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The Unnatural Cook

a chronicle of weekly meal plans from someone who can't just throw a meal together

In 2006, when my kids were 3 years old, we ran out of money. Completely. Pre-school did us in.

For the first time in my life I made a budget for the family. Cable went and so did babysitters. It became clear that if we were going to survive I was going to have to start cooking. Every day.

I never thought it would come to this. I married a fabulous cook. For years I was the grateful recipient of his talent; he cooked every night. I cooked occasionally – always for company – so there would be an abundance of praise. But once we had kids and I became the stay at home parent, roles shifted.

I am not a natural cook. By which I mean I don’t open the pantry and say, “Oh, raisins, tuna fish and peanut butter, I can make something fantastic out of that!” I am also not the type to see ingredients in the super market and get inspired. I am a woman who needs a recipe. I am an unnatural cook.

And so I began to make a weekly meal plan. On Sunday nights I’d sit down and come up with seven meals we could eat and then a grocery list to match the meals. Making the meal plans was agonizing. But eating well was thrilling. And so, it turns out, was living within our means.

The habit took.

Six years later I’m still making meal plans. I don’t do it every Sunday – the day of the week varies but I am, miraculously, still at it. Once a week I take my meal plan and grocery list to the store and rush through the shopping, pen in hand, crossing things off the list. I have to admit that more than once I’ve accidentally written on someone’s jacket with my open pen. Often people comment on my meal plans and most comments fall into the, “I could never do that!” category.

I disagree.

I know if I can do it, anyone can. And so I’ve started The Unnatural Cook. I’ll share my plan & hopefully, you’ll share some actual cooking knowledge with me. I still need a lot of help.

Nancy B.   •   The Unnatural Cook

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