Food Rut

I am in a food rut. Do you ever get in a food rut?

Normally I love to cook, I enjoy it, it’s another creative outlet. I love to feed people. 

But right now, nothing sounds good. I can’t think of anything to cook. I don’t want to cook anything. No one wants to eat anything I cook even if I could think of something to cook. Honestly, I would be perfectly happy to not cook anything and not eat anything, but these people called my family, they want to eat. They are so needy.

And we are out of everything except for the stuff we don’t like, like the cans of little miniature corns (yuck) that have been in my pantry for three years.  And the stuff that we do have needs one ingredient that we don’t have to make. Consequently I have been avoiding going to the grocery store. Wal-Mart stock has probably plummeted. Sorry Wal-Mart stockholders.

Today I could not put it off any longer. I had to go to the store and it was going to be painful. I just had no idea how painful.

Sean and I loaded up and braved the 120mph winds and went to Wal-Mart. And we filleth our cart until it overfloweth. And just as we were heading to the checkout lanes, I heard this ‘VROOOWMPH” sound, kind of like the Dolby Surround “The Audience Is Listening” sound at the beginning of a movie, and just like at the movies, the lights dimmed and went out.

Clerks starting telling the shoppers to go to the checkout lanes, that they were going to have to close the store.

But then I heard the VROOOMWMPH again and the lights went back on. Yay for the on VROOOWMPH! So I lingered over the red and green peppers before making my way to checkout lines, because this was Wal-Mart! Wal-Mart has a backup plan, right? Like a backup generator to keep the economy moving, right? Wal-Mart is like the government, we can depend on them, right?

I found an open lane and had half of my stuff checked out when once again VROOOWMPH! and no lights. So in my head, I said crapcrapcrap. I have given up cussing out loud, but inside my head, I still need more work.

The store manager said, sorry folks, the power won’t be back on for an hour or more. You can wait if you like.

So again, in my head, I said crapcrapcrap, because now I was going to have to get in my car, go to another store, all with a four-year-old who was almost maxed out on grocery shopping for the day, and start all over. And that thought made me want to cry or cuss, and so I opted for cussing, in my head.  Perhaps I should have stopped here and prayed for humor, but I’m a work in progress, y’all already know that.

I started thinking that maybe God doesn’t want me to have groceries. Maybe he wants me to eat the little corn.  I just didn’t see that he needed to bring down the local economy over a can of miniature corn.

So anyway, Sean and I left that Wal-Mart, drove a mile and a half down the road to the next Wal-Mart where we once again filleth our cart till it overfloweth. But this time, we did not linger over the peppers.

I’m still in a food rut. I have no idea what I will fix for dinner except that it will have peppers.

56 thoughts on “Food Rut

  1. My life is a food rut. Therefore, I’ve established a 2 day a week exchange system with my mother. She cooks Monday and Friday for everyone. I cook Tuesday and Thursday for everyone. This means I get two meals a week that are actually palatable.

  2. I get in food ruts. I love love love to cook almost as much as I love to eat. It’s creative and exciting and there are so many wonderful herbs and spices and sauces and combinations. But then, sometimes, it just doesn’t matter. I’m either bored with all food everywhere or I just get tired of trying to please 4 very different palates and just give up. I want to put a box of crackers on the table with a block of cheese and say, “Have at it.” My daughter would be cool with that, but the men in my life would revolt. I always get over it, but I know what you mean.

  3. I’m in a food rut. So last Saturday I had everyone sit down at the table and tell me what they wanted to eat for dinner. The GirlChild wants Baked Potatoes with stuff sprinkled on the top; green onions, cheese, sour cream, bacon bits. The BoyChild wants hamburgers and broccoli. David wants baked almon. At least those were three meals I didn’t have to think up!

  4. Ah. . . You are hinting that perhaps there is a non-food-rut state? How very fascinating. In the winter I tend to fix a large pot of soup and eat off of it until it is gone. Then, I fix a large pot of soup and eat off of it until it is gone. Then, well, you get the idea. In the summer, I tend to make a large salad and eat off of it until it is gone. Then I fix a large salad. . . Yes, it may be proper to worry about the eating habits of oldsters living alone. But it isn’t just my nutritional routines that have become a bit skewed. I just now (10 PM) came in from walking the quarter mile to my mailbox and – get this – sweeping the snow off of the logs waiting to be split on the way back to the house in the dead dark of night. (Please don’t tell my daughter.)

  5. Oh how frustrating– I put off grocery shopping too, because I know it’s going to involve a lot of time, and decision-making, and spending of money that I wish I could spend on new clothes. And then to have to go to another store and start over….! Here’s lots of sympathy….. 🙂

    I get in food ruts too. That’s when I start reading cookbooks, but right now I think I need some new cookbooks. I’m tired of all the ones I have!

    M&Co said she asked the family what they wanted to eat. I tried that, and do you know what my three teenage boys said? “FOOD.” Thanks, guys.

  6. I love “maybe he wants me to eat the little corn”!! Hilarious.

    And food ruts… goodness. I think I get in one every other week. I get so easily bored with food that I have to prepare – because I don’t love to cook and I run out of ideas FAST! That or I just get tired of figuring out what would taste good, be affordable and that all of us will actually eat. We have some pickiness going on over here. So yeah, food rut. I feel ya pain. 🙂

  7. Yep. I know the food rut. I live the food rut.

    I have one kid who won’t eat anything I cook, so he cooks his own meals (wants to be a chef), another who is a kosher vegetarian who won’t eat in restaurants, and a husband who travels and is only home on weekends, when I am too freakin’ tired to cook. I have decided I am making my own cookbook binder with 20 recipes and I am going to keep rotating them unless I get inspired, but I will always have 20 to rely on that at least 2 people in my house will eat. That is my plan. We are now trying out some of the new recipes. Last week my daughter and I saw a recipe on TV and found it on the internet. We were so excited. I printed it, my daughter and I happily made it together. It had more steps than I prefer in a recipe, but nonetheless, it looked so good it was worth the effort. It smelled good. It looked delicious. I sat down to eat with 3/4 of my family. I was so excited. I took one bite, my daughter and I looked at each other. I said, Oh my–shred the recipe! Get it out of that binder now! She jumped up, shredded the recipe, and then we all ate the dinner because I sure was not going to cook anything else that day.

  8. Actually, I think the wind hit 160mph here in Fort Worth!
    Our Wally had power, but I got stuck in the self-check line that apparently thought I was stealing everything because it kept telling me to stick it in the bag. Urgh!

  9. The line “maybe he wants me to eat the little corn” is priceless!
    We are in a constant state of food rut in our house. I make spaghetti every single week and a lot of times we have breakfast food for supper. That might be a switch – maybe make pancakes for supper. Your little boy might like that. I found this site, cooks.com – if you key in the words “3 ingredient” into the search box, it comes back with tons of recipes that just take 3 ingredients. There might be something worthwhile in there.

  10. I’m betting God wants you to leave that can o’ little corns for the squirrels (do they have those where you live? I don’t even know…). They’ll surely eat pickled corn, won’t they?

    Also, my food ruts consist of pasta and breakfast foods. And sometimes canned soup. That’s when I haven’t meal-planned for the week, which is rare, but it does happen. I probably wouldn’t eat the little corns either.

  11. Does food rut mean you can’t think of anything to cook or does it mean that you eat the same thing over and over and over and over again?

    Because if it’s the latter, I think I have you beat. Maybe even on both counts. You see, I’ve eaten the same thing for breakfast for going on 6 years now.

  12. Wow…food rut. So that’s what this is called? Thank GOODNESS my prego sister has had me over every night this week, or else my poor baby and I would be living on Cheerios and bananas! Seriously, does anything sound better than a bowl of cheerios with bananas on a yucky, grey day?

  13. Food rut? Well, kind of. Payday isn’t until Monday, so I am having to make up meals from what is left in my pantry, freezer and fridge. This is not so easy. Even though I am just feeding my husband and myself I need to make a full size meal.

  14. I too am in a food rut, but only because I am trying to eat healthier and am running out of ideas, thank goodness I am seeing a dietician tomorrow who will give me menus so I don’t have to think about this 😉

  15. I feel your food rut pain. 🙁 I use to love to cook…Now, I don’t.

    I’d just soon have a bowl of cold cereal or nothing at all. Not healthy at all, I know. Nothing sounds good anymore, I force myself to eat what I eat. I’m tired of the same old, same old stuff.

    My hubby is a foody and he’s always hungry. Or, in his famous words…I’m starving to death. How i’ve come to dislike that statement. 😉 Maybe this will pass away soon and once again I will find food appealing.

    Anyone know of a good complete pre-made liquid meal? 😀


  16. I am in SUCH a rut right now, too, largely because I still have traces of a nauseating stomach bug still lingering around. Maybe in a few weeks I’ll feel more like cooking again.

  17. Ah, the food rut. I know it well. I was born in one and will probably die in it as well. When I first got married I tried to convince my suddenly large extended family that if we all shared our 5 favourite meal ideas we could put them together and have at least a month’s worth of meals. I couldn’t get them to co-operate though. It would probably be simple to host the bloggy equivalent but we’d all stay in our food rut as we spent hours at each other’s blogs 🙂

    Your Walmart pain was palpable. (and the corn might work in a stir fry)

  18. http://www.thepioneerwomancooks.com/
    Have you checked out this sight yet? She has recipes that are totally delicious, and use very basic ingredients. I have tried her lasagna, and it was the best ever. Let me know what you think of her sight! If you love this sight, then check out her other blog “Confessions of a Pioneer Woman” – this is my favorite blog – it’s a “must read” for the day. (Aside from Antique Mommy and Inspired Spaces – of course!)

  19. Definitely a food rut kind of family. Daughter was going through smoked turkey to the point I was stopping at the store 2-3 times a week to restock. I got “smart” and bought a lot after about 3 weeks of doing this. The next day she was done with turkey and there it sat (until it went bad).

    Try this one. Have you noticed a food rut causing a silverware shortage? All the sudden we can’t keep spoons washed, then forks, then knives (all based on what is the hot food of the week).

  20. And that’s why God invented takeout, my sweet friend.

    (And I still do the cussing in my head thing because, like you, my adoptive sis, I’m a work in progress too. Except that Saturday where I was at WalMart and in the checkout line for 25 minutes. I totally let one loose on the way to the car. That wind just whipped it from my lips before I knew it. Darn wind.)

  21. Wow, I am so glad to have found some company here! I have been in a perpetual food rut for years. I never did enjoy cooking, but I like it even less now that I have 3 kids who never seem to like the same things! It is a full time job just keeping track of who likes and dislikes which foods. Our dinner staples include bagels and cream cheese, peanut butter on english muffins, eggs and toast, cereal… hmmm, sounds alot like breakfast, doesn’t it?! I do always add fruit! I consider it a real dinner when I make spaghetti, ramen noodles, or chicken nuggets. I used to care that I wasn’t feeding my family a “proper” meal every night, but I have come to the realization that they could truly care less, so I don’t really care anymore either. Even if I did make a real meat/potatoes/veggie meal, I would probably be the only one eating it, and I am not worth the time and aggravation! LOL My husband often does not come home until after we are all done eating, and he is more than happy to make himself a can of chicken noodle soup. At least our grocery bill stays fairly low, and all of us are very skinny!

    I would have been so mad if I did a big shopping trip at walmart and then had to start all over!! ugh, that’s awful!!

  22. Nan, thanks for the vote of confidence! I have an awful lot of the year left to fill though…

    my only suggestion for a food rut is to get magazines and recipe books from the library with lots of pictures. I have a hard time visualizing recipes from older cookbooks with no photos, and I get annoyed with eating the same stuff over and over. Then the kids and I go through the books/magazines and put stickies on the pages that look good.

    but sometimes we eat dry cereal out of the box and call it dinner too!

  23. Oh my word! THAT would be devastating.
    You did better than me, I would have gone home.
    As it is, everytime I leave Walmart, I vow to never take the 3 year old again.

    But I’ll bet you were glad after you did it (after the groceries were all put away and after Sean went to bed that night- that’s when I’ll bet you were glad).

  24. Food ruts are so common that they are almost proverbial. Is crapcrapcrap cussing? Oh dear, I am cussing out loud. Of course, my kids are older. Thank you God. I do have to go eat lunch with Bear today. It’s Catholic Schools Week. You can guess. Crud,crud,crud.

    I hope you got your food. If you’re feeling adventurous, try this girl out: http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/. She makes some good food. I really love the butternut chili.~~Dee

  25. I just seem to fix the same stuff over and over. I really need to pull out some cookbooks and find a recipe or two to add to my repertoire!

    You are a better woman that I. I would’ve surely gone home and fed my family canned mini corns.

  26. I don’t know about you, but I get in food ruts when one particular season drags on. For example, I’m entering a food rut right now because it’s winter (still) and it will be winter for another three months or so. Yet I’m already tired of all the stews, roasts and soups that I normally cook during this blustery season.

    Oh well. I’m off to make my menu and grocery list anyway. But thankfully, I’ll be visiting Super Target this afternoon vs. Wal-Mart. I’m always cranky when I leave Wal-Mart.

  27. I just learned last week that y’all up in D/FW don’t have HEB! You poor thing! Because THAT would be your solution. Oh and the overpriced offspring, Central Market, is not an accurate reflection of the wonderfulness that a regular HEB is.

  28. The power going off at Walmart and THEN having to repeat the process of shopping all over again would have sent me into a sailor cussing frenzy. Navigating a Walmart parking lot with the carts flying in that wind would made me positively nuts. Hats off to you for attempting it and not having a nervous breakdown in the process.

  29. BUT…you made it through with little cussing. And you were patient enough to do it all over again!

    Kuddos to you!

  30. I don’t think God was telling you to eat the cans of corn. He was telling you to go out for dinner. He tells me this all the time!

  31. My husband was feeling the rut, and I was too stuck to notice. He hosted an intervention and we decided that it’s better to eat a big lunch (like they do in Brazil, where he’s from) and just have salad/sandwiches/soup for dinner. Hallelujua! Now there’s no pressure for me to cook in the evenings when I get home! I DO cook on the weekends. But only having to do a big meal twice a week makes it so much more fun! And I have the time on the weekends to experiment and try new things.

  32. I know all about that food rut! Wait until you have been married for thirty years!! My daughter keeps me inspired because she is really very good about constantly trying new recipes. And she cooks for us every other Sunday! The only thing I have to suggest is soup. We are really enjoying making and eating soup on these cold days. Homemade vegetable soup is a favorite and just requires throwing everything you have in a big pot! Although. I don’t think I would use the corn. THROW THE CORN AWAY.

  33. The fact that you didn’t go into full rant shows that you have self-control. No one found you in the liquor section singing 99 bottles so yer good!

    How did you get Sean to cooperate?? We would have had full meltdown simply because my needy people really like food. Three grocery carts full. Food is now a hobby for us.

    I won’t go into full rant that Wal-Mart is the devil and how they force me to shop there because of their low prices. Snort, pant, wheez!

  34. I’m in a food rut, too. I’m looking for fun, easy, NEW recipes because I’m tired of cooking the same old thing week after week!

  35. Ohhhhhh…….and on the other hand, hold a candle light vigile for those poor Wal*Mart souls that have to go and put all that food back on the shelf that everyone left behind. I bet there is cussing going on there for sure; probably not just in the head.
    HINT: Kroger has back up generators that work….been there, done that.
    **At least you didn’t lose your sole/soul in the Wal*Mart this time……snarf/snarf.

  36. i guess i’m in the minority here because i actually really enjoy grocery shopping. i don’t have kids yet…so i am open to the possibility that my viewpoint might change. that, or the kids will stay home with daddy while i food-shop.

    hhmm…i also love to cook. although i’m not completely IMMUNE to food ruts. we are also a vegetarian household so it’s much easier not having to deal with meats. (i realize that for some people this may seem harder)

    the bigger problem for us would be the “i don’t want to do the dishes” rut. because, when the kitchen’s a mess who wants to cook??

    yes, take out is our friend! we love noodles & company and qdoba mexican grill for take out (or sometimes eat in). (both have vegetarian options)

  37. Rachel, I do love to cook and I used to enjoy grocery shopping, but lugging a kid along makes it slightly less fun and a lot more work, as you will find out if you have a kiddo. And I USUALLY I don’t mind it except for when I have to do twice in a row on the same day, then not so much.

  38. Aw man! HUGE bummer (that’s me using my nice words instead of the ones I would have uttered had I been in your shoes!)

    When I get in a food rut, I go to the freezer – because Me and 5 of my friends created “Dine In Divas” (thanks Oprah!). It’s like a cookie exchange, but with frozen dinners. You make a frozen meal for each person (usually 5 of the same meal for ease), then once a quarter we get together and swap food. It’s GREAT for trying new recipes and for when you really really really don’t want to cook and really don’t want to go out and eat yet again.

    I hope you get out of your rut!

  39. Food rut here as well. I’m trying to limit what I eat and that makes me less inclined to want to cook for anyone else.

  40. A quick easy soup to help get you out of the food rut:
    1 pkg. frozen diced potatoes
    1 can evaporated milk + 1 can water
    1 stick of margarine
    1 pkg. diced ham pieces
    2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
    salt and pepper to taste

    In large pot mix potatoes, milk, water, margarine, and ham. Cook on med-high heat until potatoes are tender, about 35 minutes. Add cheese, stir well. Salt and pepper. Serve with crackers or sandwiches.

  41. ahh, the food rut. I’m like you, generally I love to cook, but once in awhile I just stare at the cupboard and die. But I’ve cured that, most of the time, by becoming totally locked to my schedule. I dutifully head to wal-mart and Sams club every Tuesday with a plan. Each evening has a meal pre-assigned. I buy for the plan. It stinks for a creative soul to succumb to the yellow legal pad of organization, but it has saved me much grief as five faces stare at the stove every night around 6:30, expecting some kind of dinner.

  42. I’m amazed that you kept the cursing inside your head, under those circumstances!

    For the food rut problem, I like to head over to the farmer’s market and see what’s cheap and in season. It’s JANUARY, you say, and there is no farmer’s market, and NOTHING is cheap and in season. You’re right. But to get beyond that, we recently joined Urban Organic here in NYC, which delivers a weekly box of whatever is available… somewhere in the world. I never know from week to week what will be in the box (though there ALWAYS seems to be kale), and when it arrives I look through with anticipation and I usually get excited by something inside.

    We also go to the farmer’s market in the summer and buy lots of whatever is in season and blanch and freeze it. It’s wonderful to be able to pull out beans or applesauce in mid-winter.

  43. momhuebert, I asked the same question this week– the answer? “Deliciousness.” Thanks.

    Fajitas are my food rut– an idea for your peppers?

  44. I am dying laughing here!
    “I started thinking that maybe God doesn’t want me to have groceries. Maybe he wants me to eat the little corn. I just didn’t see that he needed to bring down the local economy over a can of miniature corn.”
    This is priceless~!! And then Joanna had to add: “The fact that you didn’t go into full rant shows that you have self-control. No one found you in the liquor section singing 99 bottles so yer good!”
    I have two or three Amish cookbooks that I keep on hand. These are GENUINE Amish cookbooks. The wonderful thing about htem is that they use ordinary, everyday ingredients and the dishes are delicious. Now, don’t get me wrong…they are diet food….but they work in a pinch when you are in a food rut! I am now 56 and keep a nicely stocked pantry so I always have something to fix, but I still tend to fix the same things over and over. AND my husband gets in a food rut more than I do because he likes meat and potatoes, nothing too fancy schmancy. I love your blog!!!! I always laugh or cry so it has kind of become an emotional outlet for me! (I’m so pathetic *feeble grin*)

  45. I get in food ruts too. You just can’t stand the thought of cooking.
    Sometimes new recipes will help. You could ask all your readers for fun, easy-to-make (or challenging, depending on your taste, pun intended) things. We could all benefit from this.
    If you like Indian food, I will share my recipe for lamb korma with you. It is great. The only person I have ever served it to that didn’t like it was someone who hates Indian food. Ask away, if this intrigues you.

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