So, Home Ec (which always gets red-underlined – thank you spellcheck, you suck) stands for Home Economics. And honestly, I’d have a better idea of what standard home ec curriculum included had I actually ever attended a home ec course.
Cat’s out of the bag!! I never took home ec in school – because I’m young enough that it had been eliminated from my middle and high school by the time it was my turn to select electives. So, BASIC programming and manual photography replaced an education in making food for myself and budgeting my income.
See what I just said there? My school district preferred to have us learning how to program pre-Donkey Kong era animation and taking edgy black and white silhouettes of our boyfriends instead of learning how to create edible food and functioning in the households we would inevitably be running. I am pro- archaic computer language, and pro- analog photography (hell, I’m pro- analog anything, because I’m from Chula Vista and I’m thinking there’s something in the water down there)… but I think Maslow was on to something. Even I have to admit: eating trumps hobbies.
We all manage to eat everyday… for the most part. Some of us better than others. Some of us with more refinement, or less. I know people who are really fucking weird about food, in all different directions (here in southern California, we absolutely own the market on ‘weird about food’). But it’s an integral part of being a metabolic entity. We eat. And we call what we eat, food. #Funfact.
There is no shortage of information on food, how to prepare it, what should be eaten, how it should be prepared, in whose company it should be ingested, and why. But all this stuff, even those food weirdos, that’s all the sexy part of food. It’s all about intrigue and levels of gastronomy, and being one of the few people who really gets it and only eats ________, and new flavor trends, and cookware and gadgets. I freaking love cookware and gadgets. I mean, I hate them. But I love them.
But what of the crap side of food? What about the boring part? The part that everyone is all like, “Yep, for sure going to do that, every time,” but gets abandoned for a shredded beef taco and enchilada plate from the Colima drive-thru more nights than they’d care to admit?
Allow me to present Home Ec side of food:
- Grocery shopping
- Meal planning
That’s right kidlets – time to face the music. Throw yourself a nice little tantrum on your kitchen floor and get it all out. This shit is not fun, for real. But neither is taxes or brushing your teeth or pelvic exams. Grown-ups have to do things that suck up front to save on suckage on the backend. Tired of being fat/feeling sluggish/having food guilt/being broke/sucking at cooking/not knowing where your sustenance is coming from/looking dumb in front of loved ones? Then it’s time to take a good look at the three categories above.
People are always wondering how I live on one shiny nickel per month and still feed my kids organic produce and drink premium craft beer hand over fist like it’s tap water. Here’s the gist of how I’ve tackled meal planning and budgeting:
Having a plan (though rife with un-fun adultness) is essential to getting out of the grocery store with your retirement accounts intact. (Retirement accounts… HA!)
Developing a system from your plan will take most (though not all, sorry) of the crap annoying parts out of meal planning. This means mitigating the parts you dislike about groceries and cooking (the resulting poverty? the cooking part? grocery store time-suck?) and maximizing the parts you do like (stuffing your face, burping contests, and enviable Instagram posts about how amazing you are at sustaining your family/self/self-and-dog).
Streamlining and internalizing this system until it hums like a fridge motor in the background of your brain means you won’t have to be a slave to the system forever. Remember how I hate being told what to do? If you’re doing this right, you should be able to casually wander into a grocery store and purchase legitimate, budget-honoring groceries without bursting a blood vessel. (Hangry shopping, excluded. I have a contingency plan if you’re trying to get groceries while starving and battling rush hour – but just know that the budget suffers. If this is analogous to your life in general, time to start seriously crushing that career and get a personal chef. You’re beyond domesticity.)
Next up I will provide you with a grip of tools to get you facing your meal planning and grocery shopping issues and handling that shit like a boss. And maybe we can all get to where we’re approaching consistency with our food preparation – or at least attempting it with confidence once in a while (let’s aim for improvement, not perfection, yes?).
Warm up those printers… talk soon!