Emergency meal planning VS last minute creativity. And a case of missing prawns.


Having a broken foot made me realise the importance of proper meal planning and its difference with creating meals out of what’s in stock.
I’m relying more than ever on my Abel & Cole weekly delivery and I find myself going over the order again and again, thinking about our week’s schedule and possible meal options.
Gone is the generic vegetable box, supplanted by careful ordering of vegetables, fruits and other goods, aimed at creating tasty recipes that don’t take too long to make (standing on one foot and hopping from one end of the kitchen to the other gets a bit frustrating after a while).

This is so different from the days when I felt free to cook on a whim, deciding what to have on the very same day and rushing to the shops to get the missing ingredients at the last minute.
The Abel & Cole box of randomly picked veg posed a weekly challenge of how to creatively use all of the products I was given without ever throwing away anything (in my house discarding food is the ultimate sin). But in order to complete the recipe I came up with from either a book or my own imagination, I often had to pick a few ingredients just before setting out to cook.

I still prefer that freedom, if only for the fact that in the case of vegetables I’d rather have them fresh than stored for nearly a week in the fridge. But I understand more and more how many people with busy lives rely on careful planning to get them through the week.

I see all the advantages of such scheduling and I now learned to value it more. However, I still think last minute creative bursts make cooking much more fun. Planning way ahead robs the act of cooking of all of its spontaneity, and I find my creativity suffering from this. I don’t know whether it’s just because of my foot, or also because of all this planning, but my meals recently have become a bit less daring than usual.

So this week I’m attempting to reverse the trend and get stuck into creating again. But an unexpected obstacle seems to have come up between me and my food plan. Chiefly because I relied on a last minute ingredient: shell-on prawns. Due to the tube strike affecting London today, they haven’t been delivered to any fishmonger and supermarket in our area, and my boyfriend wasn’t able to find any. The plan for tonight was to make prawns with scotch bonnet, ginger, coconut milk and squash. How will I get out of this? What will we eat tonight? You can only stay tuned to find out.

Carolina Stupino

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