By: Revanche

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.

Bacon: $6
Pancakes and syrup: $3
Eggs, green onions: $3
Almond croissants: $2
Juices: $1

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.

7 Responses to “Bubbly at home, or water with service?”

  1. You can eat like the Queen (and King!) of Sheba on a pauper’s pay when you cook at home! 😀

    Try what’s known as “Dutch pancakes” — they’re like these huge popovers, and they’re ridiculously easy to make. You can put as much or as little stuff on them as you like (I happen to like mine with a squeeze of fresh lemon and a sprinkling of powdered sugar, but I serve them to friends with mounds of strawberries and whipped cream).

    There’ll be a recipe in my forthcoming cookbook (should be out within a month or so). If you’d like a preview, tho’, drop me a line and I’ll send you the recipe.

    What’s really nice for brunch is smoked fish of one sort or another. Or…hang onto your hat…filet mignon with various fixin’s.
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  2. SP says:

    As much as I love going out, eating in can be very nice too, especially with company. I have a weird semi-phobia for cooking full meals for people (except husband/family), but breakfast/brunch seems doable.

    Plus, you can slash your costs if your friends offer to supply champagne… Hmmm, we happen to have some in our fridge – why are you still somehow so far away, despite being in the area?!

    We stayed with some friends a few months back, and dinner was excellent/fancy with lots of wine and such, breakfast was really nice and simple – coffee, bagles/bread with smoked salmon and cream cheese (lox?), and fruit. Maybe cheese? We definitely were taking hosting notes from them!

    • Revanche says:

      Seriously, you’d think that after SoCal distances this would seem like nothing, huh? But if you’re supplying the champagne this time, then I think that means we’re cooking! And I think we’re getting some great ideas.

  3. Athena says:

    Bubbly at home with bacon! I love cooking breakfast at home for others and I think mimosas might be added to the repertoire. 🙂

  4. I LOVE a classic American breakfast at home on a weekend morning (around 11 am): bacon, homemade pancakes, omelet and fresh fruit and fresh squeezed orange juice. Personally, I prefer waffles to pancakes, but my fiance usually does the cooking, so I let him go for pancakes. When you add bananas and chocolate chips, it’s pretty good. Have you ever had an Iranian breakfast? it’s also pretty good and hits the spot for me on certain days: hot tea (Ceylon, Darjeeling, Earl Grey blend), fresh pita bread with walnuts and feta cheese, and jam, honey and butter on pita as well. Plus a half of a sweet lemon, and maybe some watermelon. I’m feeling more relaxed just thinking about breakfast! BTW, hosting a champagne brunch sounds extremely classy. I like it 🙂
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