Last week my friend came out from New York to stay with us for the night. The evening she arrived we had a fairly heavy meal of lamb stew with mashed potatoes, Irish Soda Bread and a bottle of Ermitage du Pic St. Loup which Steph had brought with her (she works at Wine Therapy in Soho). The next morning the Anderson’s woke up, had a light breakfast and, of course, started planning dinner and making a shopping list around the breakfast table. Steph looked at us a little quizzically and said, “You’re planning dinner at 8:30 in the morning?” We all looked up as if we could not quite understand the question. “Yes,” we said, the tone of our voices adding, “ . . . doesn’t everybody?”
Clearly, our family propensity for planning dinner before we had finished breakfast seemed odd. Her reaction definitely made me think.
The other day, after a heavy brunch, Andy and I went out with some friends to a brewery for a pint. We had eaten a full English breakfast not an hour before, but the four of us were practically drooling over the food that was coming out of the kitchen. My friend, Amber, laughed. She said, “This is what my friend Amanda calls Big Behavior.” I was intrigued. “What’s Big Behavior?”
“Well,” she said, “Being ‘Big’ has nothing to do with your size, it’s about your mentality when it comes to food, or even to life. You could be the tiniest person in the room, but if you’re the only one eating one meal and thinking about your next at the same time, you’re the biggest person in the room.”
I immediately remembered Steph’s reaction to our breakfast-table dinner planning session. Are we Anderson’s “foodies” who are smart about planning ahead, or are we simply displaying some seriously Big Behavior? I thought back to our family vacation in Pontre Vedra, Florida this past summer when Mom, Sharon and I sat on the beach (day #1) and planned lunch and dinner menus for the entire seven day vacation. I thought about how Mom had soup for lunch cooking on the stove before the breakfast dishes had even been cleared, or how I plan to get bagels and muffins for breakfast the night before.
Maybe I am in BIG-time denial, but I like to think we’re smart cooks. We don’t want to panic come dinnertime and end up ordering pizza or running to the store 3 times in a day. We like to know what we have to look forward to. For us, knowing we’re going to have a delicious dinner keeps us from eating junk all day long. Maybe our Big Behavior keeps us from actually being big, but who knows?
Nancy @ TheSensitivePantry says
I don’t know if it’s Big Behavior or Smart Cooks. I’m just happy to hear someone else does this, too! I ratchet it back big time in my house because my husband & son look cross eyed when I start mentioning dinner plans too early in the day. I love you guys…you make me feel right at home!
Andie Reid says
Have to disagree about big behavior. I just call it good planning. And good planning is what helps you eat healthier in the long run than the last-minute “OMG I’m STARVING” realization.
Maggy–Do you think your mom would adopt me????
Whether she plans or not–she is the best 5-star chef around!
Mike V @ DadCooksDinner says
Phew! It’s good to know I’m not the only one who plans their beach vacations around what they’re going to be cooking. 🙂
I’m so bad about it that packed my weber kettle for our summer cottage, because I don’t like the wimpy gas grill that is already there.
As for “big” thinking – I agree with Andie, above. Planning ahead for meals helps me lose weight, for two reasons.
The first, as Andie says, is to avoid the “I’m starving – whatever’s closest gets eaten”.
The second reason is to remind myself that there is a “big” meal coming (say, rib roast on Sunday). It helps me have the mindset that I’m not just denying myself if I eat a number of healthy meals; I’m just pacing myself so I don’t overeat.
A big hearty vote for “smart cooks” over “big behavior”. So, as it’s 9:15am (where I am), what’s for dinner tonight?
I think people forget that food and food preparation can be just as much as a hobby as anything else. Some people spend all morning/afternoon/night researching or planning for their next painting or wood-working project. Planning a meal is no different, as far as I’m concerned! And going out and appreciating the “projects” concocted by others is no different than going to an art gallery… Oh wait, except you get to actual eat your art! That’s the best part!
As the teller of the “bigness” propensity, I should probably mention that it’s tongue in cheek, and very much a Southern thing. You know how it is. Us Southern folk like to make a big Sunday lunch and then go for a nap. That’s big behavior, planning a nap as much as you plan the meal.
I’m all for planning. But us drooling over that food, and giving it “ojo” (as another friend calls it) an hour after we’d eaten breakfast, was BIG!
I’m laughing my head off here. This is me to a tee. I am always thinking about my next meal and I have a reputation for it. Whether you want to call it “big behavior” or smart planning, OWN IT. Be a proud foodie!
Lisa S. says
I’m big; been big this way (food related) for years. Gonna stay big.
On the other hand, I’m tryin’ to “unbig” about 20 lbs…
I think it’s actually small behavior to plan ahead. Not planning equals settling for take out at 7:30 pm when you have nothing thawed. And that adds up to big bills, big (calorie) meals, and big waistlines.
But I am Southern, and I have to say most people I know are thinking about the next meal while they’re eating it. Or thinking about a special meal. You know.. While you’re eating Thanksgiving dinner the whole table’s talking about that one year that so-and-so brought the absolutely scrumptious side dish and why can’t we entice him/her to come back again?! Followed by nap, booze, leftovers, and much giggling in the kitchen while washing dishes. Lather, rinse, repeat.
It drives my BF crazy when I ask him what he’s thinkin would be good for dinner at lunch! He doesn’t understand! He says he can’t think about food when he’s eating or if he’s full… I can’t STOP thinking about food, ever! lol
I loved reading all the comments above — “Big Behavior” or smart planning — either way I’m guilty and proud of it!
I’m with all y’all! I think we’re just savvy cooks. But, if any of us were to be in BIG-time denial, it would probably be me. It’s entirely likely that I am the ‘biggest’ of us all. I am, afterall, the one who chose the Greek Islands I would visit based on restaurants…which is why Santorini didn’t make the cut.
At any given moment, I am not just thinking about the food I want in an hour, or even in 5 hours…I am generally thinking about the food I’ll be eating all week. But before you go praising me–I am not thinking about a week’s worth of fast, easy-to-cook dinners so I’ll be prepared. And I am definitely not smartly grocery shopping for all these things days in advance. I am usually just daydreaming about the food I want to eat this week: chicken korma with warm, garlicky naan…vanilla yogurt parfait with homemade granola…spicy thai curry with coconut rice…the perfect cheeseburger with sweet potato fries…a piled-high stack of pancakes with maple syrup.
Ugh, I could go on, but it’s 10:25 and I haven’t had dinner yet (tuna melt I made at 3:30 was pretty good, though) and I am LEGIT about to salivate on my desk in the library.
sink girl says
in my opinion, it is hard to distinguish between two. there are definitely those that are constantly thinking about food based on their appetite. but here’s my own personal defense. for me, when i’m thinking about dinner at 9:00 am. it is most definitely not about being hungry. first and foremost, it’s about planning. i am an inherent planner. and the way i cook requires me to be just that. if i want to do something more than scramble eggs for dinner, it requires thought. and time. which is why i generally think about it many many hours before the meal actually takes place. secondly, i LOVE to cook. so how am i going to be a good cook if don’t, at some point during the day, think about a recipe that i want to try or a recently discovered ingredient i’ve been dying to use? and last but not least, i want to make the people in my life happy. usually i’m thinking about what would make my boyfriend happy after a long day’s work. or maybe my coworkers would love some banana bread. or what kind of snacks would everyone like during the game? again, this requires time and thought and planning. i certainly have “big” ideas for the kitchen, but i don’t think that makes me “big”……inside or out 🙂
that’s our opinion….we welcome yours.
I totally know that planning ahead saves wasted calories later on – not-to-mention money.