Thursday, January 10, 2013

What's For Dinner

As the mom of the house, I get asked daily "What's for dinner?" On the surface this does not seem like a complicated question and many times the answer is right there ready to go. Other times it is more difficult to answer. Dinner requires planning and if I haven't planned ahead, then I can't answer that question easily.

Cooking dinner requires ingredients and time. Ingredients require shopping. Shopping requires work. As the cheapest, sorry, frugal, person on the face of the planet I shop the sales and then I check to make sure I have a coupon for what's on sale. I shop at multiple stores. This one has "buy on get on free," this one accepts competitor's coupons, this one give you gas points and a discount at the gas pump. And yes, I do get a thrill of having coupons for "buy one get one free" stuff and a really big thrill when I can stack a store coupon with a manufacturer's coupon. And if I can do that with "buy on get one free" I'm in a total happy place! Squeee! I know, I'm a freak.

 As I was saying, dinner takes all sorts of planning. Once I know what ingredients are on sale, then I can begin menu planning. I can make meatloaf, or turkey tetrazzini, or chicken and rice. And I have to consider that meals need to stretch for leftovers (if I can get the Little Man to eat leftovers) and lunches for my husband to take to work. "Honey? Are you traveling this week? Or do you have customers visiting that you'll take to lunch?" I ask. "I don't know yet. I don't think so. I'll let you know. What's for dinner?" he replies. I remind you, I'm the planner and he is more spontaneous.
Then there is the time element. Sometimes I don't have time to do my due diligence with the weekly sales ads. Perhaps we've been working on a project in our fixer-upper house, or I'm busy knitting scarves for church, or Little Man is in full-swing terrible two's. Whatever the reason, sometimes dinner is scavenged out of the freezer and pantry. Tonight we are having hot dogs with macaroni and beef gravy! Or some such interesting concoction. And other times, dinner is take out from whatever restaurant is closest and has curbside service (a wonderful invention).

Writing is like dinner. To have a story you want to tell is easy but to have all the ingredients and time to write it down takes planning. And even with planning, sometimes things get in the way. Sometimes you are able to make your outline, plan your back stories, list your tensions, and block out your chapters. Sometimes you are scavenging and just writing by the seat of your pants. Other times there is no writing and it is just a day to read. Ironically, I write mostly by the seat of my pants and do my structuring and continuity during revisions. I do know my characters' back stories and list my tensions. Where the back story is revealed and when the tensions happen is entirely up to the flow.  Hmmm, I'm a spontaneous writer! But tonight we are having meatloaf.

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