Are you predictable in the kitchen?

Risotto via taste.com.au

Today is Wednesday, which means tonight you’re probably serving the family risotto.
It’s a great mid-week option. Tomorrow you’ll probably do a stir-fry, or maybe some Mexican, before the day I like to call ‘Forget about it Friday’. As in forget about cooking, shall we get pizza?
New research reveals we mums and dads are horribly boring when it comes to cooking for the family.
It’s not a case of what’s in the fridge … our meal choices are dictated by what day it is.
Mondays and Tuesdays are chicken and pasta days. Saturdays are the day we go all Maggie Beer and serve a special meal – pork belly is popular at the moment (thanks Masterchef).
Sunday is the day we channel Nigella and do some baking … apparently.
I read this research, conducted online at www.taste.com.au , and thought two things.
‘Thank God I’m not the only mum stuck in a dinner rut’ and ‘What, your children actually eat pork belly? Get out of here!’
The research went on to say that most people have between eight and 15 recipes in their repertoire. I have counted mine and if you’re willing to classify eggs and soldiers and baked bean and avocado sandwiches as dinner items then I can just scrape in at 10.
Having children has been shocking in many ways but the biggest shock for me was the realisation that there were now two extra people relying on me to cook a decent meal … every bloody night.
SERIOUSLY.
It’s taken seven years but I now know that organisation is the key to success in the kitchen.
Wing it at your peril. We’ve all been there – 5.30pm, the kids are getting restless, the witching hour is well and truly bearing down and you have absolutely no idea what you’ll cook them.
In days before children a bowl of cornflakes or some Vegemite toast was a worthy option on these inspiration-free days, but not any more.
You’ll here their indignant cries from the top of Q1.
‘I don’t want vegemite for DINNERRRRRRRR!’
And God help you if you encounter one of those days when they’re being more irrational than usual.
I’ve lost count of the times my children have declared they don’t like sausages/banana/carrot/eggs … despite having eaten them happily the night before and the night before that.
It seems I’m in good company. Earlier this year I interviewed Jamie Oliver who revealed that he may be ace in the kitchen but his mega success means nothing to his kids, who won’t eat something if it’s the wrong shape, texture or colour.
He says the key to being great in the kitchen is to have a well-stocked pantry, to be organised and to write a shopping list.
He reckons we should all find a friend who is a ‘list writing Ninja’ and spend some time learning from them.
“Generally women are amazing at it and the ones who are good at it are like Yoda,” he told me.
He also says we should keep it simple.
His favourite fallback recipe is an easy pasta with garlic, tomatoes and parmesan. If he’s feeling particularly adventurous he likes to add crispy bacon, herbs, some olives. Yummy.
But what I’d really love is for someone incredible to be permanently based in my kitchen.
Curtis Stone are you available?
Memo to Coles Management: Please do a ‘down down’ price special on Curtis. It will be popular, I promise you.

As appeared in the Gold Coast Bulletin. Catch my Family Matters column in the paper every Wednesday.