Chicken or beef? Life’s hardest decision

There is very little that I find more satisfying than whipping up something delicious in the kitchen.  Even at the end of the month when the cupboard resembles what can only be described as a “mystery box challenge”, I love flexing my creative foodie muscles.  

As much as I love cooking, it’s nice to get out of the house from time to time for small doses of exposure to other living, breathing human beings.  And so, if the budget allows, Mrs Megamalist and I eat out every once in a while.

The waiter has arrived at our table and we’ve ordered our drinks

Eating out poses somewhat of a challenge.  Even the simplest of restaurants have started expanding their menus and you’re often faced with tomes the size of War and Peace, filled with endless lists of what will inevitably be mediocre main meals. (Perhaps I am the only one who feels that restaurants should stick to a few signature dishes which are prepared really well?).

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels
The average size of menus these days

He’s back and now waiting for our food order.  We ask for 5 more minutes

Regardless of where we’re eating, it’s almost a foregone conclusion that both Mrs and I will end up with the exact same meal we always order – rump with cheese sauce and chips.  However, while the order seldom changes, the sheer volume of alternatives is akin to some kind of cruel torture when it comes to actually making the decision.

Mrs and I trying to decide what to eat

The salmon looks good.  Oooo – look at the pasta option!  But do I actually feel like chicken tonight?

There have been a number of studies into a psychological phenomenon called decision fatigue.  In a nutshell, every decision we make requires energy.  These studies have proven that as our day grinds on, our mental capacity for making decisions is depleted, with our energy diminished in direct proportion to the gravity of what we’re trying to decide.

The waiter is back again and we both start panicking

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash
Damn you and deliciousness, Gingernuts!

Willpower is usually at its peak in the morning, waning as your pile of choices get picked off one by one.  This could explain the reason you’re opting to skip gym and reach for a cold beer after a particularly taxing day at the office.  Or why, after being able to resist that packet of Gingernuts for most of the day, it’s now 20:30 and you’re silently berating yourself for not saving some for tomorrow.  


We’re now officially faced with placing an order or organising some sort of living arrangement at the restaurant

Dad worked at the same company between 1982 and 2014.  Every single day for 32 years, mom provided lunch in the form of a cheese sandwich.  I always thought this bordered on the most boring form of insanity known to mankind, however now that I am faced with a crippling amount decisions every day, I realise the genius of this approach.  

If you can reduce the amount of small decisions, it frees up substantial energy to tackle the stuff that actually matters.  Ergo, weekday breakfast for the last three years has been a bowl of oats with chopped apple and cinnamon. Work lunch is a sandwich – usually peanut butter and jam.  Sunday dinner is most likely going to be an omelette with raw jalapenos chopped into it (because I’m a sadist, apparently).

We order two rumps with cheese sauce with a side of chips and exhausted relief.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
The chips of exhausted relief

There are a few other ways to minimise pointless decisions, such as wearing the same thing day in and day out (it was good enough for Steve Jobs), having a daily routine (fail to plan, plan to fail) and to stop agonising over every single available alternative (the fewer options you’re faced with, the easier it is to decide)…  And to eat the same thing for breakfast every day, obviously.

When it comes to food, however, many would argue that variety is the spice of life and it’s true.  My soul would die a slow and painful death if I could only eat the same meal for the rest of my life.  So, while I’d recommend the “same same” approach for breakfast and lunch, making up to 35,000 decisions each day requires a lot of energy and you probably need to replenish those the calories.  Dinner should be the smorgasbord of deliciousness that provides you with them.

We’re home from the restaurant and settle down in front of the TV.  “What are we watching?” Mrs Megamalist asks…

Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash

4 thoughts on “Chicken or beef? Life’s hardest decision

  1. If only there were just two options to choose from! That would make it easy… and probably boring. I probably have one of the most boring wardrobes of clothing. Why? Because trying to decide what clothes I like enough to buy is extremely stressful and I end up with the same old (or rather just a new version of) pair of jeans and a few nice tops to go with them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I recently read that simply increasing the number of choices from 2 to 3 options results in decision paralysis. In terms of clothing, I tend to wear different colours of the same thing, with the added benefit of all the colours complementing each other. Not exactly exciting, but at least I don’t have to think about what to wear!


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