What is “herd cooking” you may ask? It is the term that I use to describe the type of cooking done when you are serving more than six. Cafeteria ladies do it in their hairnets. The military does it in their chow halls. Caterers and restaurants do it. Crystal has always done it too…in her home.
I came from a large family by today’s standards. I was the oldest. I grew up with two brothers and one sister. When I was in my teens I often helped my mother by cooking dinners.
My brothers are both over six feet tall and in their teenage years they packed away a ton of groceries. My sister, while she was always a wisp of thing, could eat them both under the table. When I cooked, I cooked for a herd.
After I grew up and got married, I became a mother of one, but life continually changes and after becoming a fairly young widow, I married a man with two daughters and two sons.
“Herd cooking” became the norm. And then, one by one they left the nest. The last little bird has finally flown away. Sadly, now I cook for only two. Oh what am I to do? I have, by habit, always multiplied recipes. I bought large pans and huge pots. I bought family sized packages, and I shopped at Costco, for crying out loud! How can a habitual “herd cooker” learn to cook for two?
I am kind of like a recovering alcoholic. I must learn to shop light. I must learn to ignore the giant sized packages that beckon to me. I must bypass the coupons that require a purchase of more than one item. I must learn to walk past the stock up sales. I must…er….eeek….actually walk quickly past the “buy two get two free” displays. It’s no sale when you have to toss the leftovers. How can I recover in a nation of excess?
I can’t resist and I put a package of thirty chicken breasts in my cart, and my husband and I are having chicken parmesan for dinner, chicken biscuits for breakfast, chicken salad for lunch and chicken anything for the next week and a half! I think my husband is actually starting to cluck. I just need time to adapt.
Baby steps, that's the ticket. I simply reverse my methods. I halve recipes instead of multiply them. I buy new pots and pans in smaller sizes. But mostly I just go out and I buy a large freezer.