living underground in the real world

no more store

So, I’m never going to the grocery store again.

Or, at least for a while.

Not only do I have less than no money—I’m sure you’re completely surprised to hear that renovations at LL HQ have drained my finances to heretofore unseen levels of poverty reminiscent of college-era ramen-style desperation—but going to the store is boring now that I’m no longer shopping for 20 families.

I just sort of wander the aisles, noting with glee that they actually, for once, have a wide rice noodles in stock and almost throwing all I can get into my cart before remembering that I have a whole case at home, and I no longer need to hoard things that are hard to find. I can just not use ingredients that are annoying to find, since I decide what I eat these days, and not me-from-the-past who planned all her menus six months ago. (What the crap am I talking about? I used to run this meal delivery thingie, and I don’t any more. There, we’re all up to speed.)

Except for the whole not-being-able-to-buy-things part, I’m really enjoying being temporarily poor again. Much like college, I could care less about being poor because life is so amazing (and making out with my boyfriend Jacob is so fun. Some things never change.) I know once the shop gets running I will be back on my feet, and until then I’m just living off my boyfrien’ and gleefully telling people, “Sorry, I can’t afford to go out to dinner.”

I can’t! It’s nice not to pretend or sugar coat it. I’ve got good, understanding friends.

It’s weird—usually people who have been truly poor don’t romanticize being poor. When you actually grew up eating margarine sandwiches and bread cereal, you don’t really have nostalgia for those fun times. And I don’t, those times were awful and scary and are probably why my knees knock together in weird ways when I walk. I’ll never miss those days of poverty that was always in danger of sliding over into homelessness/Child Protective Services visits/parents in jail (OK yeah, one of those happened. But it was the best one, trust me.)

But I miss being college-poor, when all your friends were poor (and if they weren’t, they knew enough to pretend) and no one threw show-offy dinner parties or renovated their houses. Truthfully, my dinner parties are legendary (I don’t mean them to be show-offy, but I’m just such an amazing freaking chef, how could they not be?), and I’m currently renovating my work-house, but whatever.

In this economy, lots of my friends are in the same boat—underemployed actors and artists, laid-off professionals, perpetual students hiding from capitalism.

We’re all scraping by these days.

So: store no more.

I figured that in order to keep me honest, I’d take photos of what I ate and toss them up here. But not like all those pretentious twee fucking food blogs that prettify everything up—I’m not going to cheat. I’m in crazywork mode these days, and most of my meals are solitary which means I eat out of the pot half the time, and I’m not going to pretend not to. This isn’t a cooking lesson or an aspirational-diet type thing. This is me being honest about the weird crap I eat when I’m working 15 hours a day. Or maybe not so weird, who knows. We’ll see!

THE RULES:

-I’ve got my CSA share and a shit-ton of rapidly aging staples from the meal delivery to use up–rices and beans and olives and so, so much more. That should be enough to sustain me for a while.

-I’m allowed to buy local produce at farmer’s markets and from farmers.

-I’m allowed to eat out in a parsimonious way, or in a lavish way if I can find someone else to foot the bill.

-The only thing I’m not allowed to do is go to the supermarket or health food store.

-I already miss lemons. I really like lemons.

Let’s start with yesterday.

Breakfast/mid-day snack/afternoon snack: pictured blurrily above: the tiniest bestest strawberries ever, fresh from Bart Colucci’s honor-system farm stand. Best breakfast ever. I wanted to make an old-fashioned strawberry cake with them, with pink frosting and all that, but who am I kidding? I cannot be left alone around fruit, for one thing (need I remind you of the Fruit Life List?), and for another, I had too much crap to do to be making cakes willy-nilly. There were truffles to dip and caramels to cut and gardens to water and gravel to buy and haul and spread around and rake and stare at, wondering if I bought the wrong kind of gravel. No time for cake!

Wow, real shitty photography right from the start. This was a lentil soup thingie I made a few days ago. Lots of olive oil, dried sage, smoked paprika, caramelized onions, sea salt, lots of pepper, some French lentils and some buckwheat, because I have a huge bag of it that isn’t getting any younger, some kombu for depth, some garlic vinegar for brightness, blah blah. It was good, but better when I added garlicky greens from my CSA box.

Also: Salad! CSA lettuce, yes yes yes yes yes. And olives and peppadew peppers. I’ve got vats of both I’m steadily working through. Dressing made by my sweetheart two days ago: some sort of miso/lemon/evo concoction that was perfect.

Then for dinner I made an actual meal–soft polenta with chile flakes and tons upon tons of olive oil (I think I’ve discussed on the blog how all I really eat is greens + olive oil + noodley things + other types of fat + fruit? You’re about to see the proof. Oily carbs are my BFFs!) and CSA greens with garlic vinegar and I don’t know, other delicious bits I’ve forgotten.

Soft polenta + greens is a meal I eat often because 1) it’s the best thing ever and 2) the next day the polenta is firm and you can fry it and thus eat MORE OIL and 3) big surprise, I have a ton o’ local polenta I’m using up.

There we are!

Wow, actually a sort of super awesome food day—I actually ate some protein! That never happens. (I guess I should ramble here about That One Time I got My Blood Tested For Iron And Protein And Whatnot And Everything Was Perfect So Suck It, Where-Do-You-Get-Your-Protein Freaks.) I haven’t had a chance to plug my tempeh incubator into the new space, but once that gets going I’ll get some protein in me. (I’m going to be selling tempeh, too! CHEAP!)

Oh also, I was working all day, so I was nibbling on choco scraps here and there too, but when I say “nibble,” I really mean it—sometimes it feels like I’m eating chocolate all day, but I doubt if it’s over two or three ounces or so—just tiny quality-control bits of this and that throughout the day. Then I go home to do paperwork and really wish I had serious sweet snacks, but I never do because I’m too lazy to ever bring anything home. Sigh.

Coming up: today’s super boring meals!

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