall into the rut of the same few meals that I repeat over and over so that there is no danger of forgetting about them but there is a danger of dying of boredom.

All this gave me the idea to build my own personal menu.  I can start with the household favourites and fallbacks, and add on as time goes by.  There are the healthy weekday meals such as a beef mince stir-fry, the weekend meals that take a little bit longer (like roast chicken) and the treat meals such as homemade fish, chips and coleslaw or spaghetti bolognaise.

I’d add to it as we come across meals we’ve enjoyed, and when we’re stuck for inspiration we can peruse the menu to see what we’d like.  I can jot down ideas for seasoning or sauces and of course try tweaking things too to use up items I already have.  You don’t actually need a huge amount as there are only seven days in a week, but I think building up a menu of fourteen dinner options would be a good amount.

I’m talking about dinner here, as breakfast is pretty easy and so is lunch.  It’s always the day of that you think to yourself ‘what are we having for dinner?’ and your mind goes blank.

I have an inexpensive school notebook in my handbag that I can make notes when I think about them.  Not having a fancy one means I am happy to write down anything and I can tear pages out as I’m done with them.  This is where I write down meal ideas as they come to me and work on formulating my personal menu.

It’s an idea that I am actually really excited about putting into practice.

So, what do you have planned for dinner?


  1. Perhaps not your ideal dinner but we are having bacon and eggs, mushrooms and tomatoes. Breakfast for dinner is easy and satisfying.

  2. You may also want to check out cookbooks around ideas like low-carb or quick suppers. If you try and eventually add 2-3 to your usual rotation, you are definitely ahead of the game.
    Of course a light fluffy omelette works any time of day for us. With a filling of whatever's leftover, plain, or often just some herbs from the garden.

  3. I always plan meals, I hate coming home and not knowing what I am going to cook, flexibility and pickiness requires leisure. I plan meals based on the amount of energy I will have on a particular night -- Mondays are my day off so a roast or casserole, Thursdays must be quick and easy. Increasingly I plan the vegetables and then the rest of the meal.

  4. this is my achilles heel for sure. But I'm working on changing that.

  5. My husband does not like vegetables or fish so I have to plan two meals. He'll often have beef and canned peas and I'll have fish and vegetables. We eat out a lot as we have different schedules.

  6. I love to cook and try new recipes but I do have a few basics in my recipe box that I keep going back to. We eat a lot of chicken as it is so versatile. Tonight we are having Caesar salad and fettuccine has bacon in the sauce so it would not suit your taste.
    I am enjoying your 30 day series and would love to read more....I hope you have something planned for next month!

  7. I just watched Haute Cuisine on Netflix streaming last night -- about Mitterand's (French PM) personal chef. Loved it! I'm having ribs, mashed potatoes and asparagus tonight. Our college son is home, so I'm making a little bit larger meals these days!

  8. Funny, I find lunch is the most difficult meal to plan. Sandwiches and salads are all I can ever think of for lunch, and those two items get boring real fast!

  9. I have just been inspired by Colombian cooking. My husband decided to do a fundraiser for Rotary hosting a Colombian night, so I investigated Colombian food to cook for the night. I did a trial run of all of my choices first and have now found 4 totally new to me, delicious and easy meals to add to my repertoire. If you ever get stuck in a rut, pick an interesting country and explore it's cuisine.


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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