A Blog for Modern Traditionalists

Month: February 2013

Blog Browsin’: Newedist Handknits

Blog Browsin’: Newedist Handknits

It’s time to tackle knitting again. I tried once about a decade ago and ended up with what looked like a dishrag that someone had played both tug-of-war and soccer with. I gave up. But lately, I’m seeing beautiful knits that I desire. Of course, […]

Dad’s Great Idea

Dad’s Great Idea

When I mentioned the No-Restaurant Diet to my dad, he quickly ushered me into his kitchen to proudly show off a dry erase board he’d rigged up on the side of his fridge. And, doggone it, it was a great idea! A surprisingly easy but […]

The No-Restaurant Diet

The No-Restaurant Diet

Today, Billy and I are celebrating one month of sobriety – from RESTAURANTS!

When I quit my job last month, I knew a consequence of this action would be a need to tighten the purse strings. And what, may I ask you, is the biggest dollar-sucker out there? Prostitutes, gambling, buying Snoopy collectibles on eBay…okay there are far worse dollar suckers. But for the average person, I’m willing to bet it’s restaurants.

I know the feeling well. It’s 6pm, all you’ve got in your fridge is a half-liquefied head of lettuce and there is an alien-in-the-stomach gnawing sensation growing by the second. The trek to the grocery store and back seems more daunting than the Camino de Santiago, and even then you’re still not done: you have yet to cook the goods. At this point, you reason, there is a very real possibility that starvation will take hold and you’ll faint with your cheek resting on the oven burner. Then there will be rounds upon rounds of (unsuccessful) facial grafts and overall your life will be hell.

So you and your equally peckish sweetie cruise down to Moxie’s and drop $50 on a hummus appetizer, two Thai Chicken Salads and $7 cocktails.

The thing that really tipped the scales for us was this night we did the lazy dine at a Japanese restaurant. The bill was a reasonably modest $35 but we were completely unsatisfied with the whole shebang from the miso soup to the lacklustre goodbye from the waitress. On the way home, we stopped for a few groceries, which totalled $28. When we looked at the plentiful contents of our cart and realized they cost LESS than the crappy california rolls, we had an epiphany.

Eating out is a waste of money. And it’s not even GOOD 70% of the time.

So I’ve been diligently planning out our meals every Monday and tracking my expenditures at the grocery store. Note that I’m not purposely trying to be ultra cheap, I’m just cooking at home with real food as per usual (no Kraft Dinner, Hamburger Helper, frozen pizzas and the like). The only change is NO RESTAURANTS.

The total spent on all food, in Canadian moolah:

  • Week 1: $129
  • Week 2: $158
  • Week 3: $152
  • Week 4: $85

Total: $524

Per person per month: $262

On Weeks 2 and 3 we entertained, which accounts for the rise. This week there was a massive dip because I’d stockpiled so many things in my freezer and pantry.

Jamie's Food RevolutionMy absolute FAVOURITE cookbook, which has carried us through the month with flying colours, is Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. We just don’t get tired of this book, which features traditional recipes like Meatballs, Lasagna, Potato & Leek soup, etc. and some Asian dishes like Chicken Chow Mein and curries. A new winner in our house is Shrimp and Avocado with an Old-School Marie Rose Sauce.

To organize my week, I use the menu chalkboard shown above. I made it myself. Here’s a video tutorial I made a couple of years ago:

The interesting thing is, I thought this would be hard. As it turns out, I don’t miss eating out AT ALL! The social craving that often accompanies dining out was satisfied by simply inviting people over.

Speaking of nostalgia, my mom says she can barely recall eating in restaurants in the ’50s when she was growing up. It was a special occasion thing. And if I can make dining out intentional and celebratory instead of a lazy-ass default and save a few bucks in the process, I’m all for it!

What’s for dins tonight, Jamie ol’ pal?