I know that decluttering and cooking are not entirely aligned. But part of decluttering the house is decluttering my life. And most people spend a great deal of time shopping.
So. The most effective way to declutter shopping is to meal plan; to work out what you will eat next week and then buy it. It can take a while though, which is where structured meal planning books or websites come in. Once you have one of those, you can very quickly create a list of things you buy every week, a list of things required for a week’s plan, and the odd extra thing you need. You can take that list to the supermarket; but it’s even faster to order the lot online. It’s also cheaper because you don’t buy all that other stuff you see while wandering round the shop. I tend to mix weeks of a structured plan with weeks where I pick favourite family recipes for our plan, normally in the mix ‘two dishes with lumps of meat, one dish with mince, one dish with fish, one vegetarian dish, one slow cooked dish’.
I have for some years used Ocado, which is the best (sadly, also the most expensive) of the UK online grocers. I keep a list of the regular things we buy there. For meal planning I’ve tended to use Menu Mailer, an American meal planning system. It’s worked, and the menus are affordable. The recipe printouts are easy and clear and I can leave them for Bloke to cook without worry.
Nevertheless, there are problems with Menu Mailer. It’s American, so there are unfamiliar ingredients, strange equipment and seasonal mismatches; it is not normally warm enough for salads and barbecues here in May. Many dishes are partly based on processed foods like salsa, pasta sauce or salad dressing. Some of the dishes are just plain strange, and many standard British foods don’t appear at all. Of course you can adapt, but we were hoping for something a bit more local.
So this week we are trying out the Kitchen Revolution. I will let you know how it goes.