Me: “What do you want to do for dinner?”
Husband: “I dunno.”
We have had this conversation every single day for about 100 years. It never varies. He never says, “Let’s get sushi!” Or “I’m cooking Coco Vin.” It is always, “I dunno.”
Sometimes if I complain about his failure to even try to help out with this, he suggests something – desperately as if I’m holding a gun to his head. And it will usually be something I cooked recently, as if his memory for meals doesn’t stretch farther back than a few days. If he cooks (which he does willingly and fairly often), he makes the same thing, exactly the same way, that he cooked last time. I wouldn’t find this nearly so frustrating if dinner wasn’t the center of his world. I believe that someone who cares that much about eating dinner should be adept at thinking of something he wants to eat.
But I have recently stumbled onto a solution. It’s not the perfect solution, which would be to hire our own personal celebrity chef – like Barbie (shown). But it’s working pretty well. And it cost nothing.
We both already use Google calendar to keep track of our schedules. So I created another Google Calendar just for dinners and shared it with him. I create a rough dinner plan for the week. I’m not very organized about this but when I have an idea, I drop it on the calendar. Sometimes these ideas come to me when I’m reading my email because I subscribe to several recipe newsletters. So, for example, when the Epicurious Recipe Flash arrives and I see a dinner that looks yummy, I cut and paste the url for that recipe onto the dinner schedule. And if the husband ever has a hankering to cook one of his standby dinners, all he has to do is drop it on a free day on the calendar. (That hasn’t happened yet but a girl can hope.)
Better still, I have it remind me – and him – what’s for dinner and if it needs any advanced prep — such as taking something out of the freezer or picking up ingredients. Sometimes that’s all I have to do. Once my husband knows what to do and has the ingredients and a recipe on hand, he is quite capable of preparing the meal. And the kids like to cook, too, so I put meals that they can prepare on the schedule, too. I set it to send them an invitation to it, as if it’s a party. And it reminds them when they are cooking.
So instead of being in charge of cooking all the dinners, I used Google Calendar to promote myself to Executive Chef. I do the planning and food ordering but my staff –sometimes –executes my plan.