How much we spent on a month's worth of dinners in February
Against the backdrop of uncertainty, we're back to budgets once again.
I wish I could tell you that cooking in our home is an aspirational, Instagram-worthy ritual where we shop at local farmer’s markets foraging for the freshest produce, harvest herbs from our own urban oasis rooftop garden, and prepare meals together as a family in our minimally aesthetic, naturally lit white kitchen.
But it’s not, and maybe nobody’s culinary life is this idyllic when it comes to everyday meals. We have an open floor plan living space where our kitchen is in the middle of the apartment, gets no natural light, and is overdue for a renovation from its mid-2000s era style of cabinetry and counters that we probably won’t redo for another ten years or never, depending. We do grow our own herbs on one of two balconies that we are lucky to have on either side of the apartment, but they are more like glorified fire escapes. But my god, I do love that little bit of outdoor space. It saved us during Covid times. All those nice photos of food I used to post on my IG and blog is all a fake setup, usually on my bedroom desk by the window—you know that, right?
In reality, cooking and feeding our family is a mostly utilitarian, functional affair, wrapped in cost saving efficiency with the goal of getting dinner on the table at 6pm so the family can get back to homework and other more pressing things (like writing this Substack). If you’ve read this post, you already know that Mark is the main cook of the family, a role that comes naturally since he used to work as a chef—not the kind trained in any culinary schools, but self-made from over a decade of hustling in hot NYC restaurant kitchens. He runs his household kitchen with the same measure of calculated efficiency and speed.