Sunday, November 10, 2013

Poor Man's Meal Planner

For reasons I wrote about almost a year ago, I stopped supporting the various Java/Database applications that I'd written over the past fifteen years or so.  I've found the absence of cataloging each new comic I buy to be liberating, after nearly 40 years of recording every addition to the collection.  Vicki hasn't said much, one way or the other, about losing her book inventory system, so I don't know how much of an impact that's had, if any.  But the one area that finally 'hurt' a little was the loss of the Meal Planner application.

Initially, I wasn't worried about the Meal Planner because Vicki had stopped using it anyway before I even made my decision to abandon the applications.  She said she was just taking a break, but that hiatus has gone on quite a while by that time.  However, several months ago Vicki began asking the old age question again: "What sounds good for supper tonight?"  It was that same daily routine that had prompted me to create the Meal Planner in the first place, so that got me thinking about a simpler solution.

The result was a spreadsheet, the printout of which looks like this:

The idea is that you put this sheet up on the fridge.  On it, you get 3 weeks worth of daily spots into which you can write a dinner, along with 3 pre-filled columns of possible choices.  The first column contains the most frequent/beloved meals, followed by a second column of slightly-less desirable options, and a final column that has the rarest/blech-est of the possibilities.  As you select a dinner choice from Columns A, B, or C, you write it into the slot for that day, and cross it off whichever list you got it from.  Throughout the course of the 3 weeks, the days fill up with meals and then, when you're done, you print off a new copy for the next 3 weeks.  Crossed off items can be picked again in the same period, of course... but by virtue of being crossed off, they're less likely to be selected, which is what you want if you're looking for variety (as we are).

It's not anywhere nearly as sophisticated or automated as the old Java version, but it seems to be working.  We're on our 5th or 6th iteration of it now, and I'm happy to report that Vicki rarely asks me what I want for dinner anymore.  And that's exactly what success tastes like, for me!

1 comment:

Sue G said...

What about steak? Chicken breast? Eggs of any kind? Bacon? Sausage? Crepes? What about sides = potato? Rice? brown beans? Pickles?
Where is the DESSERT list??