My Friday morning indulgence is Grey's Anatomy. Husband is off to work. Son is off to school. Daughter is not up yet to start cyber school. Alone with the remote control. At some point in starting or pausing the show, I saw a clip from Good Morning America. They were showing off the week's worth of meals to feed a family of 4 for under $15 a meal. Is this hard? It's a rare night when I don't cook for my family. I be willing to bet I do the limbo under that $15 pole with regularity and dare I say...finesse. I think it is funny when magazines and TV shows proclaim, dinners under 500 calories or dinners that are good for the environment, or dinners that save you money, or dinners you can make in 30 minutes or less. Each of these tasks is a no-brainer. Want to impress me? How about a dinner that is light, filling, healthy, environmentally friendly, quick, cost-effective, AND that kids and grown-ups alike will love. (Doesn't quite all fit on the cover of a magazine--does it?). But basically, we the meal mavens weigh the pros and cons of each dinner we make against all of these standards. It is science, math, artistry (and at my house it often also includes a social studies lesson thrown in for sport). Let's add poetry. Haiku? Check out this Twitter user (Maureen) whose entries are complete recipes in 140 characters. She was featured in the N.Y. Times. Maybe it is all novelty rather than substance. But I love the spare minimalism of it all. Steps and ingredients are scaled back (which often translate into savings of $ and time). Chef's intuition is a must. I am thinking of trying the rhubarb upside-down cake, the Stout ice cream, Saffron Asparagus Orzo, spicy tofu. It's fun. Makes cooking into playtime. And in an economic recession, we all need as much joy as we can get.
*While I was a little harsh on GMA for their $15 menu story idea, it did help raise awareness of and increase donations for the food bank, which is another thing of joy.