After not really cooking for, oh, 35 years — 3 weeks without break of cooking every night was a bit rough. It takes a great deal more mental energy for me to prepare a meal than it does for folks who have been doing it for ages. Admittedly, I was pining for a drive-thru by week’s end as I stared at the Spaghetti Squash on my counter and wondered what, in the name of all that is vaguely food-like, to do with it. Seriously. Total bachelor moment. I must have stood there staring at it with a deeply furrowed brow for a good twenty minutes. And what the @#($*& is up with THESE?
It made for some awkwardness around business as well. I had two client meetings last week who, normally, I’d have met out for lunch. Thankfully both were with really lovely people with a global-consciousness who didn’t laugh when I explained. One, in fact, invited me to her home and made me a meal, which was cozy and sweet and much more personal and enjoyable. Plus the food was delicious!
Truthfully, despite feeling a little whiny about it after work when I was exhausted and didn’t feel like cooking, last week continued to be refreshing. And given I “celebrated” my success today by allowing myself a cheeseburger at a drive-thru, and was rewarded with an upset stomach and a desire to wash my face repeatedly, I’m thinking this is another challenge that will result in some ongoing changes in my life.
In Summation —
What I Learned: Dining out has become too commonplace for me, overall. Cooking, for both myself and those I love, or joyfully allowing myself to be cooked FOR, is another way to show/share love and appreciation to myself and others. It also allows me to be more mindful about what I’m eating, where it comes from (shopping local!) and encourages me to interact with my food in a more creative way. I’ve also felt more of an urge to learn gardening, now that I understand how to cook with vegetables. I can feel the burgeoning awe of planting a seed and then feeding myself and others with food I helped to grow. It’s amazing the disconnect that comes with packaged/processed/pre-prepared food. I had no idea how far out of touch I was until I started cooking.
Let Go Completely, Moderation or Change Nothing: I’ll be bringing restaurants back in moderation. It will be a last resort. Where possible, I will defer to cooking together or socializing over things other than food. I will continue to cook with regularity.
This Week’s Challenge: I am giving myself a break from SansLux this week, as I am traveling to New York and won’t be entirely in charge of my surroundings. Back soon with more!]]>
In some ways, giving up spending extra money at all was pretty encompassing. So many things are represented in that overarching category that giving up anything smaller felt redundant. I thought about giving up drinking anything but water this week, and had actually decided to do so, and then I woke up this morning and downed a Diet Coke before I even thought about it. Caffeine-addiction is a powerful agent of denial. That will be a good challenge for another week, but setting out on a fail note was too depressing.
After much consideration, I decided to give up dining out. Even during the no-spend challenge, I ended up in restaurants twice. Once, a friend took me out for Sushi (for her birthday! Incredibly generous.) and once, an awkward (but fun) brunch where I was the only non-eating attendee.
The reason I’ve chosen this is three-fold:
1) I feel that a lot of my socializing happens around food. That’s all well-and-good, but it’s not the most creative use of social time.
2) I have had a block about cooking for a long time, and I’m just starting to get the hang of it. I’ve been restaurants, drive-thrus and pre-prepared foodstuffs for ages. I’d like to nurture this newfound skillset and help solidify it as a habit.
3) I went through my bank statements for the last few months and, overwhelmingly, my largest non-bill expenditures were on food. It’s a huge waste of money. Huge.
SO: No food that I didn’t prepare myself will pass my lips this week. If I’m invited out for a meal I will propose alternatives. If folks really just want to go out to eat, I can join them to be social, but I can’t order. Nor will I accept invitations to purchase meals for me (as I will feel inclined to return the favor at a later date, which is sort of like passively spending money in advance.)
If we eat together, we cook together. And ideally as a smaller part of a more encompassing evening.]]>