Yep, I’m writing a guide. I mentioned this last week and have spent some time putting my thoughts into words. So here’s the intro on managing your kitchen!
The Real Guide To Managing A Kitchen
We’re here today to talk about managing a kitchen in a house full of people and things that don’t want to be managed. Whether you have one kid or eight, or none, or a husband and a dog, or just a cat, you know that you have to eat every day – several times per day – and that you’re probably in charge of feeding all those other mouths as well.
And by now you probably also know that it’s a hassle to wrangle up food three times a day, especially if you want it to be healthy, or budget-friendly, or something that doesn’t get handed to you through a car window.
I tried to use the word “planning” in relation to this list with a friend recently and she immediately stopped me. “I’m not good at planning,” she said. “It just never works for me, so why even start?”
So I’m using the term “managing” instead, because this is something that most of us can get our heads around. You’ve said it a hundred times: “If I can just manage to get through this day…”
Well I’m here to tell you that you CAN manage through this day. And the next one, and the next. In fact, I’m here to help you manage your way into an easier and less stressful family life – by managing your food and your kitchen.
No, managing your kitchen won’t solve all your problems, or make your kids math homework easier, or magically make poster board appear in your house the night before a project is due. But when you can manage your kitchen, you take a constant stressor off the table. You eat healthier, and you spend less money.
Think about it. Food is something you have to eat at least three times a day. So does everyone else in your family. And most of the time, YOU are responsible for putting whatever they are going to eat in front of them. If you could spend an hour or less, once a week, to produce a simple guide to follow that tells you (and them) what that food will be, don’t you think it would be worth it?
“IMPOSSIBLE.” Someone said to me. But it’s NOT.
Kitchen management isn’t about cooking big, complicated recipes or fancy meals. It’s about having an answer to that constant question, “What’s for dinner?” and knowing you have the supplies on hand to make it and having food on the table at dinner time.
So no, I’m not advocating that you become a gourmet chef, or that you literally cook every meal. What I want you to do is make decisions. Choose and execute. Dinner just needs to happen and you can do it!
A few notes before we begin:
This is written from a mom’s point of view;
With the assumption that kids are (sometimes) picky;
And that we seldom get help in the kitchen – at least not as much as we’d like.
I assume that you are busy living your life;
And that you’re looking for ways to minimize cooking time and effort;
But that you don’t make millions to spend on obscure ingredients or shopping in posh markets;
And that you like to eat good (i.e. yummy), healthy food.
In short, this is a real guide for normal people. People who are often hungry.
Also, there is more about this plan than just dinner. Many bloggers and food writers are focused on dinner, which is great – family dinner is an important thing to work into your life! But guess what? Breakfast and lunch have to happen, too. Even if you’re throwing money at your kids to buy a school lunch, you still need to have that planned ahead! But I’m a fan of eating food from home, so I’ll be talking about packing lunches, and making breakfasts in addition to planning ahead for dinner.
So with that in mind, I’ve drawn upon my 16+ years of cooking – and eating – with my family of four to develop this 10-Step Guide to Managing a Kitchen:
So here it is:
10 Steps to Managing Your Kitchen
Step 1: know what you’re eating today, and plan for tomorrow
Step 2: inventory
Step 3: a multi-day plan + shopping
Step 4: mastering the weekly dinner plan
Step 5: breakfast
Step 6: lunch
Sub step: school lunches
Step 7: automate the plan
Step 8: recipe management
Step 9: how this works with all your other stuff
Step 10: evaluate & adjust
- Veggie boxes
- Subscription meal services
Stay tuned for Step 1!
While you’re waiting for Step 1 to arrive, I’d love to hear your strategies for managing your kitchen. Drop me a line if you’ve got a method to your madness. I’d love to hear it!