Monday, May 2, 2011

My OCD Tendencies and The List...

Tonight is Monday.  It is the night I should be so excited to try a new recipe.  But I am not.  Why?  Because I do not have a new recipe to try, and even if I did, I would probably crumple it up and toss it out the window. 

There can only be one answer to that question: I did not make The List. 

"What is The List?" you ask.

The List is the answer to all of my struggles with cooking.  Before The List came into my life I was a disorganized cook at best, always stressing over what I could/should cook with my knowledge and ingredients on hand.  Many times I would think, "Well, I could make a tuna casserole..." but lo and behold, I would have no tuna on hand.  And a nothing-casserole just doesn't seem like it would do the job.  Or I would have a wealth of ingredients on hand, but I didn't know what to do with them.  Which would mean one of three possible things would transpire:
  1. I would have to run out to the grocery store to pick up that one item, say tuna, and come home instead with five items -- tuna, chips, peanut butter, cookies, and juice.  This turned out to be both a waste of time and money.
  2. I would try to make something up, which had something like a 20% success rate.  Not that great...
  3. I would give up entirely, hop in the car, and head out to eat.
But then I created The List.  When Sunday, or whatever day I plan on doing my grocery shopping, comes around, I sit down down with a piece of paper and a pen.  I think, "What sounds good to me?"  and start jotting down the ideas.  Tacos, tuna casserole (yes again, don't make fun of me, I loved my canned fish), grilled chicken with mashed potatoes, and so on and so forth.  I then plop them into the days it will work best.  For instance, I know I have more time on Monday and Tuesday nights, so I put the more laborious work there.  Wednesdays I have no more than an hour free from the time I get home from work before I head out to my Bible study, so that day always says, "Pasta."  Then I make one final run through to add a variety of veggies to the week, and viola!  I have The List.
(Photo courtesty of

That, however, is just the beginning.  I then take The List, and on the back I subdivide it into three categories: TJs (Trader Joe's), Mi Pueblo, and Lucky.  Going through each day, I write down the ingredients I would need to make that meal that I don't already have at home.  That way, when I go shopping, I know exactly what I need and where I can find it at. 

I know, I know, I sound like I have OCD.  And I might, but I don't really think so.  Whether or not I do is not the point however.  THIS is the point:  Since I have started doing this I have (A) stopped throwing away food that went bad before I could use it, (B) cut way down on my grocery list because I know exactly what I want, and (C) I am excited to cook each night.  Before it was a stress to me.  What do I make?  Do I have the stuff to make it?  Does it even sound good to me?  Honestly, since The List has come into my life, these questions are a thing of the past.  My thought pattern now goes something like this:  I am going to have veggie soup and dumplings tonight, YES!   The end.  And since I try to write down only one new thing a week with the rest being recipes that live in my head, the cooking process is quite easy.  No cookbooks, no failed attempts, no defeat.  Just food, good food.  And a lot of free money in my pocket and time on my hands. 

But this week I failed.  I did not make it.  Instead, I just said, "It's OK, I will  just make something with what I've got."  But what I've got sounds like yuck.  I don't want that.  I want something else.  Yet I don't have the ingredients for my something else.  And I don't want to go to the store.  Gee, I really should have my The List.  I guess I will sit down, and get to work.  It only takes ten minutes but saves me a week of agony, so why not?


  1. Tiff, this is great! I HATE cooking 99% of the time and I despise the grocery store equally as much. ...But I think The List just might save me from kitchen turmoil!

  2. DO IT! It changes everything.

    (I know that sounds a little dramatic, but I speak the truth. My life has been transformed -- less money being wasted, more time being saved, and I eat really yummy stuff all the time -- overall, very happy Tiffany.)

  3. Hi Tiffany! Your blog is awesome! I already bookmarked it (Is bookmark a verb?). Anyways, I am doing something almost the same every week and let me tell you, it works! Eating healthier and yummier (hahaha, again!) everyday. Love your OCD ideas! Keep them coming :)


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