Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Eating In

As so often happens around Monday before payday, I am out of money for the week. Yesterday, I packed a couple of hard-boiled eggs for breakfast and yogurt and granola for lunch (I also keep dried apple slices in my desk drawer for snacking), but I wasn't sure what I was going to do about dinner--just wasn't that confident that I had enough food in the house to make it to payday without going grocery shopping (which, of course, wouldn't actually be that big a deal, in that there's money in my checking account). But lo and behold! When I looked in the fridge and the freezer and the cupboards, though...there were shrimp gyoza and artichoke tortellini and milk and granola and peanut butter and a bagel and chive-and-onion cream cheese and grapes and apples and mozzarella cheese and soup. That is to say...certainly enough to eat for two days. In fact, I don't doubt that I'll make it through the week on all that food (given, that is, that I'm being treated to lunch twice and dinner once).

I wonder how I forgot about it and how I can not forget about it in future, because I think the sense that "there's nothing there" is one of the things that causes me to not bother to pack lunch in the morning, or pick something up on my way home instead of cooking. Maybe more specific meal planning is called for, as opposed to the kind of shopping I do, which is based around "What would I like to have in the house?"

I tell you, the arts of domestic economy are criminally undervalued.


3 Things About Money said...

I've been there, many times. I look in my stuffed pantry and think "there's nothing to eat". Usually it is because I am tired, unmotivated, and can't figure out what to do with random stuff that is squirrelled away. As a result, my partner and I do "eat downs" regularly (you just had a forced eat down). We take a weekend and we can only eat out of the house/pantry/freezer. No outside food. Eat downs have several great effects. One, they are fun and we engage in a lot of creative cooking. Two, we get rid of or try out questionable experimental food bought on impulse and train us not to do that again (tofu in a box-ewwwww--but just fine in an eat down stirfry). An eat down is a wonderful reality check on both how much we have and good planning. Eat downs are random so in self-defense I have learned to always have chicken stock, canned tomatoes, olive oil, pine nuts, canned white beans, and shredded freezer chicken around (one of my favorite soup recipes)otherwise I would be puzzling over what to do with hoisin sauce with no rice. I usually have about 4 meals that I could cook out of my pantry at any given time. eat downs have really loosened me up; I take very weird lunches to work and my co-workers are amused.

SF Money Musings said...

I checked my cabinets and saw a bag of lentils, rice, quinoa, black beans, split pea (dried), cans of chickpeas, frozen meatballs in the freezer and a block of cheese.

I'm going to try and clean out the cupboard (the eatdown thing 3 things suggested is an awesome idea). It might lead to some interesting recipes.

Amy said...

I love the eat down idea too - it would give me a reason to use up those odd things in teh back of the cupboard!

For what it's worth, I tend to make my dinner lists when I'm in boring meetings, or a lull between meetings. I have some quiet time to think through my fridge, freezer, and cupboard contents, and I'm not tired or hungry so I usually have some good ideas. Here's what came out of the fridge and freezer this week (we did have to go shopping for salad greens).

Pork chops - pan fried, or oven fried, with instant mashed potatoes and canned corn. Homestyle!

Risotto made with the lamb stock, butternut squash

Chicken cooked on the George Foreman, marinated in Roasted Garlic marinade. Salad.

Pasta with meat sauce (Scott's meat sauce, or marinara and frozen cooked burger)

"Beef Stroganoff" - Egg noodles, cooked ground beef, condensed cream of mushroom, garlic powder, paprika