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The Listmaker

I’m a list maker. I like to have ideas written down so that I can see them and hold them and move them around to look at them from different angles. Stephanie and I are different, and we approach things differently. I’ve told her that if it were ever my responsibility to prepare meals for the family, I would approach it in a very organized, concrete, list facilitated way. I would write out a monthly schedule of dinners, sketch out their main ingredients, and grocery shop accordingly. If something came up to interrupt this plan, I’d be flexible, but by and large I’d be able to look at the calendar and know what to make, certain that we had the fixen’s.

To this end, I once had the idea that I could make a list of all of the meals we enjoy and know how to cook. I started this but didn’t get very far. Recently it occurred to me that the easiest way to compile a list of what we like and know how to cook would be to keep a record of what we actually have for dinner every night. After a period of time, we could then begin to look back over this record and get a sense of our favorite meals.

 I’ve been doing this for almost a month now, and it’s gone pretty well so far. It suits my interest in data collection for self reflection. It suits my meticulous, list-making nature, and it’s just interesting to see what we’ve eaten.

Funny thing though (and I actually thought about this after the first week of recording our meals), the act of keeping track of what Stephanie is cooking for dinner every night is influencing what Stephanie is cooking every night. I’m not saying it’s for better or worse, but the fact is, this is the second week in a row that Stephanie has but some thought into “what we’re having for dinner this week,” and made a short list of dinners. I asked her yesterday if she always did this, and she said no, not typically, but since I was keeping track, she said something about not wanting to repeat herself. I think it’s because now it’s as if every dinner is becoming part of the Permanent Record. 

I’ve recorded twenty seven dinners so far. Of those, we’ve eaten out two times (remember, these are dinners only. I’m not counting lunches, where we’ve eaten out a few more times), and six times we either had leftovers, or a big lunch and no dinner, or just mac’ and cheese for the boys and nothing for us, and once we had a repeat. That leaves eighteen unique dinners. Four of these were salmon based dishes, six of them were centered on chicken, seven were based on ground beef (moose, actually, but you can’t taste the difference), and one was a tuna casserole.

I’m not sure what this says about us. Frankly, I think we’re probably fairly ordinary,  but it’s interesting, and I think I’ll keep keeping track. I know this probably sounds more than a little eccentric, but if a person could find a way to keep track of all kinds of things, and then be able to draw from this pool of data quickly and easily, so many other kinds of decisions could be made regarding the most efficient and cost effective way to do things. This is what data driven decision making is such an important part of organizational management, and it makes sense to adopt these same kinds of strategies in our daily lives. And I’m gonna just stop right here before I fall any further down into the pit of dorkdom. 

Posted on Monday, November 9, 2009 at 11:05PM by Registered CommenterBrian Rozell | Comments2 Comments

Reader Comments (2)

I'm pretty anal when it comes to meal planning. Every Sunday, we plan out meals for the rest of the week on the back of the grocery list, then we fill in the front with the ingredients needed. That way, we always know what we're eating which day, which leftovers to have for lunch, when to defrost the meat, etc. I also put down the recipe book/magazine where the recipe is and the page number, so it's easy to find.

If it's from a magazine and we like it, I'll tear it out and put it in our own recipe binder.

Someday, I want to get this, which would take your organization and dorkiness to a new level: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B001T43NQO/ref=nosim/thisnext-20
You can add your own recipes to it and sort by ingredient! Genius!
November 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLauren
wow.
November 17, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterwatson

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