On microhistory and meal planning, part 6: the payoff

Radio silence over.

It turns out blogging has some unexpected side benefits. Like when you mention in a post that your in-laws will be coming on a particular day and then they read it and call your husband, at which point you find out that no, they’re not coming from the 4th to the 7th like you expected, but in fact will be with you from the 2nd to the 8th. Thank goodness you planned some large-ish meals, and (after the initial panic wore off) could do some re-jigging of the plan to mostly feed them. But also thank goodness you have pretty great in-laws who help with cooking, spring for take-out and even babysit the small one while you go out for dinner one night.

And thus began the holiday season, when the butchers of the world abandoned their wives to work a million hours a day, a million days in a row, and they had to send Snapchat videos to say goodnight to their babies at bedtime so they wouldn’t forget who they were since they were gone for all of the babies’ waking hours. And their wives made a huge batch of egg muffins and the occasional ham sandwich so there would be no excuses for not eating lunch, because anyone can eat an egg muffin or a ham sandwich in about five seconds flat. And it was Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa, and Christmas, and even Festivus (for the rest of us), but everyone got their pants all in a twist when people said “Happy Holidays” because POLITICAL CORRECTNESS IS RUINING US ALL and THERE’S A WAR ON CHRISTMAS. But really it was just people trying to be nice and acknowledge all the celebrations of the season and no one was saying “Happy Holidays” out of contempt for Christmas, which made some of us start to wonder if the people complaining about how oversensitive everyone is were actually themselves being kind of oversensitive about the inclusivity. Also Donald Trump happened, to the point where it was getting difficult to tell if he was even serious or if it was just a very elaborate and ill-advised piece of performance art. And eventually some of us just sighed, put the baby to bed, poured ourselves a glass of expired Bailey’s, put Jeopardy! on, and mapped out which frozen meals we were going to eat every night for the rest of the month. Here’s what that looked like:

December 8th: Smoky black bean and sweet potato chili

9th: BBQ beer pulled chicken from Half Baked Harvest, and corn muffins (I made this back in August but that was before I started writing about freezing meals. You guys, this is the most prepared I’ve been for anything in my life, ever.)

10th: Turkey and bacon meatloaf from Joy the Baker (I’m making this fresh, because I just feel like it and I’m not totally exhausted yet like I will be after a couple of weeks with no baby-bedtime assistance)

11th: Rachael Ray’s Sloppy lasagna (also frozen before the inception of the food posts)

12th: Chicken cordon bleu casserole from Made from Pinterest. My mother-in-law showed me this recipe and it’s very good and also obviously super healthy. (also made pre-food-posts – I’m trying to get those ones eaten first because freezer burn)

13th: This is Justin’s last day off before Christmas so I’m planning to cook something. I’m not sure what. Something delicious.

14th: Zucchini rice and cheese gratin (wow, I have more old food than I thought) from Smitten Kitchen, and probably some sausage from the butcher shop.

15th: Best of Bridge bean soup

16th: Short rib and pumpkin chili. This is seriously one of the best things I’ve made in the past couple of months and I’m excited to eat it again.

17th: Domoda. This was a HUGE recipe so we’ll be having it a few times.

18th: Gnocchi with pesto that I made when the weather got colder and we had to use up our potted basil plants from the front stoop. I’m going to buy the gnocchi, not make it. I haven’t figured out gnocchi yet.

19th: Those not-really-fajitas from this post last month. The recipe only exists in a Facebook message from Justin’s mum.

20th: Squash and kale curry from this post. The recipe only exists in my head.

21st: It’s my birthday and I refuse to eat a frozen meal, so I’ll probably order Chinese food. Not authentic Chinese food, though. The kind of Chinese food that’s deep-fried meat in a sugar sauce. And wine. But probably not Chinese wine.

22nd: Creamy squash, spinach, and chicken polenta casserole. Polenta, to soak up the wine.

23rd: Orecchiette with kale pesto from Food52. I made a ton of this kale pesto a year ago when we were about to move and I wanted to use up the kale in our old garden patch. This is the last of it. Sigh. I miss our little apartment in East Van.

24th-26th: We’re going to my parents’ place for Christmas so we’re eating whatever they put in front of us, which will include turkey from the butcher shop.

27th: Cheesy chicken, broccoli, and rice casserole from Brown Eyed Baker.

28th: Creamy basil parmesan Italian soup from Carlsbad Cravings, plus this crusty bread from Simply So Good. I’m making the bread fresh again, because there is ALWAYS time for fresh bread.

29th: Best of Bridge bean soup again, and the rest of the loaf of bread from the day before.

30th: Domoda again.

31st: You can’t end the year with frozen dinner. You have to end it with fondue. It’s the only way. So that’s what we’re having.

Our freezer, fully stocked and ready to feed us for a month. (No, we don’t keep oranges in our freezer. That box and the one under it are full of Justin’s mum’s Christmas baking. Yes, we are very lucky. Come over and we’ll share.)

I’ve actually planned all our meals through mid-January (CAN’T STOP. HELP) because we have so many things frozen now, but since I probably won’t stick to the plan and more history is sure to happen between tonight and next year, I’ll save that for another post. Plus hopefully there’ll be some more posts in between. Oh, wait, there definitely will be. I’m being published again in a couple of weeks. Stay tuned.

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