Researchers from the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology recently published research that confirms the complexity of taste, establishing that cells in the taste buds actively accept, reject and modify taste stimuli through a complicated network of chemical and electrical signals that the brain understands instinctively but that scientists are just now scrambling to unravel. In short, taste is much more complicated, convoluted, and interrelated with brain functions than we initially thought. While we have general taste consensus, we also process taste differently, depending on our individual perceptions, taste buds, sense of smell, etc. These intricate networks of taste sometimes make it hard to prepare a dinner that everyone in the family can enjoy. However, family meal planners can give you a meal plan that everyone can agree on and contribute to. Make a family meal planner using these tips and the whole family will be clearing their plates:
- Select easy dinner recipes that you may already know how to make. This way, you know that you’ll be able to cook the recipe well and that the whole family will enjoy it. After you get comfortable with a recipe, you can easily transform it into something new by adding other ingredients.
- Make meal planning into a game and ask everyone in the family to indicate their favorite smells, tastes, textures, and colors. Then, get the whole family to try and coordinate these smells, tastes, textures, and colors into full-blown meals. The whole family will have a great time thinking up meals to match their tastes.
- Play the “sniff-test” game where everyone in the family has to guess what’s in the meal, sauce, or side dish. This will help everyone decide what spices, herbs, or ingredients they like, or don’t like, in a particular meal.
- Get the family’s advice and input when making a meal planner. This seems like a no-brainer, but many cooks are guilty of cooking what they want to cook, rather than taking feedback from the peanut gallery. If you’re a culprit of one-sided meal planning, try instead to incorporate your family’s opinions in your recipe selection.
- Get the kids and husband involved with cooking and establish responsibilities. If you get the family involved, they will be more likely to appreciate the meal in front of them and they can help you cook dinner just the way they like it.
Most importantly, check your emotions at the kitchen door. If your family doesn’t like what you cook, don’t take it personally! You want to create an environment that’s open and you want your family to feel like they can tell you how they really feel about a meal. This will help you make a family meal planner that everyone’s taste-buds adore.