Let me start by saying, I have always cooked. Before we started this journey of not eating at restaurants, I cooked most nights of the week. Weekends were another story, but on school nights, I usually had no problem cooking. However, there were nights when I would call Matt about an hour before he got off work, and we would do the all-too-familiar “What’s for dinner?” dance.
Me: Hi, how’s your day going?
Me: What time do you get off work?
Matt: Six. Have you started dinner yet?
Me: Not yet, I’ve been (insert something like: dealing with Ryman being fussy, staying late after school, trying to decide what to make). What do you want for dinner?
Matt: I don’t know. What do we have?
Me: (with a very pitiful voice) I don’t know either. I guess I can look and see if I can figure something out quickly. We don’t have anything defrosted.
Matt: Do you want me to just pick something up on the way home?
Me: Well, I guess I could make (insert something intentionally unexciting).
Matt: You don’t want to cook, do you?
Me: No, not really.
Matt: I’ll just pick something up. What do you want?
Me: Thank you. I don’t care. What do you want?
Then we switch dances to the “Where do you want to eat? I don’t know. Where do you want to eat?” dance. I’m sure you all are familiar with that one.
When we really weren’t concerned about what we spent, it was easy to find an excuse not to cook.
I put plenty of pressure on myself to make something fabulous every night. So if I didn’t feel up to cooking a meal worthy of the food network, I didn’t want to cook anything at all. I now have to deal with the fact that on busy or lazy evenings, a sandwich can be sufficient. I will be forced to abandon the notion that being a “good wife” equals feeding my family a dinner a la Martha Stewart every night.
Matt will also have to be ok with leftovers. To his credit, he has come a long way. When we first got married, he wouldn’t even entertain the thought of eating something for a second time. It was less about “old” food as it was about eating something again he had eaten recently. There were definitely times we would go out to eat just to avoid eating leftovers. Now, he will occasionally bring some leftover chili or casserole for lunch later in the week. I have also found ways to repackage the leftovers so that he feels like it’s a new dish.
There are plenty more excuses we used for going out to eat as frequently as we did. While putting together our plan for attacking this huge challenge we presented to ourselves, we have confronted many of our excuses. We are well aware of the challenges we will face, and that this isn’t as simple as just saying,”We’re not going out to eat.”
In my next post I will talk more about the practical steps of our plan that are making making this process a little easier.