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A Smart Argument Against Meal-Planning
And I kind of agree with it
Hello! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? A little over a year, to be precise. I’ve been thinking about you all. (Especially the folks who’ve subscribed since I suspended the newsletter—how did you even find me?) Before you get your hopes up, no, I’m not restarting the meal plans. I’ll clue you in on a secret: I’ve been working on a novel and the last year has been pretty critical in its progress. Yes, it involves food. Would I write a novel that didn’t? Anyway, it’s taking up most of my unclaimed time, which means I don’t have the free labor bandwidth I’d need to resume The Family Plan.
And that brings me to the reason I’m sorta-taunting you today: this very smart essay in Epicurious entitled, “Stop Telling Busy Parents to Meal-Plan.” It’s written by Lesley Téllez, who, full disclosure, happens to be a close friend of mine. Even if I’d never met her, though, I’d find her arguments against making precise meal plans compelling. She talks about the unpredictability of life with two littles, which makes even the best-laid plans impossible to pull off.
The reality, on a given night at our house, is that I will have to shoo my toddler out of the kitchen at least three times because she will have grabbed the paring knife, begged me for yet another string cheese, or dumped a bucket of toys next to the oven just when I need to put the sheet pan in. Usually, at the exact moment in a recipe when it’s time to vigorously stir a sauce, this wonderful little sprite announces that she needs to use the bathroom. One evening when I was at the stove, I heard the eldest shout, “You’re not supposed to pee on the rug!”
She also describes the way she handles mealtime, which frankly makes a lot of sense to me.
Now, considering that I started writing these interlocking meal plans for Epicurious, it’s a little funny to see an essay decrying them—but like I said, Lesley makes a pretty strong case. When I wrote a meal plan, I tried to take this frazzledness into account, but I suspect I made things more complicated than necessary.
Go take a look at Lesley’s essay. What do you think?
Stay safe, be kind, and enjoy what’s left of the summer.
P.S. if you do still want to meal plan, you’ll find all my old ones here. No reason not to re-use them!