You know how Target is, right?

Before I can anxiously say goodbye to my restaurant addiction, I’ve needed to do two things: prepare my dining and cooking areas, and eat at a few of my favorite places.

One of my Overexcited Phase goals was to get new adult-like plates, bowls, silverware, and real (gasp) glasses made of glass. After a great night at work, and also needing
to grab some overdue holiday gifts and tampons, I set off for Target. I could surely find some relatively inexpensive, plain white plates at Target.

These are the things I came home with: thick yoga mat, purple yoga block, hand warmers, cheap gloves, a scratch-off lottery ticket, dog food, a soda, and an orange massage stick with pointy massage balls. These things are not very kitchen-y. I’m an excellent to-do list writer. Very thorough. I am also terrible at following through. You know how Target is, right?

Next project: clearing the dining room table before January 1. After I bought my house in September and moved in officially at the end of October, it became a catch-all spot, as many people’s tables do. I painted the walls and trim, ripped out and replaced the floors in the entire house, and removed a junk ceiling fan/light combination. Here’s where we’re at:

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And over the next year, the baseboard trim will be installed and the trim paint touched up, a large painting hung behind the table, and an electrician to do some rewiring and install a nice modern light fixture with antique bulbs. A restaurant filled only with my favorite people, and the foods I create with lots of love for those people and nourishment for myself.

Next up: dinner at a nice southwestern restaurant with lovely coworkers who radiate happiness. I think it’s going to take me awhile to master making tamales, and I can’t wait to eat a few from one of my favorite places in town.

And tequila. There will definitely be tequila.

Breaking up with eating out

It was worth it while it lasted, and I’ll definitely miss your beautiful lighting, your fancy table cloths, your heavy silverware, and your menus of abundance and flavor. But I think it’s best if we took a break. Just for a year. You’re such a charmer, and I’ve stayed in this relationship much longer than I should have.

I don’t even know how in the fuck this white Midwestern girl will learn to make passable tamales, rich with cumin and onion and something called lard, created by some mysterious steaming process of deliciousness and extra deliciousness. I may lean on the soft, gooey shoulder of a local specialty cheese shop for awhile, which will definitely have to count as a grocery store and not a restaurant.

And I’ll have to make an exception, to come crawling back to restaurants while I’m traveling, or the rare times my very most favorite vegan macaroni and cheese makes the menu at a local vegan restaurant run by a vague acquaintance.¬†We can still be friends, you know. I have clients that love restaurants, and I wouldn’t dare deprive them. But eating at restaurants 10-15 times a week has to stop.

I know my kitchen is pretty ugly, and that my cooking skills are only marginally better since I used my coffee pot to make ramen and jello shots and heat up Spaghettios in 2006. It’s going to be tough: I’m always on my way out the door, I can’t eat some grain products, and there’s a restaurant on every corner calling my name. I might even have to buy some new contraptions to do new things with new foods. I can afford to slip back into the fast and loving embrace of restaurants, any time, and I’ll have to keep my eye on the long-term goals:

  • Re-allocating the money from my big, bad restaurant habit into the continued remodel of my sweet new urban-ish house, including the ugly kitchen with the loud fridge.
  • Spending more quality time with friends in a wider range of activities rather than sticking our heads in menus. I want to know my friends better through the things they love to do and learn, not through their tipping percentages and usual soda order.
  • Learning some of the family recipes (if there are any) from my mother, who can surely cook something other than mashed potatoes, deviled eggs, and pickle roll-ups.
  • Having a better relationship with the origins of my food, the cooking process, and caring for my body by filling it with happy nutrients instead of a pile of sad chemicals.
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No dishwasher and ugly as hell. I’m going to need better fridge magnets.

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A sad fridge lacking in vegetables and drowning in chemicals.