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Week 3 - Sunday - Routines and Rituals

Whole Wheat Pizza and asparagus salad

Do you have food routines? That's not quite the word I want though. It's hard to find one that hits just the right note. Routine sounds so boring, and I'm talking about something everyone looks forward to. Ritual sounds a little too...serious. Custom sounds like it's the practice of my people. But I think you must know what I mean. Do you have foods on certain days, or foods that are signifiers in your household?

In our house, Sunday is pizza night, and Thursday is often Risotto night. I don't know why exactly, except that risotto can be useful in using whatever might have appeared in our box the previous day.

I often make Beans on Mondays, because that will provide me with plenty for lunches in the week to come. I often think I should do that on Sunday instead, but then we would have to put the pizza somewhere else, and I don't want to—it's such a nice way to end the week.

From time to time I try to work out a weekly map of meals, something like beans and rice on Monday, pasta on Tuesday, stirfry on Wednesday, and so on. I'm never very successful at adhering to these schedules, mainly because I don't have the technique to back it up. Stirfry, for example, is infinitely variable, but I'm rarely satisfied with how mine turns out. If you have or know of a terrific stir-fry recipe or technique, I'd sure love to hear about it.

My aim in all this isn't to routinize our meals even further, it's to provide myself with a framework for meal planning. The core of my produce for the week is decided for me, by the season and by the CSA. Thinking of something new to make every week is taxing—especially when you don't really get to decide what will go in it. A little list of basic (but variable) meals would reduce the time and energy I need to cook from the box every week.

We have a good old American breakfast today: scrambled eggs, hash browns, and toast. There's something about toast made from homemade bread that is so much better than store-bought—I can't explain why that would be, but toast from even my most unimpressive loaves is always head and shoulders above toast from bread I buy.

It's pizza for dinner, of course. Cheese pizza, since I missed my marketing day last week and still haven't gotten to the store. It is time to use up the last of this season's asparagus, and tonight I try a simple asparagus salad. I bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the asparagus for exactly one minute, then run cold water as I drain the stalks. Next, I pour some Everyday Vinaigrette into the bowl and put it in the refrigerator to chill.

It's good. My vinaigrette is just oil and vinegar and garlic and basil and salt, but combined with the flavor of the asparagus, it tastes a little mustard-y. Mustard is a traditional ingredient in French vinaigrettes, and I wonder if that would be a better choice to dress this particular dish, or if it would be redundant.

Sunday total: $10.81 (I opened a new bottle of wine). Remaining weekly allowance: $7.15.

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Do you have an index of the recipes you reference in this blog? I suppose that's a lot of blog-time to ask, but perhaps after the experiment is over, you could collect them all in one place. They all sound so good. :)

I don't know where to start. I am so pleased and have enjoyed reading this so much. I am not originally from CA, I grew up in MA and found my way out here...

Anyway, I have had a great time reading your blog.


Perhaps the word you're looking for is rhythms?

Like you, I plan these kinds of things all the time, but all too often they run head-first into reality. Really enjoying this experiment of yours, by the way!

I totally understand about the meal planning dilemma. Will and I used to (pre twins) try to plan our meals for the week. We even had this cool meal planning tool that we created (think magnets). But often we would get derailed with the best of intentions. I find meal planning extremely hard - especially with the smaller amount of time we have for it now that we have 3 kids under 4. Does everyone else feel this way?

I totally get what you mean with the whole routine/ritual/whatever thing. For me, it's breakfast. I wake up pretty early, even on weekends, and everyday I have either oat bran or oatmeal, along with fruit and tea. It sounds kind of monotonous, but I add different flavors and such to keep from getting bored (vanilla, almonds, raisins, fresh berries, honey, etc). The consistency of this morning routine is somehow reassuring and calming--making me less stressed when I start my day. And there is something very satifying in a warm, sweet, thick bowl of oatmeal or oatbran that helps put me in a good mood. It's odd, but I look forward to it every day.

Great blog! Thanks for all of this! And- I love the words 'routine', 'ritual', and 'custom'- as well as 'rhythm' suggested by a comment-or. Nothing boring about those!

sundays were pizza night at my house too when I was growing up - my dad always made it - and even though it came out different every time he made it (he never measured anything much) it always tasted dang yum - we'd watch the boston bruins & wild kingdom

and, oh yes, that was my mum making the other 20 meals of the week - too many frozen vegetables! but killadilla mac&cheese - not to mention octopus & moose-shaped pancakes

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» Week 1: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Photos | Summary: Under budget - $3.20
» Week 2: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Photos | Summary: Under budget - $13.34
» Week 3: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Photos | Summary: Under budget - $7.15
» Week 4: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Photos | Summary: Under budget - $6.41
» Week 5: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Photos

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