Feeding Your Family: Meaningful Work

Sean and Megan with Riley (left) and Kiera (right) at Carolina Beach, NC (Photo by Megan Lumley's camera)

Here is how the email from my niece, Megan, began:

“Ok, I am going to start this email by saying “No! No one has hacked my email account again”…..
“For some reason I have the urge to start to cook. Now for me cooking is one or two EASY meals a week so don’t think I have totally gone off the deep end…..
“So I am looking to my friends to send me one or two EASY and QUICK recipes that you and your family enjoy. Remember EASY is the key word,  I am a beginner here. 
Also no fru-fru stuff. We are a very boring family.
“So when you get a chance if you can send me your favorite EASY recipes with step-by-step instructions I would be very appreciative!
“I’ll keep everyone updated on how this goes—who knows I could change my mind on this whole cooking thing by this evening so I figured I had better send this email quickly :-).
Thanks 🙂

My comments on the above email from Megan: I have been waiting for this! You see, I tried to teach Megan how to cook when she was young, but no!… ballet, cross-country meets, proms, Notre Dame, all that got in the way. She and her husband, Sean, are one of those super couples—great careers, smart, cute kids and a dog, and just really nice people. You always feel welcome in their home. They always are positive and a joy to be around.

But, Megan just never cooked. So how do you start someone off?

I decided to leave it to the others on the email list to send her their recipes. I would just give the sage advice: STOCK YOUR PANTRY! Nothing can happen without a well-stocked pantry. It is not enough to go shopping for the ingredients for a recipe, you have to have a well-stocked pantry so you can cook without a recipe and feed your family tasty, fresh, meals any night of the week. You still have to buy fresh produce and seafood (the only seafood I might freeze is shrimp or maybe some crab for an impromptu dip, but seafood must be bought fresh).

I suggested making a master list of foods in order of their appearance in the grocery store. Do one large shopping every month to six weeks from that master list. Adjust the list as your family’s tastes change (especially in the case of her little girls). I made suggestions for what should always be in the pantry and freezer.

Why Feed Your Family at Home?
It is healthier, more economical and interesting to feed your family at home. You can involve your children with preparing the food (many a math and reading lesson was taught from recipes). Your children will feel like they are doing meaningful work when the family sits down together to eat what they helped prepare. Chances are, they will eat better too. Of course, a meal at a restaurant is always a treat and fun, but it’s the family dinner table where the good times roll!

To all the Megans of the world, I wish you the best!

Left: Megan's first meal. Right: Happy Sean! (Photo by Megan Lumley)