Sunday, June 24, 2007

Frugal Food: The Backlash

While doing my frugal food experiment lately, I've rediscovered how much I love cooking. I've been spending internet time reading food and recipe sites (I baked two loaves of Orangette's cinnamon-and-sugar-crusted banana bread yesterday, and it's amazing) and thinking about the cool things I'm going to make, and...I just went way overboard this week. I did a sensible round of shopping at Trader Joe's on Friday, but yesterday K and I went to beautiful, wonderful, amazing Uptown Fairway, and...kablooey, you know?

While my parents are in Italy (May-September; retirement must be nice), K promised to start their car every couple of weeks (I would, but I don't drive), so we took it out for a spin yesterday afternoon, through Washington Heights and Inwood and up around Fort Tryon Park. It was really lovely, and then when we got to Fairway, the sun was setting over the river—Uptown Fairway is right on the Hudson—and I guess I just sort of got overwhelmed with the aesthetics of it all, because I had this little list of like seven things, and it just went entirely out the window.

K was beside me the whole time, occasionally going, "Whoa...capers? Do we need capers? Um. Do we need starfruit? Do we need white asparagus?" He did reign me in from going entirely supermarket-insane, but we still got a lot of stuff we didn't need for this week, really—like, I'm not sure how we're going to use the shrimp. I had planned to make shrimp quesadillas on the couple of evenings I'm going to be in this week, but now I'm not sure—but I will have to use them, or they'll go bad and I'll have blown $10 (well, $5, because K and I split the grocery shopping).

On the plus side, I'm really excited about the things we're going to make—we got the shrimp, and some little eye round steaks, and lots of great apples and walnuts and gorgonzola for a salad. And the capers. And a six-pack of a nice-looking summer ale. This morning K made omelets with gouda and cherry tomatoes and spinach, and hash browns, and then I made balsamic-macerated strawberries with vanilla ice cream. And we had mimosas. And we will never need to eat food again.

On the financial plus side, the excess on the grocery bill is easily paid for by the slack in my eating-out budget. I've suddenly got an extra $40, which is great.

P.S. Sorry for the low post rate lately, you guys. I'm studying hard for the GRE—as Barbie used to say, math is hard!—and I've been extraordinarily crunched for time.


SF Money Musings said...

I love the Orangette's recipes! They're just heavenly and wonderful especially the banana bread. I made a chocolate chip version last week and gave half to a woman who works in my building. We ended up eating the bread for lunch.

On the downside of recipe searching so much, it's so easy to blow the food budget and buy things you don't need or use often. I do that at Trader Joe's mostly because it's so cheap If I don't remember my list I end up spending twice the amount than I intended.

Anonymous said...

Yea, fairway is like that.... You can try your best, but It Is Stronger Than (Most of) Us.

Cilla said...

ditto with musings...I always overdo it at Trader Joe's. You can freeze shrimp! I buy one pound bags at my local Asian supermarket and freeze them until I can use it.