Here’s the thing, I really like to cook, but I’m lazy about it. I’m a food editor, yet I order Seamless, A LOT. On weekdays, I don’t get home until after 7 p.m., and by that time I want dinner ASAP. When the weekend rolls around, it’s nice to splurge by going out to brunch, or dinner, or drinks with friends. So, needless to say, ordering/going out has been a big part of how I eat for quite some time now.
After complaining about my seemingly unbreakable Seamless habit to my boss one too many times, she proposed a challenge. Could I JUST eat things that I cooked for myself for two weeks straight? The gauntlet had been thrown and my competitive nature overtook my inner fear of letting go of takeout. “Of course, I can,” I said. “Let’s do it.”
A photo posted by Zoe Bain (@zeeeebs) on Sep 1, 2015 at 10:44am PDT
We decided it would be way too easy if I still had access to the unlimited snacks and caffeine at Refinery29. So I sadly said goodbye to the free cold brew and gave away all of the food samples that came across my desk during this time. I couldn’t eat out or order in at all. I also couldn’t eat anything that wasn’t homemade, or anything that wasn’t purchased while shopping for my upcoming meals at the supermarket. Even a bite of someone else’s food that they bought was cheating. And, I had to pack my own lunch every. single. day.
Despite knowing that it was coming for weeks in advance, this food experiment really snuck up on me. Instead of taking the weekend to plan out my meals, I waited until Monday night (I officially started the challenge on a Tuesday), panicked, and set out to the grocery store after work so I would at least have lunch and maybe something to make for dinner on Tuesday. Oy vey!
Breakfast: Coffee, cantaloupe, a baggie of dry Honey Bunches of Oats
Lunch: Leftover quinoa with tomato sauce, corn, and zucchini, a baggie of Popchips, and a nectarine
Dinner: Pesto chicken, roasted potatoes, and roasted carrots
The panic has set in fully now, and I crankily forgo my snooze button so I can make coffee and pack my lunch. I drink my coffee en route to the subway thinking, “Hey, this is kind of nice!” At work, I Gchat my boyfriend about what on earth we can have for dinner. My previous night’s trip to the supermarket was a little haphazard to say the least, and I returned home with chicken, mushrooms, onions, carrots, potatoes, and a bunch of snacks, but nothing to make a sauce or bring the whole thing together. He suggests pesto because we have a ton of leftover basil from the farmer’s market. I breathe easy and call him a genius. Phew, I survived day 1, only 14 more days to go.
Breakfast: Coffee, cantaloupe, toast with jam
Lunch: Pesto chicken, potatoes, carrots, plus rice cakes and another nectarine
Dinner: Pasta with pesto and sautéed mushrooms, onions, and pecorino
I start to really miss the cold brew at work. Despite it being September, it’s still too warm out to be drinking hot coffee on my commute. It’s only day TWO I tell myself, get it together! I DON’T want more chicken for dinner so I decide to have pasta with leftover pesto, but alas we don’t have pasta. I am ravenous on the train home because I haven’t eaten anything since lunch and my train stops for 15 minutes while going over the Williamsburg Bridge. My subway rage is worse than usual. It’s like RAGE. I pause to consider if this is perhaps also cold brew withdrawal. My home-brew just doesn’t pack the same punch. I stop at the store to get pasta and then finally get home to cook. It’s super satisfying when I finally finish cooking the meal, but I didn’t end up eating until around 8:30 or 9 p.m.
Breakfast: Coffee and a raspberry Noosa yogurt
Lunch: More of the same from yesterday, plus one Laughing Cow Cheese because I’m the worst
Dinner: More pasta with pesto for dinner