Today is the day …
The day we start practicing step #1 of “The Granny Plan”! We’re all ready to dive in but before we do let’s take a moment to consider what we’re working to achieve with this plan. I think there is a little confusion about what we’re working for … some think we’ll be learning the fundamental dishes of real food cookery, or that the plan will be so very detailed that it won’t be a good fit your specific situation. Nope, not the case. Let’s consider what “The Granny Plan” is and isn’t about.
What “The Granny Plan” isn’t
Just to be really clear about what we’re working on here, we are working on habits. Routines. Making the whole thing as mindless as driving is to you today. Remember when you were learning to drive? How complicated the whole thing was! How could anyone do this everyday? Without wrecks? It took sooooo much concentration. But before you knew it you were whipping in and out of traffic, talking with friends, listening to music, all without a hitch. “The Granny Plan” isn’t about specific recipes, or must-make-dishes and exactly how to do them. Sure we’ll cover a few basics here, but for the most part I’ll be directing you to try some of the recipes you have stashed away that your family will like, or to make something you already make more often. We’ll be working on the routines that keep you ready to cook mostly. And routines that make the family happier with that cooking.
“The Granny Plan” is about getting the basics down
I’m a amateur hobbyist guitar player. And I love to read :-). Something that James Taylor’s brother Livingston Taylor wrote in his book Stage Performance comes to mind here. He urged all performers to stick with the level of playing they were VERY comfortable with on stage. Most beginning performers do the opposite, trot out the hardest thing they know in an effort to impress the audience. Then they’re nervous, mess up, act embarrassed and alienate the audience. When a performer sticks with the basics things are easy and the performance is smooth, the audience loves you for your easy confidence and familiarity. Same thing when learning to cook regularly. Sticking with the basics first, then slowly venturing out into new territory brings your audience on board with this whole real food cooking eat at home thing. Often we think we need to replicate restaurant meals or make something so good they’ll just have to rave about it to get them with the program. But we have no practice at it, it gets messed up, they pick at the meal or worse complain, dinner is exhausting and stressful, then we don’t feel like cooking and they don’t feel like eating :-). Next dinner everyone wants to order pizza and we give in exhausted from the struggle of it all.
Truth is Granny didn’t make elaborate meals everyday. She made basic fare everyday with a few special dishes thrown in from time to time to spice things up. We need to learn to mindlessly make the basics. When we can do that, we’re ready to add the spice.
On that note lets get started with this week’s lesson!
It All Starts With Buttered Carrots …
We’re going to start out slowly with just one small task. I know you have the energy and enthusiasm right now to take on so much more but I’m going to ask you not to. Trust me that one small task is the best way to start. I don’t want you to flame out by overdoing it or scare the family with too many changes at once.
Let’s start with a bowl of simple buttered carrots. Some of us have never cooked anything before other than microwave meals. Some of us can turn out a gourmet meal for a party of 8. Most of us are somewhere in between, like me. It doesn’t matter. We can all start with a bowl of buttered carrots.
We are starting with a simple routine of buttered vegetables because everyone can do this quickly and feel a sense of accomplishment! Every evening when you make some buttered veggies you will know you are making real progress! Grandma would be proud!
Steps to kick off this weeks habit
- Today when you go out or tonight on your way home from work stop and buy a big bunch of carrots from whatever grocery store is handiest. Doesn’t matter if it’s the Piggly Wiggly, Walmart, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods or Kroger. Don’t dwell on the quality of the carrots you are buying. Just get a lot of them. Thinking too much about quality at this point will only sidetrack you. If you know you have a carrot hater to feed substitute any other veggie that you know they will eat.
- Next at that same store pick the best quality butter they have handy. Again, don’t worry too much about quality! Just check the ingredients to be sure it’s real butter. I give you permission to not be discriminating :-).
- Do you have a vegetable peeler, a knife and a pot? If not, mosey on over to the housewares aisle and get them. You’ll be using them a lot. Get a stainless steel or enameled pot. As you build up your chops and supplies these simple tools will likely be replaced. Or maybe not, I still cook with a stainless pan I bought at Kroger’s for $3 when my 24 year old was a baby. Point is to get started today as cheaply and easily as possible. Get a wooden spoon too!
- When it’s about 30 minutes before dinner that night start preparing the carrots. Doesn’t matter if you’re having pizza, take-out burgers, a delicious new recipe you’ve been dying to try or hamburger helper. Don’t worry about whether the carrots go with whatever you’re having. Nutrition goes with everything! Use the peeler to remove the outer skin from the carrots, slice them and put them in a pot of water. Add a little bit of salt (1 tsp) and put on the stove to boil. Boil till tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the water, then melt a tablespoon or so of butter over them.
- Just casually mention the carrots to your family, suggesting that they try them. Eat a heaping helping yourself.
Now you’ve got the first day under your belt … congrats :-)! Feels great doesn’t it? And it was pretty easy to do. Next we need to carry this habit forward and do it every night this week. Doesn’t have to be carrots each night … any buttered veggie will do. Even if you’re eating take-out still take the time to make your 10-15 minute bowl of buttered veggies each and every night. At the store pause to consider just these buttered vegetable bowls and ensure you have the vegetables your family likes and plenty of butter for the coming week.
Let’s get this habit down this week, then we move on to #2!
Let us know how it’s going in the comment section below.
Just Getting Started?
This post is part of a series. It’s important to start with the first post and work your way thru step by step. If you’d like to get a general overview of where we’re going with “The Granny Plan” you can subscribe to my blog post update list and you’ll be able to download “10 Steps to Cooking Like a Modern Day Granny”. We’ll be very loosely following the steps in that booklet, adding and taking away as it feels right. There are a few steps I plan to change up, but I’ll leave that as a surprise ;-).
Links to the rest of the series:
- Getting Started
- Step 1: It All Starts With Buttered Carrots …
- Step 2: Our First Main Dish
- Step 3: Clean As You Go
- Step 4: Feed Yourself First
- Step 5: Eliminate One Fake Food
- Step 6: What Can I Improve in 15 Minutes?
- Step 7: Begin Work on a Real Food Project
- Step 8: Start Building a Real Food Pantry
- Step 9: Do You Have Kitchen Gaps?
- Step 10: List Your Routines
- Step 11: Expand Your Real Food Knowledge
- Step 12: Find Your Real Food Tribe
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