Friday, May 04, 2007

Meal planning

I am getting into the habit of planning and writing down main dishes for the coming week. I mean mainly suppers. (My creative thoughts and energies have yet to spill over to breakfast and lunch. Until then, we have to be content with what-have-you’s and leftovers, the usual “wing meal”. I just wing it…)

Even so, I find that planning for suppers alone requires a lot of time and thought and I sometimes run out of ideas. In order to make meal planning and grocery shopping easier, I started doing a weekly meal plan that entails assigning a geographical theme for each week on a four-week rotation basis, as follows:

Week 1: Filipino foods
Week 2: Western (Canadian, American, European)
Week 3: Asian (Thai, Korean, Chinese and Japanese)
Week 4: South Asian, Mediterranean, Caribbean, Latin American, African.

The plan looks cosmopolitan as though I am a well-traveled epicure, which I’m not. I know a few dishes from different corners of the world, and I pick up new recipes here and there. But I'm not a bon vivant. I still tend to avoid dishes with names I can’t pronounce, and recipes with ingredients I can’t spell. So don't be too impressed. My Italian food is pasta, South Asian is curry from India or Sri Lanka, Japanese is sushi and tempura, Mexican is taco or fajita, African is pilau or samosa, Greek is something with feta…

I imagined the Filipino week to be the easiest one for me. “It’s gonna be my no-thinking week,” I said. No recipe books. No measurements. No unfamiliar ingredients.

“Mom, no sinigang and adobo,” Gino said when he heard of Filipino week. But those are my two no-brainers!

I want to learn more international dishes. I want to be more adventurous just like the night I prepared Jamaican Jerk Chicken that was too spicy it upset some stomachs and sent people to the washroom.

Next week is Mediterranean, Caribbean, and the rest of the world not covered by weeks 1 to 3. If you have any suggestions, I will be gastronomically grateful.

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