Day 20 – Be Your Own Chef

For Day 20, Mme. Ferris explores the idea that the chic woman should “be your own chef.” She begins with a rosy picture of imagining life with a personal chef who would prepare tempting, healthy meals suited to your individual preferences and health goals, and I have to say – it sounds fantastic!

Cute. Never going to happen, but cute.

She then pivots and the rest of the entry is devoted to what you can do to act as your own chef. While I thought a couple of her ideas here were just too much (write the menu on a chalkboard as if my kitchen is a French bistro? Mme. Ferris clearly thinks I have more time than I actually do!), she’s got the bones of some great ideas here, including getting past the major roadblock of “what am I going to cook?” by having a dozen or so dinners in rotation. (She focuses on dinner – her breakfasts and lunches stay pretty much the same every day – light and healthy meals that aren’t complicated.) She points out that asking other friends “what’s your favorite go-to meal to cook during the week?” can lead to all sorts of new ideas. She also suggests noting what your family orders when they go out to eat and then digging around online to find ways to re-create those meals at home.

She is also kind enough to include sample ideas for a week. She and her husband cook at home and eat from their set of “rotation” dinners during the workweek, then have homemade fish and chips (those are “fries” to Americans!) on Friday night, a roast dinner (beef, lamb, chicken) on Saturday, and “comfort food” on Sundays. She enjoys roasting vegetables alongside the oven-prepped dinners and she gets mileage out of her slow cooker during the winter and the grill during the summer.

I have to admit – the idea of asking other people for suggestions is one that intrigues me. I’d love to hear from you – if you’re cooking at home, what are some of your “go to” meals? Why that meal?

While Mme. Ferris doesn’t go into this, one thing that I admire about the French is their insistence on eating meals en famille rather than everyone playing “catch as catch can” due to activities all over the place for all members of the family. Also – the travesty known as the “kids’ menu” is nearly unknown in France. This is dinner and it is dinner for little Claudette and Pierre as well as for les parents. But American society is very different and we’ve gone in other directions, for reasons that make sense to us at the time.

My husband and I do not have children and we eat together almost every night. (True confession – we often watch TV while we eat, though.) There are exceptions to this, of course – late nights at work, book club meetings, etc. But we eat together far more often than we don’t. One of us cooks, the other cleans. For us, it’s a good system. Of course, it helps that we both enjoy cooking. He’s quite good. In fact, one of my favorite stories from our time courting (yes, we courted. More people should) involves him coming over to my house to cook me dinner. He had all the groceries and supplies in a large box – including knives. I said that I appreciated the effort, but I had knives, to which he lovingly replied, “Yes, dear – but your knives are crap.” I have to admit that he was right and we now have much better knives!

Two-thirds done with our 30 Chic Days!






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