That Charge: Annie
Julian wants to plan all meals a week in advance to control calorie intake. But now I’m bored to tears
My fiancé Julian is obsessed with batch cooking. We live together at his flat and when I first moved in I found his habit handy as it saved time and seemed to help with portion control: you plan all your meals for the week ahead, cook a large portion and freeze some one to eat later. However, three years later I am bored to death.
We end up eating the same thing over and over again. Julian likes to cook up some big dishes on Sunday evenings, like turkey casserole or fish pie. He will then portion them out to either eat them every day for the next week or freeze them for future use.
He works as a physical education teacher and is very health conscious. He loves to bring the same chicken, rice, and broccoli combo for lunch every day, which he prepares ahead of time. He pre-cooked them all in Tupperware boxes. We cook our dinners at once every Sunday and make a A week’s worth of dishes to freeze. At first I wanted to lose weight and Julian’s methods helped me stay on track as we were sticking to a calorie limit for each serving. But now I’m in the mood for some excitement. I’m more relaxed about my fitness goals and don’t like the idea of arguing what to eat on a Sunday and then sticking to it all week.
Julian says these methods help him stick to his goals. But sometimes the dishes don’t hold up well. Monday’s chicken and broccoli don’t taste half as good on a Friday. Recently we ate a meal we cooked a month ago. It was a thawed shepherd’s pie that had become all soggy and watery. I said to Julian that I would like to eat something else. We had a fight because he told me I was “wasteful”. I snapped and said I wouldn’t compromise on the taste and threw the cake away.
Julian needs to understand that cooking in bulk isn’t for everyone. He says I’ll ruin all my hard work if I start eating what I want because I become a victim of high-calorie meals. I told him to get lost on that front; I am not a child. I don’t want the same thing every night.
The defense: Julian
I like to eat the same thing every day – and Annie has lost weight. When she cooks, she could put it back on
I work at a gym and I want to look and feel good. My cooking methods protect me from choosing high-calorie meals because each meal is already portioned. I know the nutritional content of everything I eat. I’m a bit of a robot, I only eat what I’m supposed to eat, but it keeps me focused.
At first, Annie loved our batch-cooked dinners. She wanted to lose some weight and with my help she achieved her goals. Now she wants to change. But why fix what isn’t broken? And what if she puts all that weight back on? She’s not the most disciplined of humans.
Annie moans that I spend all weekend cooking, but planning ahead means you actually reduce the time you spend in the kitchen overall. We probably spent more time together because of my cooking habits. We also save money on our grocery store as batch cooking reduces food waste. You only buy what you need – I no longer run around the supermarkets aimlessly picking up stuff, and I don’t have fraudulent ingredients sitting in the back of the fridge and spoiling. There’s no need to grab a take-out either, as dinner is always good for take-out.
When we recently had dinner that wasn’t thawed well, Annie groaned and said she couldn’t eat it. I offered to put it back in the oven but she wouldn’t and threw it away. I found that very wasteful. I was also a bit offended that she just threw away a meal I made for her. I make all my meals with love; they are not boring. That night I ate my dinner alone.
Annie should stick with our lifestyle as it has been good for us so far. She’s not as good a cook as I am. If she starts cooking her own dinner separately, she’ll be fumbling around every night deciding what to eat while I’ll have my dinner ready in seconds. If that’s the case, I won’t wait to have dinner with her.
I like to eat the same thing every day. I don’t find it boring. It’s actually reassuring to know that I’m focused on my nutritional goals.
The Guardian readers’ jury
Is Annie right to complain about Julian’s batch cooking?
Julian is guilty. As someone who also works out regularly in the gym and needs to consume a certain amount of calories on a daily basis, I can understand the value of batch cooking. However, it gets boring quickly. I think Julian’s method is perfect for a single person, but when there are two of you there are compromises to be made.
Logical and successful, Julian’s diet and nutrition plan fits his goals perfectly and if he lived alone it would be admirable. However, in a situation where meals are shared, I don’t think this is sustainable.
Julian has a system that works for him. If Annie doesn’t like it anymore, she should cook her own meals. However, Julian should be more flexible and wait for Annie so they can eat together.
Julian should fire Annie; She’s his fiancee, not his client. And when it increases again, the world keeps spinning. It doesn’t sound like Annie wants to ditch batch cooking altogether just to add some variety. Why not batch cook three days a week and let Annie plan the menu for the other two?
Julian is guilty of not supporting Annie’s desire to try new things. Relationships are about compromise and support, not holding your partner’s weight against them. Julian may also find that planning meals ahead of time and cooking them during the day can be both economical and healthy.
So now you can be the judge, click on the poll below to tell us: Should Julian stop batch cooking?
We will publish the results on You be the Judge next week.
The poll closes on Thursday 21 April at 9:00am BST
The result of the last week
We asked you if Hannah should stop cranking the heater, something her boyfriend Steven thinks is a waste of money and bad for the planet.
14% of you said no – Hannah is innocent
86% of you said yes – Hannah is guilty