Fascinated by a report out of the UK (thank you Food News Journal) that reveals the average mother rotates through just nine different meals to feed her family. (Ah, why weren’t the fathers polled as well?)
And one in four make the same meals on the same day of the week.
Wow. You’d think with all the variety of food available these days, the easy access to free and interesting recipes on the Internet and wildly popular TV cooking shows we’d mix it up a bit. But, no, it seems that hectic work/life schedules, choosy children, and partners who toil outside the home for long hours mean that mealtimes get overlooked and we fall back on favorite foods we know and love.
The poll of 4,000 Brits conducted by a food product company found that the nine most repeated meals are:
1. Spaghetti Bolognese
2. Roast Dinner
3. Shepherds Pie/Cottage Pie
5. Meat and two veg (hello 1960s!)
8. Sausages and Chips/Mash
Truth be told, allowing for regional and dietary differences, I’m probably equally guilty of rotating through a limited menu list. My family’s nine:
1. Tofu/Brown Rice/Couscous/Quinoa and veg
2. Pasta with Pesto or Pureed Veggie Sauce
3. Indian (Still tofu, rice, veg, tamarind sauce, naan & mango lassi)
4. Soup & Salad (granted, some variations on this theme)
5. Homemade Tortillas, Beans, Guacamole, Cheese
6. Japanese: (Um, tofu, rice, nori, pickled ginger, raw veg)
7. Pseudo Thai: (That would be, tofu, rice or noodles, & coconut milk)
8. Eggs (boiled, exactly seven minutes!) with toast & salad
9. Pizza (Weekend treat, Cheeseboard, she notes defensively)
Yikes! Like the mamas surveyed, when I cook for my vegetarian son I make simple meals I know he’ll eat. I don’t want to waste time or money on food he won’t try and I’m keen to make sure he gets the nutrients he needs in the small windows of time we have together. Sometimes we whip up butternut squash pot stickers or falafel and hummus but not as often as I’d like.
Since I think a lot about food, I do try to mix it up a bit, by adding different seasonings or sauces or substituting new ingredients for old standbys but I’m frankly a little embarrassed by my narrow range.
Should I be? Would you be hard pressed to come up with nine or more than nine meals you prepare for your family on a regular basis? Do you have your own standing list or do you make a point of experimenting each week and adding something new in the mix? Do tell.