A few months ago, the girlfriend and I were on a date at San Diego’s version of Coney Island. We sat on the boardwalk, drinking overpriced beers and started talking about ways we could save a bit of money by cooking meals at home more.
I brought this up not because I’m struggling financially, but because it’s been mystifying to me to see how in the past few years I’ve gone from getting by okay on a graduate student salary, to racking up a bit of credit card debt this year making a TOTALLY ADULT salary. I eventually got up the courage to sit down and figure out where the hell all of the money had been going. I found there were two areas of spending that stood out – eating out and books/media.
I blinked twice at the books/media number, but that was about as far as that went.
But the eating out one really made everything else pale in comparison.
HOW could I spend that much money every year on eating out? WHAT THE HELL HAVE I BEEN EATING?!?
Then I remember how I occasionally like to pick up the entire check at a nice restaurant. Or have an extravagant evening with my witches with really expensive beer or bourbon and a Postmates delivery. And how delicious beer is. And how much I like the coffee shop down the street from me. And oh, hey, cafeteria pizza.
I mean, I’m not sad about spending money on those things. Since the c diff infections have been defeated, I’ve been ecstatic about being able to eat things other than rice, toast and pedialyte.
So we agreed, it would probably be a good idea to cook more meals at home.
I suggested the brilliant-in-a-way-that’s-indistinguishable-from-insanity idea of getting a CSA box.
The GF likes cooking. I don’t mind cooking. I’m vegetarian and she’s mostly vegetarian. Vegetables are fucking rad. Seemed like a good idea.
And anyone who has ever gotten a CSA box before knows where this story is going.
I feel bad about wasting food. It’s why I would only usually buy things at the grocery store that could sit around neglected for a bit before I decided to do something with them. If I bought a zucchini because I vaguely thought that zucchini is a vegetable I enjoy when I was wandering through the produce section, that zucchini would go bad. So I only bought vegetables when I had a plan for cooking with them in the immediate future.
And for some reason I thought that having a shitload of vegetables delivered every two weeks would change those habits.
As a result, the last six weeks of our lives has been marked by a swath of rotten/forgotten vegetables. But I have learned some valuable lessons from all of this:
- Google, garlic, onions and olive oil are my dearest friends.
- Homemade balsamic vinagrette is cheap and fucking delicious.
- Tomatoes go with everything. EVERYTHING.
- Recipe times are a fucking sham.
- Suggested amounts of garlic are woefully inadequate.
I also have to say, going an entire week without spending any money because you finally have the basic cooking staples around the house is a really fucking good feeling.
And homemade pumpkin soup will make EVERYTHING YOU HAVE EVER LOVED FILTHY. But it will be the best soup you have ever put in your mouth.
We’re getting some kind of weird mutant squash tomorrow. I’ve already got the recipe picked out, and we’ve already got nearly everything to make with it.
Now I just have to figure out how the hell to open a pomegranate.