Bubbly at home, or water with service?
March 23, 2014
This isn’t a tutorial on saving since the champagne’s a cheat but I pick the bubbly at home. I’m not just frugal, I’m seriously lazy.
We had friends in town recently. The default MO when this happens is we go out to brunch, lunch or dinner before they leave, depending on their travel plans. With some friends (ahem, his), it’s a fight over who pays the bill, with them snagging it more often than we can. This means we end up in a bill-war, vying to pay for the next round, every time we go out. It’s exhausting and a pain in the budget.
At the core, the problem is one of culture. For PiC, eating out is part of his family bonding culture; for me, cooking together and eating at home is part of my family bonding culture. Up til now, we have heavily favored his but it’s time to start observing mine when we’re here at home.
We’ve slashed this year’s food, entertainment and travel budget by 20% because we spent WAY too much in those areas last year. Anything approaching five figures for only two people (and for entertaining) is outrageous, IMO, and I really don’t know how the others do it considering they eat out at least twice as much as we do on their own.
We may not be able to cancel the bill-pay arms race but we’re sure as shootin’ going to approach Quality Time differently.
We’re off to a fine start hosting a champagne brunch where we focused on a couple stars for the meal: the champagne and the best bacon ever. We’re finally cracking open one of two bottles of Korbel that were gifts; they’ve been sitting untouched with only the two of us to drink it. With guests coming, I squeezed grapefruit to make orange and grapefruit mimosas.
And bacon. Oh the bacon! I’ve always been a fan of bacon but most of it’s been run-of-the-mill variety. I hadn’t know real bacon until my friend ruined me forever with a gift of Zingerman’s bacon for our wedding. Now THAT is applewood smoked bacon: aromatic even in the shipping container, cut so thickly that diced for pasta you get big chunks of smoky meatiness, with hardly any fat to trim. Swoonworthy bacon. The only catch is it normally runs $12 a lb. So it’s the special occasion bacon, even if I could easily find (make up) a reason to pop half a pound into every recipe.
The rest of the meal was simple: scrambled eggs with green onions, whole wheat pancakes with maple syrup, and almond croissants.
Pancakes and syrup: $3
Eggs, green onions: $3
Almond croissants: $2
Even paying for and making the whole meal we’re paying less to feed 4 than we would for the two of us at the local diner so that’s nice. The drawbacks, of course, if you don’t like to cook is that you’re cooking and cleaning, and the guests are getting what we choose to make. Sorry, guys. 🙂
On the bright side, we’ll soon be taking advantage of a new wafflemaker to expand our repertoire. Chocolate chip bacon waffles, here we come!
Other breakfast ideas: I may relieve my friends of their smoked salmon (which they’ve been trying to get rid of) to try making eemusing’s potato cakes with salmon and eggs.
I’m good at making dinners but my breakfast/brunch cooking is pretty limited. If you’ve got any delicious and easy brunch suggestions, throw them my way.