Changes afoot.

Last week, I was in the middle of writing my final analysis of the Eat Local Challenge when I heard the key turn in the door. It was midday on Wednesday. Before my husband even got all the way in the door, I knew what was up: his magazine folded.

After a minute or two of hyperventilating panic, I realized we’ll actually be okay. Belts will be tightened and pennies will be pinched, but we’ll make it. As a result, things may get a little… boring around here, as I scale back the amount we spend on groceries and eating out.

Anyway, that’s the state of Maison Gezellig. I’m about to hit the grocery store with my new food budget in mind — I’m sure there’ll more about this later.

Meanwhile, here’s the aforementioned final analysis of ELC I was writing last week:

Well, I finished up my Eat Local Challenge this Sunday and then gave myself a couple days to think it over.

My thoughts:

There’s no way I could have managed to do this during the original week in April. Even during mid-May, there were very few vegetables and even fewer fruits.

There were apples and rhubarb, at $1 and $4 a pound, respectively. (And really, once you add the ton of sugar you need to make rhubarb edible, how good could it be for you at that point?) I heard there were strawberries to be had, but I never saw any.

Vegetables fared slightly better with some leafy greens, asparagus, the last of the season’s ramps (not that I knew what to do with those), and some greenhouse tomatoes. The greens were good and fairly inexpensive but how much stinky pee can one person endure over the course of a week? Also: no onions and no garlic. That kinda sucked.

Everything took more time than I expected it to. Like I said earlier, getting from my house to the Union Square Greenmarket is at least a 45-minute trip, each way. Then, when I got home, I’d have to really puzzle over what the hell could I make with what I had on hand. At least a couple of times, I just threw foods together and hoped they’d work out.

Goddamn, cheese is expensive. I should have taken a photo of the wee piece of $5 cheese I bought. It was about the size of a pack of cards; I kid you not. And it wasn’t even all that! It was cheddar, and it was good, but $20/lb good? Not so much.

Turkey thighs are awesome. Seriously. At $2.20/lb, they were by far the best bargain and really tasty besides. Turkey thighs adobo? Fantastic.

I fared much better financially than I thought I would. This may have been partly due to the amount of food I used from my own pantry, but I think even if I hadn’t relied so much on it, I still would have made it. I came in around $86 for local food, leaving me with $35 left over — much more than I expected.

I felt a lot more resentful and deprived than I thought I would, too. I think that’s pretty evident in the posts I wrote over the course of the week. Also, I really didn’t enjoy trying to explain to a four-year-old why we weren’t buying bananas this week.

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16 thoughts on “Changes afoot.

  1. There were tons of strawberries yesterday. Plus sugar peas/snap peas ( I can’t tell the difference).

  2. Good luck, Kristen. I know you guys will weather this just fine. We’ve been there, done that, more than a few times. What counts is you’re there for each other–that makes all the difference.

  3. Hey, something quite similar happened to us twenty years ago; we started freelancing (editing), and are still at it, and not doing too poorly either. Don’t worry (though that sounds pretty dim at this point, I’m sure).

  4. Terry and Kirsten: Thanks to you both.

    Tut-tut: I’m somewhat hoping the same happens for us. I know my husband and I would both prefer freelancing over a 9-to-5 job, but we’re both such obsessive worriers (especially with regard to money), that I suspect we could go broke buying ulcer medications.

  5. Hi Kristen,

    First time posting on your site, but I just wanted to say I was sorry to hear about the job… That’s not so cool.

    Maybe not the most productive use of time, but perhaps your hubby would get a kick out of this site, which got me through various bouts of unemployment:

    http://www.oddtodd.com

    Anyways, I love the site, love the honesty, and love how you write!

    All the best,

    S

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