Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Newly. Wed // 01

I want to answer the question that I get asked every time I see someone who was at our wedding and who I haven't seen since. Because this seems to be the question on everyone's mind (and really it's probably not, but it happens to be an easy conversation starter to avoid the awkward silence). Before the wedding, it was always, how's wedding planning? and now, it's all, how's married life? And in a normal social situation, the easiest answer is good, not that much different than life before the wedding (just a lot less stressful now that I'm not planning the largest party of my life and trying to accommodate all you crazy people) and the part in parenthesis is the part I think and don't say.

Of course, there's so much more to the story than it's good. Being a newlywed is awesome and confusing and thrilling and infuriating at any given time, because you are no longer operating as two completely independent people but instead trying to share some of the hardest things in the world to let another person in on. And it usually ends up being wonderful, although growing up, I was never very good at sharing, so I wouldn't have believed it. Like all wonderful things, you learn how to make the confusing and infuriating parts less so, so that you can do more of the awesome and thrilling parts. How we've done that (and are doing it, because it's an ongoing thing) is what I want to talk about.

First up, food.

You wouldn't think that getting food would be harder for two people than it is for one. Shopping and cooking and all things food for one person is HARD. And it is equally hard, but in a different way, for two people. Especially when said two people don't like to eat the same way or the same things. In our case, Ben wants to eat like a MAN…chili and burgers and burritos, meat and (mashed) potatoes. And I want to eat like a hippie - salads and whole grains and as clean as possible (although I can't deny my sweet tooth, and thankfully, we are in agreement on that one). Also, I'm indecisive and what looks good to me at the time of grocery shopping doesn't sound as good later in the week when I need to make it. Not to mention, who makes it, how it's made, and who cleans up have been some of our major-minor arguments since getting married.

But there is hope. Six months (and two years) of living together later, we are finally getting into our groove. Here's what's working for us:

1// Pinterest. Ben used to make fun of me for buying cookbooks and then only using them for the same two recipes every time we needed to make a grocery list. So I was banned from buying any more. Instead, I set up a recipe board on Pinterest, and I add to it every time I see a food that sounds appetizing (usually a recipe or two per week). There's no memorizing page numbers or a file in my head of which cookbook my favorite macaroni and cheese recipe comes from - we can both access it from our computers and easily get ingredient lists and how-tos.
2// Trader Joe's. When we first moved in together, Ben could not fathom that I would not shop at a normal grocery store. However, after a few trips and realizing exactly how much they do have if you need simple ingredients, he was converted. Also, their frozen foods, which we keep on hand only for emergencies (aka when we run out of food and don't feel like running out to get something), taste so much better than your average Lean Cuisine and have ingredients that read like normal food and not a science fiction movie. Now that we're on the same page, we know what basics to buy every week and don't even have to add them to the grocery list. We still haven't ironed out the kink that results in three bags of frozen broccoli in our freezer at all times, but there are worse things, so we let that one slide.
3// Pick Three. Making a grocery list used to be the bane of our existence because it took two hours to decide what we wanted to eat for the week. One of us would throw out a recipe (Ben) and the other one of us would go ehhhhh, not feeling it (me). Coming up with six things to make for the week (not including pizza, because that's a given) was worse than pulling teeth. Finally, we came up with the brilliant idea that if we each chose three meals, it would go a lot faster and we would both get to eat what we want. To make it work, we each agreed to not question or veto the other person's choices, even if it means eating a food (like mushrooms for Ben or beef for me) that isn't your favorite. It also gets us out of our comfort zones and encourages trying things that we wouldn't on our own.
4// Do a Favor. There was a time when I was commuting and Ben would get dinner started on those days that I didn't get home until super late and the last thing I wanted to do after sitting in two hours of traffic was spend energy to make dinner. Now that he commutes two days a week, I try to return the favor by starting a meal before he gets home, or, at the very least, making sure there's a plan. We try to remember that it's not about who did it last time, but just getting it done. No one's really keeping track, so being even doesn't matter if you do whatever you can do to make the other person's life easier.
As for sharing a kitchen, we've found that we can work together and cook in the same space if we let each other do our own thing. So if Ben is cooking meat (which he is infinitely better at), then I let him see it all the way through. If I'm making a sauce, he knows that's my thing and will generally leave it alone (unless I walk away and forget about it, and then he is kind enough to stir it without letting me see). If there's a food one of us wants prepared a certain way, that person is in charge of that part of dinner. And when one of us is hangry and things aren't running smoothly, well, that's when we start solving our problems with wine. It works like a charm.

Anything I missed or should be doing? I'm always up for advice...I want to be the best wifey EVER.

1 comment:

  1. So cute! You both are doing just does get more.....INTERESTING...when you throw kids into the mix. hahahahaa. I can totally relate to #3!!