It seems important to give some context to the methods I use when I meal plan. My meal planning is built on a system of both ideals and limitations.
To begin, I consider myself the “home” half of ATF. I consider Joel the “field” half of ATF. These are gross generalizations, but I use them because they are simple, poignant, and accurate in a big picture kind of way. We prefer these roles. Occasionally we exchange them but they work together. One exists to support the other in a healthy display of INTERdependancy (not co-dependency!).
Nutrient-dense food is the central factor that unites our roles. Joel works to grow nourishing food and I work to capture and make available the nourishing food. So it’s a given that I approach meal planning with a high reverence for food as something that gives health in a multitude of ways.
For me, food MUST taste good. But in my deep heart, I am a peasant, and food must also be simple. What allows these two to exist simultaneously is how the food is grown. Food that is grown with, for better want of a word, love, in soil that is rich and alive will have a superior flavor and will need hardly any manipulation in the kitchen. In our years of farming, we have learned this truth by experiencing it. This is the underlying philosophy that shapes the way I prepare food.
There are a few other factors that contribute to the way I cook and meal plan. Budget is one. We are rich in many things but not money, so I cook seasonally using mostly product that we grow or raise.
Another factor is my home-centricity. I use the time at home to produce instead of purchase. Many of the elements of nourishing meals are not difficult or complicated to prepare but they do require sustained time at home. Take, for instance, bone broth. It’s nothing more than bones and vegetables simmering together, but it requires one to be present for several days.
That being said, my time IS quite precious so the food I produce has to be efficiently prepared and it has to enable me to apply my time elsewhere. I’ve learned how to take shortcuts and be flexible without compromising what is important to me.
Can you identify with any or all of these factors? If so, the information I have to share could be helpful for you!