As this holiday commences, I ponder some of the past year. One of the things that has changed the most, especially in the last 6 months alone, has been my eating habits. I have had a love of cooking in the last few years, but nothing compared to recently. For some unknown reason, I was on a kick of eating out almost every meal. I can’t lay blame on anyone else, as I agreed to this decision when I was with someone else. Sadly, when I did the math, I spent more on food during that decade than I did all of my other expenses. I could have put down over 20% on the house I just bought, could have paid for nearly 2 years of tuition to finish college, or paid cash for my entire car. And that was just what I spent on her meals, excluding my own. I don’t blame her for my decision, as in I thought I was making someone else happy. I didn’t, so I have deep regrets about the money spent.
Now, I bought a house and that doubled the amount I spend a month on utilities and the mortgage versus rent. Suffice it to say, I cannot afford to eat out. As my obvious girth can attest, I love good food. I have taken in a roommate to help with the expenses and he was used to meager foods to survive whereas I was used to expensive dinners eating out.
The compromise has been eating at home 99% of the time. We eat like kings because with all the money saved on going out, I buy top notch food at the grocery store. We have restaurant quality food at home for most meals.
I toast a croissant and put a little chocolate syrup on it like I had in Paris lo those many years ago. I’ll cook up some brown sugar cured bacon with some maple syrup added to top it off (after having it on a gig a couple weeks ago).
Having a vintage 1967 wall oven meant buying a toaster oven (my first ever). I use the energy efficient toaster oven for most things like toast, rolls, pizzas, etc. I have a George Foreman grill for the winter time to do chicken and burgers. For any kind of sandwich, I always spray some butter on the bun and put it on the griddle to make it just like a restaurant. And I have a large oil fryer for french fries, onion rings, and other breaded/fried items.
Stir fry seems to be our speciality though. Steamed white rice with mixed veggies, throwing in our own fresh choices with the frozen bags, along with baked chicken makes for two meals in one. I love trying different sauces, like the Sweet Chili or Sweet and Sour mixed with General Tso’s to create unique flavors.
Salads are a big thing here now. I use the Olive Garden dressing and I can control the amount of croutons added (I like a lot of stale bread with the greens). Big restaurant chain items like LaRosa’s sauce or Montgomery Inn BBQ really make it so that I don’t miss eating out at all. Especially when I can make my own ribs or pizza or Chinese food that tastes more unique.
Even though my grocery bill has gone up, I have saved so much money. I feel so much healthier (in spite of the list of foods I eat included above). I greatly look forward to cooking, to eating, to breaking bread with my roommate or friends who join us.
And to topping it off with a drink at the bar in Rossland. LIFE IS GOOD.
“And there are many paths to tread
To the edge of night
Until the stars are all alight”
– Billy Boyd