Everyday you have to answer this question-a few times! I’ve had that slight panic feeling when you know you have to figure this out and get it ready. How do you decide?
So, I was reading Samin Nosrat, my new favorite food expert, in her book, Salt Fat Acid Heat, and she explains finding an anchor and building a menu around it. The anchor is one element of a dish such as your leftover Thanksgiving turkey. It could be a favorite food of someone eating with you, such as oven-steamed salmon. It might be what is on special price at your grocery store such as butter lettuce (I’m not kidding). It might be something you think you should eat, such as fresh spinach. It might be something fitting the season, such as butternut squash.
I have the usual places I go to shop for food and buy things I know we should eat, such as frozen fruits (for fruit smoothies) and vegetables, frozen fish, canned beans, whole chickens, frozen chicken breasts, fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grain breads. I buy what looks good and is available. My cart looks amazingly the same week after week with welcome variations. With those things in my house, when meal time comes, I think, lunch is a salad or soup, so what do we have to make that? Or, dinner will be a fish, which we try to have a couple times a week, and go from there. Or, we had fish three times this week, so tonight I’ll oven roast a chicken breast with the vegetables. When I prepare chicken or beef for Marlo, I will eat yummy beans. Butter beans (my current favorite) or black beans or garbanzo beans. Or I may have a veggie burger.
Other anchors that work for me are recipes I have heard from food podcasts or food blogs or friends or family. I keep a favorite list on my computer and if I get stuck, I will look through that and I usually have no trouble finding a recipe I want to try.
Also, when I shop, I like to have one recipe in mind and get everything I need for that and there we be extra to use as anchors for other meals. Tom, our son, and his fiancé, Sarah, often make a fennel salad that I wanted to try. So, with recipe in hand, I got the fennel and the oranges and the olives, which created more anchors for other meals.
But today I have lots of leftovers from our belated Thanksgiving feast yesterday, so turkey is my anchor and I am making turkey vegetable soup. Here’s the recipe.
We are now officially in feasting season! It’s going to be so good. Thank you for reading this. I welcome all comments.
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