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What do you hate about cooking / meal planning?

(15 Posts)
missmaryp Mon 23-Jun-14 23:20:34

Hello lovely people,

I've been thinking a lot about food, and how shopping, cooking and meal planning is a chore rather than enjoyable for a lot of us. And then there's the added responsibility element for those of us on here who are providing meals for others too… and then there's the whole balancing nutrition and cost and time and ethics (and perhaps even specific dietary requirements) Easy. Ha! I'm struggling to enjoy cooking and I used to quite like it.

I'm bored of thinking about this all on my own, so please converse with me! What do you hate about shopping and meal planning? How do you make it easier / more enjoyable / cut costs? Do you manage to buy any food locally or is it mostly from the supermarket? Do you do a weekly shop or do you find you have to go out in the week to top up? Anyone use any good meat boxes or veg boxes or these new recipe and meal kits?

Regards, a mum with not enough time in the day looking for your helpful pointers and shared experiences! smile

CottonbudCatastrophe Mon 23-Jun-14 23:42:00

I dislike having to come up with a meal plan that suits DH (massive appetite, practically a carnivore, cheese addict), me (love salad, lentils, rice, sprouted beans -proper veggie food although I lapsed years ago) & DD who is only 2.

DH never contibutes any ideas except pizza, toasties, things with wedges. He won't eat the same 2 nights in a row so if I batch cook it has to be frozen.

We have a list of standard meals that we vary a bit each week. In summer it usually includes some kind of pasta bake, pizza, fish fingers/sausages with wedges, pasta with sauce from Aldi or homemade if I have time, sandwiches, beans/cheese/egg on toast, baked potatoes with something. I try to vary it but DH is funny about food & will just put off having the unusual choice until the end of the week, then we don't end up having it. If I change my mimd at the last minute about what we're having, he often won't eat it, even if it's something he likes & has eaten many times. Drives me mad. So if I discover that something is about to go out of date & needs using up, I often can't do anything about it as he will refuse to eat dinner.

We don't get a veg box as can't be certain we can be in to accept delivery. Meal kits are really expensive aren't they? We mostly just cook from fresh, although we do use a lot of tinned tomates, frozen veg etc. We make our own bread, just buy additional milk through the week. Shop at Aldi to keep cost down.

chickydoo Mon 23-Jun-14 23:47:03

All of it!

Rainydayblues Tue 24-Jun-14 06:28:20

I menu plan for 6 days a week, the seventh day is pot luck, take away meal out etc, something always seems to crop up, so this stops me over buying...if I don't plan I end up having to make too many trips to the supermarket and I always end up buying stuff I don't need.

I get a cup of tea and a few books out and flick through. I have a list of family favourites which I use for inspiration, usually I choose a couple of low effort dishes like slow cooked pork/lamb, a quick back up is always in the freezer in the form of spag Bol or pesto. I like to try new things...usually at least once a week.

My dcs are generally good at trying new things, but I'm on a strict diet (not for weight loss) which can be a challenge to make food suitable for me that they will eat....luckily dh is fairly relaxed about whatever I cook - he always loves it.

I've always cooked from scratch - for health reasons but mostly because I've never liked the taste of processed if I don't cook I don't eat and that is what motivates me...and the dcs seem to be following the same path.

I do one main shop a week from Waitrose, would love to find a good butcher but the local ones are overpriced for the quality of meat they supply. I pick up bits during the week like milk and extra veg. Veg boxes have never worked for me - we always end up with a glut and the quality has been poor - old bendy veg is not very appetising.


Droflove Tue 24-Jun-14 11:39:29

I love it but get the rage at people not eating this and that. Currently regularly cooking for inlaws and FIL is like a 5yr old not liking many foods. My hubby isn't a fan of stews and casseroles but has been told it's unacceptable to not eat these things and give negative influence to our kids about major groups of food. So when it's just us, I love meal planning and cooking a wide and varied healthy diet for everyone.

574ejones Tue 24-Jun-14 12:17:24

I do generally love the meal planning element, not so much the shopping part, but I like to really think about how I can plan to use leftovers. I am also using my slow cooker a lot (partly because it is still a novelty). So, for example, this is my week:
Sat: Slow Cooker Thai green chicken curry with rice
Sun: Slow Cooker pork chops with cider gravy
Mon: Macaroni cheese with bacon & peas
Tue: Slow Cooker roast chicken
Wed: Ginger chicken noodles (with leftover chicken)
Thu: Lasagne
Fri: Courgette, ham and cheese tart with salad

21mealspluscake Tue 24-Jun-14 13:49:04

I love eating, seriously! And I love cooking too and trying new recipes and ingredients but it is time consuming to be able to eat well and overwhelming sometimes too to be the one who is always responsible for what goes onto the table, to always have to make the decisions, make the menu, do the shopping list and most of the shopping and then do most of the prep and the cooking.

I am a meal planner with varying degrees of success. I signed up to a veg bag scheme a couple of months ago - [ Local Greens]] - if you're in south London and now use that as the starting point for the week. To be honest I found that really difficult to start with, having to create meals from a predetermined - and not by me! - set of ingredients but the veg is really good quality generally and I'm starting to enjoy the challenge of getting a variety of meals out of it each week. So last week we had
Thursday - salad nicoise using mixed greens, cucumber, tomato etc
Friday - warm artichokes with butter and some parma ham and mozzarella and crusty bread
Saturday - lamb and spinach kofte stuffed into pitta breads with beetroot salad, cucumber with coriander and yoghurt
Sunday - pitta with beetroot, cucumber, carrot and dill and some HM hummus
Last night was a pasta sauce made with roasted tomato and courgette topped with garlic breadcrumbs and Parmesan and tonight is a potato frittata with the last of the cucumber/beetroot/carrots/lettuce as salads.
I used the broccoli to make soup with ginger and coriander and stuck it in the freezer for another day.

I probably spend less, and certainly eat less meat which was something i wanted to do as the meat I buy comes from Ginger Pig and, while it is good value, it is expensive. I shop weekly at the market, avoid supermarkets much as possible and am lucky to have a DP who will try anything new with an open mouth mind.

missmaryp Tue 24-Jun-14 13:52:27

I wish my LO would 'let me' use the slow cooker! She has decided she doesn't like stew, casserole or soup… anything that can be cooked in batches basically. Grrr! I think I need to get on the meal planning bandwagon. I don't drive either though so carrying food for the week can be a problem.

I'd really, really like to buy as much of my food as locally as possible but the butchers and greengrocers in town in the main stock stuff from all over, so although it's a pretty reasonable price, it's no better than going to the supermarket from a local food point of view (although at least it's supporting the local economy I suppose). I need a 'we only sell local food' mini supermarket. And someone to plan my meals and tell me what to buy!

AggressiveBunting Tue 24-Jun-14 13:58:35

Everything, so I don't do it and live on salad with either omelette, prawns, salmon or cheese or covent garden soup. fortunately my nanny likes cooking and she cooks for the kids. I dread the day they start school because then she'll leave and I'll be back in the culinary hot seat.

ShoeWhore Tue 24-Jun-14 14:04:38

I used to absolutely love cooking before I had kids.

For me the main problems are lack of time, ds3's fussiness (tbh ds1 also has his moments) and budget. And the sheer relentlessness of it all. I am really lacking in inspiration at the moment.

What used to be pleasurable and relaxing is now a massive chore sad

JennyWren Tue 24-Jun-14 14:27:38

For me, it is the relentless responsibility of it all. So I started giving my DC and husband the responsibility of choosing one main meal each week, and I fill in the blanks. The only rule is that it can't be something that we ate the previous week. I also now do one major monthly shop, where I buy all the basics for that month - so, one packet of tuna pasta bake mix, one tin of coconut milk for a Thai curry, one pouch of hollandaise sauce. Then I just buy fresh top-ups weekly. That makes the shopping much similar, and I can usually get away without going to the supermarket (just using the butcher and farm shop) at least one week each month.

I have a mental plan that each week we'll eat fish once (and rotate between baked fish parcels, homemade fishcakes, seared tuna/salmon with stir-fried veg, fish pie, fish baked with spinach and hollandaise...), one pasta dish (rotating the presentations), one curry/stew, one pizza/Mexican/stirfry meal, one jacket-potato-with-fillings meal and one 'something from the freezer' meal, and on the last day we eat leftovers or have a take-away or just buy what we fancy from the butcher. That makes it easier to put together a varied and balanced diet. I tried scripting for every day but it was too restrictive - we started wasting food that had gone off because I'd planned to use it and then we had changed our plans at short notice - especially at the weekends. That works well for us.

JennyWren Tue 24-Jun-14 14:31:29

I meant to say That makes the shopping much easier, but it does actually make the big monthly shop similar month-to-month as well. I tend to do that shop as an online delivery - I'll order a month's-worth of tinned tomatoes and soft drinks, toilet rolls and so on - all the bulky or heavy stuff, and I have found that it has brought my costs down because I do the big shop online and so aren't distracted by special offers and the smaller shops I have a tight list and just get in and out as quickly as possible.

misscph1973 Tue 24-Jun-14 14:37:10

Cottonbud, I don't think you have to be in for deliveries, I get Riverford and a meat delivery from a company called Roaming Roosters, and neither even knocks my door, they just leave it in my (open) garage.

I love getting deliveries, it's so easy. I don't get a supermarket delivery at the momen as I get the other deliveries and I live very near a couple of supermarkets.

A good tip is to keep your freezer well stocked, but keep a list of what is in there so you don't forget about it. Some weeks I simply plan what to have the following day based on what I find in the freezer and it thaws over night in the fridge (by far the safest way to thaw meat).

I make lots of curries, Madhur Jaffrey is my main inspiration, her recipes are easy and always turn out great. I make enough so we have leftovers.

574ejones Tue 24-Jun-14 16:02:59

I have to add that meal planning is a lot easier now that my two are older (12 and 16) - I used to make very child centric meals. It is much more hassle when they are younger and hungry the minute you get home from work.

42andcounting Thu 03-Jul-14 23:10:47

I pretty much hate all of it, but top three on my hit list are 1) trying to cook whilst juggling bedtime routine with a fretful teething baby, 2) the fact that veg goes off in no time flat so if I buy spuds and carrots on tuesday they are sprouting/soft by Friday meaning I have to supermarket shop twice a week (I'm sure veg used to keep for ages in the fridge!), and 3) the sheer relentlessness of it all, always trying to think of something new to have, then getting a lukewarm reception and chucking yet another recipe into the recycling bin.

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