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Tuesday December 6, 2005 // By Sandy

Two chickens in every pot

We’ve tried to get better about planning out our meals for the week, either by deciding the week’s meals in advance, or cooking a huge batch of one meal on Sunday and having it last for several lunches and dinners down the road. It was this latter technique we tried this past weekend, with a lovely chicken curry recipe and another for spiced cauliflower, both from the highly recommended Indian Home Cooking.

Both recipes serve four. One’s ane entree and one’s a side, so taken together, they probably serve five or six. In an increasingly familiar lapse in judgement, we decided to double it. Normally, the extra effort involved in cooking enough food for a platoon is something we don’t mind. This is how we have fun—some tip cows, we like to cook. But on this Sunday, we had to get this cooking all done, and eat the meal, before Sarah left for an event, meaning we had an hour and a half. This due to nothing more than poor planning.

We didn’t make it. After two hours of shopping and cooking, Sarah was going to have to leave without even tasting the fruits vegetables of her labor. With fifteen minutes to go, as Sarah swapped out of her apron and into her going-out clothes, I worked the cauliflower in a frenzy, cooking and chopping and stirring and chopping some more. Minutes before she had to go, I finished it up—but not the chicken—and she scarfed down a half-plate of it. Sustenance was achieved, though without the calm a chef deserves to relish after a job well done.

So, how many meals did we end up with? It’s only Tuesday, and already it’s accounted for: one and a half dinners Sunday; two lunches and two dinners yesterday; and two lunches today. That’s seven and a half meals, and there are several pounds of chicken left. I imagine that after tonight, when we’ll shred the leftovers for enchiladas for ourselves and three friends, we’ll still get two more lunches out of it.

Efforts like these spring from a desire to conserve—both money and food—but end up feeling like a sideshow in gluttony. It may be possible that we overdo it sometimes with the cooking. Hopefully someday we’ll learn our lesson and find the right balance.

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