Huffington Post Green, one of the top 5 websites I visit daily, has issued a challenge to its readers: "The Week of Eating In" starting today: Monday, February 22. Now, eating at home for a whole week may not sound like that big of a challenge; however, the typical day in the food-life of an American often consists of: no breakfast, or perhaps a hastily purchased coffee and danish from Starbucks, a quick run to the deli for lunch, a vending machine snack, and rushing to get home with no time to cook, maybe a quick drive through the drive-thru or pulling out a frozen dinner to throw in the microwave. We celebrate the weekend by making drinks plans with friends, and then make reservations at a favorite restaurant or two for Friday and Saturday nights.
I have to admit, when I lived in New York City, the thought of preparing a meal in my miniscule kitchen with nothing more than a sliver of formica that constituted "counter space" filled me with dread. I nearly resorted to using my oven for additional shoe storage, as Carrie Bradshaw did in Sex and the City... except I needed it to heat up takeout. I'm kind of embarrassed to admit that I can probably count the times I prepared "real" food (from scratch) on two hands during the entire decade I lived there. Braving the mayhem of the markets, cracking open a cookbook, juggling cutting boards on that aforementioned counter-sliver, and dealing with all of the cleanup (dishwasher? in that kitchen? ha!) sounded like unnecessary sado-masochism, and I avoided the whole brouhaha at all costs. Plus, in a city where any restaurant would deliver to your door almost 24 hours a day, (almost) no one I knew cooked at home.
Since living in Seattle and having more time on my hands as well as a significantly larger and more user-friendly kitchen to work in, I have become much more proficient at cooking meals at home. I usually cook four days a week, and I really do "cook," rather than "heat up." I prepare all of my foods from scratch with fresh (occasionally frozen) produce and fish. Whole Foods is two blocks away from where I live and Pike Place Market, the largest and most famous daily farmers market in the country, is just a few blocks down the street. As a result, I have tried to emulate the European market methods by shopping for food almost every other day, which ensures the produce and fish I use are as fresh as possible. I have grown to love buying bread that was baked fresh that day from the local bakery, fish that was caught that morning in nearby Alaskan waters, and seasonal produce that was picked as recently as yesterday from a nearby farm.
I like the experiment for the following reasons: