Friday, February 8, 2013

The Benefits of Being a Broke Foodie

If you are in the DC Metro area then you have probably, by now, heard that Georgetown's Dean & Deluca has shut down because of horrifying health code violations.  My initial thoughts were (1) damnit, the last of the public restrooms in Georgetown is closed and (2) there goes the dream of ever hosting a fancy cocktail party featuring high end charcuterie that would finally show the world how successful I've become.

Then, I realized something about my current financial inability to purchase fancy caviar and types of cured meats that I have never even heard of:  I dodged a bullet.  Being financially unable to make even a special grocery store trip to Dean & Deluca means that there is a higher chance my food has not had prolonged exposure to rat feces or mold (note to readers, don't read the health inspection report after eating a big meal.)  I buy my groceries from Giant, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe's.  I know that Giant is clean because I've seen them scrubbing the meat and seafood counters with bleach.  Everything at Trader Joe's comes in a sealed package.  And Whole Foods, well, the verdict is still out on them, but I don't feel too terrible because I only buy coffee and almond milk from there.

Not only did I dodge a health related bullet, but I have also forced myself out of a rut.  By being broke and incredibly cheap, I have also forced myself to use ingredients that I never thought I would use.  In college, to stretch my food budget (and by food budget, I mean liquid bread and potatoes budget), I stopped buying meat and started buying tofu.  I learned that it was cheaper to buy flash frozen veggies and throw it into some pasta, rather than buying a sodium laden Lean Cuisine.  In the past year, my husband and I have learned how to make incredibly delicious meals using beans.  Not only are these meals inexpensive and healthy, they are really tasty too.  Being broke has forced me to expand my cooking repertoire beyond boring grilled chicken breasts.

So, I may still mourn the loss of Georgetown's Dean & Deluca, but I think my sadness will be more for the loss of the free bathroom than for the food.

I really don't want to know what is inside that box.

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