The Eternal Question

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.

Food For A Fraction Of The Cost

7 thoughts on “The Eternal Question

  1. Cole likes to make this breaded pork cutlet recipe:

    I did spend one Sunday evening teaching him how to do about a couple of months ago.

    It’s too many steps for me on a weeknight but he enjoys using the meat pounder and the dipping and frying. He uses packaged breadcrumbs from Costco instead of making his own. They turn out perfect when he does it. I guess because he has nothing else to worry about. Dan makes a side dish — usually pasta with canned red sauce. I show up and eat.

  2. I will try this and let you know how the spouse and teenager respond. I am not optimistic but willing to give it a whirl. tell me what the kids’ favorites are that THEY cook!

  3. I’ve been asking this question every day for 38 years. The answer is usually “chicken.” Needless to say, we eat a lot of chicken, but it’s boring. I love to cook, so I’ve tried to find chicken recipes that are interesting, but he likes his chicken “straight” (roasted or fried, no spices, etc.). Once in a while I’ll ask him to barbeque, but don’t like my chicken charred rare. (The neighbors once called the fire department, seeing the flames from the bbq and thinking the house was on fire!)

    If you can get your husband to look at the Google calendar, that’s a great solution! Down the road, I might even develop a “What’s for dinner?” template for my family organizing and record keeping website.

  4. That is a really GREAT idea, my husband and I use Google calendar for social events, why not dinner? I love it!

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