State of the kitchen: week two

  • Dollars spent on food: $170
  • Dollars spent on kitchen gadgets: $80
  • Unintentional pounds lost: 1
  • Times dined out: 1
  • People I fed: approximately 25

This week, I blew the money I’d saved by not eating out on one of my favorite charities, Sex Workers’ Outreach Project (SWOP). I’m noticing a very significant difference in the amount of money left in my wallet at the end of the week already, even more so than I’d already thought. Is there any chance I was actually spending close to $500 a week on dining out? How long was I spending almost $2000 a month on luxury food without realizing it? I felt awfully stupid this week when I saw just how much money was left over. I had some great meals last year, but I’m enjoying this year just the same.

I did eat out once — lobster bisque and seared Ahi — with a customer. Even though I ordered smaller portions than I’m used to, I was totally full by the time I finished my cup of soup and started in on the Ahi (an appetizer portion). Sure, my appetite is a little off this week because I’m trying a new supplement, but my appetite in general is much smaller than it was just two weeks ago. My portion sizes meet my needs, now, instead of feeling like I’m wasting food by leaving it behind at a restaurant.

I spent the extra money on food to buy supplies for making chocolate-covered strawberries. I regret nothing. It was easy, elegant, and I really loved the look on my coworkers’ and friends’ faces when they tried my handiwork. I had so much memorable fun making and giving out those strawberries yesterday!

I bought a vegetable spiralizer that I’ve wanted for ages to make veggie noodles with, a double-boiler I went from not knowing how to use to using proficiently, and an egg poacher, because poaching eggs was stupid and I hated doing it the old-fashioned way.

I’m down a total of five pounds now, while literally eating sticks of butter (eggs benedict), sugar (peanut butter cookies and pudding), and anything else my heart desires. I’m not at all trying to lose weight, and it was never the goal of this project.

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My biggest accomplishment this week was learning to make things I hadn’t even dared to try before for fear of screwing them up or helplessness in where to start: macaroni and cheese, the strawberries, and a simple curry. While these things might not be a big deal to someone who cooks regularly, I literally had no idea where to start. I’ve been so disconnected from my food that I had no idea what ingredients (beyond the obvious) I might need. Taking these basic recipes, I hope to expand them into deeper, more complex tastes than I had the first time around.

The Cheerful Bouquet lasted 15 days before I bought a new one — this time, the Happiness Bouquet, which was four times as expensive and quite metaphoric to me. And, check out my new book for the table: Dressage for the Not-so-Perfect Horse, by Janet Fox.

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State of the kitchen: week one

Dollars spent on food: $95
Unintentional pounds lost: 4
Times dined out: 1
Dollars saved so far: $205
People I fed: 4

This was the week the project became real to me, and I discovered some unintended side effects. Instead of blowing a few hundred extra dollars on eating out, I ordered $200 in necessary new supplies for my horse, which was really rewarding. Like I said, I don’t need to save the money on food, but not spending money outright frivolously is a value of mine. I try to spend my money thoughtfully.

The dishes never end. Never. They will never end.

Also, I am always at the grocery store. Soon I will know all of the employees’ names.

I enjoyed food with my pal Staci, her husband Dave, her son Lucas, and my bestie, Anne. It was great to feed them, and I was especially proud of the food I fed to Anne after slaving over the stove for two straight hours. I did dine out with one of my best clients this week at an excellent high-end steakhouse on the coldest night of our winter so far: -15 degrees Fahrenheit! One of the exceptions to my restaurant abstinence had to be going out with my clients — a part of my job that is both a special treat and unavoidable.

Lastly, I’ve somehow lost four pounds. Not only have I lost four pounds, but I did so while literally eating sticks of butter, lots of oil, and not at all controlling my portions. I ate whatever I wanted, when I wanted it, with the only caveat of having to make it myself. I didn’t work out more to compensate, and if anything, I’ve worked out less because of the cold, time off of work, and an injury. I’ve noticed my appetite balancing out, and I’m not as hungry as I had been in previous months. Even better, my “sense of urgency” in how hungry I am has dropped drastically. I had been turning into a moody little wench (queen of tantrums held only inside of my head) if food wasn’t available to me the instant I became hungry, because my hunger was hitting hard and fast and my specific cravings were strong. Over the last week, my “sense of urgency” has diminished, and I can only attribute it to having more consistent blood sugar, a higher protein ratio, and dumping the mystery food ingredients out of my life (MSG, anyone?).

This really isn’t as hard as I thought it would be at all.

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