the business where i used to work had a fabulous brand new cafe with every possible food you can imagine: stir fry bar, pasta bar, daily pizza specials, a deli, grill, mexican food station, salad bar, soups, milkshake machine, the works. when i was pregnant with my daughter, i lived it up every single day. sometimes i miss working there JUST because of the cafe.
in general, i have always enjoyed eating out. however, since i was laid off and on our new and much reduced budget, it’s much more rare that we eat out. if you’re wondering, our budget is a total of $50 for the month to eat out and we average 2-3 times out a month with those funds plus a plethora of coupons. as a result, i have been known to fantasize about eating out and ordering something tasty that i didn’t have to prepare for DAYS in advance.
tonight, for example, i am having dinner with an old friend and we’re going to a great local burger joint. i have been dreaming about the amazing salad and the burger for three days. even more so, i am not indulging in a cookie right now in order to justify that scrumptious burger.
i cook with a fair amount of variety but there will always be something nice about someone else cooking for me. however, the frequency of someone else cooking for me has substantially dropped since i was laid off. i am the sole grocery shopper, meal planner, food preparer and usually, the clean up person. my husband offers, but i usually send him to play with the kids so i can have a few minutes alone to myself and he can visit with them after his day at work. sometimes those 5 minutes are the only minutes i get alone until bedtime.
when i do get out to eat now i make sure to enjoy every second, especially when there are no children hanging off of me. i am learning how to slow down when i eat since i usually have to rush with the kids. i order something that i don’t cook at home and make sure the meal is ordered exactly how i like it. when the food arrives, i dive in – YUM!
since we don’t eat out as much, i am also trying more new recipes than i have in years. if i am craving a meal, i try to reproduce it at home which has made cooking very experimental and a little bit exciting. i am proud to say that i am making variety in our lives in a place that it never existed before.
if you’re wondering, as of now i have no plans to return to my old employer’s cafe… even if i still do dream about the food from time to time.