Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Colouring in the week: when the cooking gene goes walkabout

Has anyone found my cooking gene?

You know, it's the one that enables any domestic goddess worth her salt to nourish her family with delicious meals, any day of the week.

Well, mine went missing a while back. It jumped over the fence and legged it and it ain't come back. You see, it's not that I can't cook, I just can't be bothered.

Does anyone else get this? You know the thing, where food loses its inspiration and you can't think beyond the anti-climax of the next ham sandwich?

Recipes don't help either. Too many fiddly bits, and I'm not good at detail. If someone dares offer me a recipe, even in kindness, it's enough to send me running to the hills, (a challenge when you live in Suffolk). It's not that I'm ungrateful, it's that I have some kind of phobia of measuring spoons, jugs and weighing scales.

The real problem is that even my favoured Ready, Steady, Cook bung it all in approach has gone and done a bunk.

Personally, I blame it on changes in routine. It coincided with end-of-term and the beginning of the holiday. Then Mr A went back to work with the odd day spent in the office, the next banqueting at a conference, or the following coming back on a late-evening train from London with a sandwich. And now the kids are back at school. One part-time, the other full-time, while I'm always at home.

There are so many mixed-up appetites, I feel like I'm catering for an army of schoolgirls instead of a family of four.

Anyway, I think I've devised a cunning plan, or rather tripped over one when I wasn't quite looking.

It all started last Wednesday.

The kids came home from school and I cooked up some pasta. It needed to be quick because they were hungry. So I added some sweetcorn and then grated some cheese on top.

My eldest came rushing into the kitchen pleading starvation. Pasta isn't always his favourite dish, so when he begged to find out what was for dinner, I knew I needed to sell the idea to him.

I looked blankly, paused for inspiration and blurted.......


He looked at me and said "err yellow?"

To which I replied.

"Yes, tonight's dinner is yellow".

Suddenly he called to his brother "Tonight's dinner is YELLOW".

And they both did an excited jig, finished their yellow dinner and asked if the next day's dinner could be ORANGE.

So ORANGE THURSDAY came and went with breaded fish, chopped carrots and an orange and rice salad.

Then there was RED FRIDAY with spaghetti bolognese, some chopped red peppers and reddish-brown pasta, followed by some delicious strawberries and raspberries.

So it looks like we've finally found the answer. The kids plan the menu with whatever colour they decide and all I need to do is come up with the goods.

I've got a feeling they might not pick GREEN again though.

I don't think that Spaghetti with runner beans and broccoli was quite what they were expecting!



Anonymous said...

Ha - brilliant! Back in my Waldorf Steiner days, he set up a system where a different grain and colour is represented for each day of the week. I really like the rhythm it can bring to a week by having something like that.

Glad to see you found your cooking gene in the most artistic of ways :)

Purple night should be interesting!

Mrs G x

Sharon J said...

What a good idea. I would never have thought of that. Very creative :)

Jo Beaufoix said...

Oh that sounds good. My 'Book of Rubbish Ideas' just arrived. I am so excited. :D

credit cards surfer said...

Nice! Very originl and useful post! You see, my sister-in-law is going to marry could you advise any effective diet as the party is going to be in 2 months?

Anonymous said...

Hi Mrs A,

That is a novel way to present food, with the children taking their colour choice.
Other options could based on mixed colours or locations (seaside, farm, town).
Once you have cracked the issue, a blog topic would be a must.

Maisie said...

Great idea, don't think it would work with my 2 now though.

They just inhale food whatever it is.

Last night was liver and sausage casserole (they don't like liver) but I cook it in the slow cooker all day sao that the majority of the small bits of liver have melted into the tomato,pepper and onion gravy, fab with mash, green beans and carrots.

Anonymous said...

How I wish you were around when my boys were young - it would have solved so many problems with dinner.

I'm going to let them know so they can use it with their kids.

Thanks, Bellen

katyboo1 said...

For the days when it all goes a bit pear shaped I suggest the fantastic colour, 'Breen', which my cousin coined. It is the weird greenish brown colour that all the colours in the paintbox, or indeed the playdoh goes when you smush them all together. I seem to have a lot of breen things in my fridge at the moment. I probably need to visit the compost bin...

Almost Mrs Average said...

LOL Mrs G - you can understand my relief of having been led by my eldest into a whole rainbow of choices. You're right, purple will be an interesting one. I once found purple carrots in Sainsbury's which had been grown nearby. Now what that says about Suffolk I really don't know. I remember all the purple splashes on the kitchen walls as I peeled them - took some cleaning so I might just avoid them in future. ;-D

Hi Sharon - I'm now wondering how the heck I didn't think of it earlier. After all I've had nearly seven years practice. It must have taken this long for my brain to have woken up ;-D

Hi Jo - that's fab news that you've got Tracey's book. Enjoy're probably right in the middle of it now I guess ;-D

Hi Credit Cards Surfer - best advice is to make sure that all the crockery & glassware is reusable and if wrapping paper is used on the presents, to make sure it is saved for reuse or recycling. Hope that helps.

Hi John - I ike the ideas there. I can see a food montage of sailing boats made from cheese and smoked salmon on a blue plate with pasta forming the sand and a slice of orange in the sky. A blog of tuna would make a perfect sandcastle. As for the farm, you should see my speciality...a bugs bunny open sandwich, with ears, whiskers and goofy teeth, made from all sorts of delights. That one is a true winner in the spring. You're right I can see another blogpost coming on ;-D

Hi Maisie - you're so lucky. I don't like liver but after the way you've described it, I think even I could be tempted ;-D

Hi Bellen - it's funny because this morning I was only thinking I wish I knew then what I know now, whilst reminiscing about when the kids were just a few years younger. I guess that's just one of those things about moving forwards in time. I hope the ideas help with the grandchildren. Do let me know how they get on. ;-D

Hi Katyboo - LOL ....Breen. I love it, and I know that colour exactly. Little T manages to create it perfectly every time he gets close to some paint. I'd love to have a breen day...but I still can't get those kids to eat avocado. which is the only breen thing that hangs about in the fridge of that colour...and is most definitely breen. Enjoy the composting LOL ;-D

Rev. Peter Doodes said...

I was OK, drinking a cup of coffee and thinking (as usual) "good idea Mrs. A", then the word 'breen' arrived on screen... do you realise just how difficult coffee is to clean of a flat screen?

Christina S said...

Fr Peter, as well as being difficult to clean off, is it breen? ;-)

I love the idea Almost Mrs A, and love the way it came about too!! "Tonight's Dinner is YELLOW"!

Almost Mrs Average said...

LOL - Hi Peter, I hope you used a reusable cloth...and you can blame KatyBoo for that one...not that I like to point the finger of course ;-D

Hi Ruby - I suppose coffee is Breen isn't it? Perhaps we should ask the expert, Mr Bean over at I need a coffee. He should know the answer ;-D

Anonymous said...

I love it! We don't have any kids, but I think it would even help us with our lack luster meal planning!

Unknown said...

fantastic idea - I love it.
Keep your fingers crossed they never ask for blue though!

Almost Mrs Average said...

Hi Jen - nice to see you and am so chuffed to have inspired you. Good luck with the idea and do let us know how you get on. ;-D

Hi Gemma - great to see you dropping by. Blue...yep, that'd be a problem. Blue cheese is not quite up their street. I know what they'd request though, a plate of blue smarties or a Doctor Who Tardis cake...hmm, I think we'll stay away from blue! ;-D

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