This sign on a restaurant window 20 years ago changed my life forever, “We give our chef a night off once a week. Doesn’t your wife deserve the same?” I hadn’t realized until then how locked in I was to my duty as chief meal preparer. The best part was my husband’s revelation, then reversal of kitchen expectations.
My children were teenagers at the time we started GYON in our home. Get-Your-Own-Night means everyone fends for themselves one night a week. It’s still my kitchen credo for just the two of us, and I’ve long suspected that my husband looks forward to those nights when he gets to be his own dinner boss. Back then, refrigerator and cupboards stood open while the four of us poured through the contents picking out our favorite combos. This works better if you keep lots of leftovers in the fridge which, as you can see, I still do. If you don’t plan for leftovers, there’s always fruit, nuts, cheese, cereal, or the can opener to get creative with. Start as young as you want, but remember to keep an open mind about what your 8-year old is concocting. Know what I’m saying?
Diehard cooks and kitchen lovers will be no doubt be resistant, but many of us either don’t have the time, don’t want to spend the time, or are suffering from major kitchen burn out. My own resistance came in thinking I was depriving my family by abdicating my long established role, but the opposite was true. They all loved the idea of getting to choose their own food for a change and this family “game” provided lots of laughs… and raised eyebrows.
Having this one little break in a week’s worth of obligations helps to simplify a life with lots of stress in it. Just another small chink toward a calmer and more relaxing existence. If you live alone, every night is already a GYON. But if you have more than just yourself to feed, try it once and see what happens.
What’s YOUR favorite thing to do with leftovers?