The Meal Record

This inspiration for this idea comes by way of Thrift at Home and her Supper Notebook.

I used to plan my meals for the week on ridiculous little scraps of paper. (No recycling compulsion at work here!) 😉

List on scratch paper

But, honestly, this method wasn’t terribly efficient or effective. And certainly not inspiring. Handy as a reminder of what I could cook for the week with what I had on hand and what I should shop for, but that’s about it.

When I read about Margo’s Supper Notebook I decided that this was something I should take up. In my modified version, though, I write down what I plan to cook (or where I plan to eat) for lunch and dinner throughout the week.

Notebook with list of meals

A side benefit of the Meal Record, besides its help in planning, is that it reminds me who I’ve been sharing my meals with. One of the things I missed most after graduating from college was always having someone to share meals with. I grew up in a family with lots of kids and dinner table conversation, and in the college cafeteria, you could always eat and talk with someone. So I have a love for lively and leisurely mealtime conversations.

Living alone (or with a housemate whose schedule is quite different from your own), inevitably leads to some solitary meals. I’ve adjusted over the years, but having a reminder of meals shared recently, makes dining alone at the moment less of a downer.

The nuts and bolts of the Meal Record are super simple. I use a spiral bound notebook and an unused pen (hence the annoying pink ink). The Record lives on my kitchen table with the designated pen. Sometime on the weekend before the grocery shopping I look through the fridge and the pantry and the recipe box or cookbooks and make a list of main dishes for the week.  Then I add the needed items to the grocery list, and I’m set.

Grocery list

As I eat a meal on the list, I add a check mark, and then I add a check mark for each time I eat the leftovers after that. In a very unscientific way, this helps me track how big the original recipe was and if I may need to halve the recipe the next time around.

So, that’s it. How about you? Do you have a meal plan or are you a spontaneous cook?

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