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I’m pretty good at sticking to a “budget.” And by that I mean I spend less than I make and I’m building a decent pile of savings. But do I have any idea how I am actually allotting my funds? Nope. I know I spend around $40 a week on groceries…or $70. And about $30 at the drugstore a month…or $100. Household expenses? Well, including utilities that’s maybe $150 a month…but quite possibly more or less.

I’m thinking of putting myself on some sort of a plan (or — eek — keeping a pen-and-paper list), but for the moment I’m not too concerned. Like I said, I spend significantly less than I make, but there is always room for improvement.

But one thing I KNOW I spend a lot  on is going out to eat. Delicious, succulent three course meals with a bottle of wine, or a couple pizzas and salad at the neighborhood’s best sit-down place, or the newest trattoria that just put up its signage (which happens a lot in my neck of Brooklyn) or just some fresh toasty bagels and coffees in the morning.

It is my biggest spending vice…but I have no plans on curtailing it anytime soon. I’ve fallen in love with good food — cooking it myself, but also being treated to wonderful new dishes I never would have thought of.  The meals become conversation fodder, even inspiration to recreate them or riff on them in our own kitchens.

I don’t spend much money on clothes (except for last weekend when I had to fill some very gaping holes in my wardrobe…), my apartment is the best deal I could find while still being safe and warm (we negotiated the price down a full $50/month this year!) and I brown-bag my lunch to work everyday. I choose instead to spend on experiential activities and taking advantage of the vibrant, varied cuisine hotbed that is Brooklyn. I won’t always live here, and I’m expecting that in the not-so-distant future I won’t have as much disposable income.

But while I’m young, single, passionate about food and cooking, living in a culinary epicenter and more excited by the prospect of a fancy dinner than a night out drinking, I choose to avail myself of some of the country’s best meals and freshest ingredients, right in my own neighborhood.



Books I’m Reading

Wuthering Heights

Mrs. Kimble

Little Bee


My Life with the Saints

Brave Companions

The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Help

Lunch in Paris


Reading Lolita in Tehran

Pride and Prejudice

Rethinking Thin

The Omnivore's Dilemma

The Friday Night Knitting Club

Best Food Writing 2009

Let the Great World Spin

The Middle Place

Northern Borders

In Defense of Food