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A Meatless Monday Experiment

My husband has always been the cook in our family. We both take care of getting our own breakfast and lunch each day, but the vast majority of the time dinner for the two of us is conceived, prepared, and served by Peter. I’ll give him a hand when he asks, chopping vegetables or turning the chicken pieces in the pan – and on occasion I might even take on dinner preparations myself when I’m feeling inspired (though I confess that I could probably count on one hand the number of times I am thus inspired in any given year!) – but for the most part, he and he alone takes care of making sure we eat a healthy and balanced meal each evening.

cookingHe does a great job, and I feel very fortunate – after all, food tastes SO much better when it’s prepared by someone else, right?! But the thought that he might appreciate the same treatment once in awhile (that is, more than five times a year) has been nagging at me of late, and I really feel I need to change – or at least TRY to change! – my non-culinarily-inclined ways.

Eventually I’d like to reach the point where I do all of the dinner cooking for the two of us on weekends, but if I am to succeed in getting there I need to be realistic and start with baby steps – say, one dinner each week. And knowing myself, I figure that I’ll need some kind of hook – something to keep me interested and inspired and motivated to stick with preparing that one dinner each week – or I won’t actually be able to get this idea off the ground and keep it going, and poor Peter will find himself stuck with the status quo.

Enter Meatless Monday!

While our personal goals don’t actually include the elimination of meat from our diet, the idea of reducing our meat consumption even just by one day each week seems reasonable and smart. (The Meatless Monday web site offers a list of fairly compelling health and environmental benefits, if you’re looking for inspiration!) And, while I know that technically we could choose any other day of the week for this experiment, Monday is actually (rather conveniently) my day off – so the ever-important alliteration will be preserved.

Meatless Monday it is!

Cooking prep - image by Laurel Regan

I suspect – no, I know – that it will be a bit of a challenge for both of us, though – at least at first.

My main challenge is that I am simply not used to doing any of the dinner cooking, and so I have never mastered the fine art of having everything ready at the same time. (Peter says it’s easy, but he’s had a whole lot of practice!) Just to keep things straightforward with less surprises, I tend to stick with one-pot meals – and while the end result is usually tasty and filling, I could see the lack of variety getting tiresome. So even if I start out in my comfort zone, I will need to learn to branch out if things are to remain interesting for both of us.

I am guessing that Peter’s main challenge will be the practice of going vegetarian – and enjoying it – for even one day a week… because he is a long-time, confirmed, dyed-in-the-wool lover of all things meat. To him, dinner doesn’t feel like dinner if it doesn’t include some form of meat. As an example, we were out at a restaurant the other night and the server asked if he would like chicken or beef with his stir-fry. He joked, “Both!” – but you should have seen his face light up when she told him that for $2.00 extra he could have both!

This could be interesting.

I’ll share the results of my little experiment here – the successes as well as the failures, I promise! – so stay tuned for further developments in my culinary explorations.

And in the meantime, got any vegetarian recipes you care to share?

Laurel Storey, CZT – Certified Zentangle Teacher. Writer, reader, tangler, iPhoneographer, cat herder, learner of French and Italian, crocheter, needle felter, on-and-off politics junkie, 80s music trivia freak, ongoing work in progress.