I submitted this entry to one of my favorite food blogs, Not Eating Out in New York, which was seeking a 27th reason for why "not to eat out in New York." Another was chosen, so I thought I'd share mine here:
During the eight years I lived in New York, my fridge was a vessel for a few condiments, a Brita pitcher, some Whole Foods containers, and vodka. I didn't even keep milk for coffee. I could blame not making coffee at home on lack of counter space, but instead I'll admit it was due to what I thought was the “convenience” of the coffee shop around the corner. On weekends my routine went something like: wake up, put long coat over pajamas, run down four flights of stairs, walk the block to and fro, run up the four flights of stairs, drop coat, and voila, back to bed with my coffee, which had usually leaked on my hand and coat by then.
Then about a year ago, I got married and moved to New Orleans. Buried in that sentence are three good reasons for not eating out: first, thanks to our wedding registry, I now own the right pots, pans, and other accouterments that make eating at home easier. Granted, I could’ve acquired some of these things on my own, but I spent the money on eating out instead.
Second, I live in a house that's much larger than my former East Village 'squat,' and though I still don't have enough counter space, I do make my coffee at home every day (Cafe du Monde's chicory of course), sometimes twice a day. Now the daily routine goes something like: set up automatic function on coffee maker the night before, wake up to aroma of brewing coffee, stumble toward the kitchen in mismatched or scanty sleep gear, extract milk from fridge, pour, shuffle to bed/couch/kitchen table/front porch. Repeat.
And, I've been known to turn the top of the trashcan, washer, dryer, or even the top of the coffee maker, into those extra inches of necessary counter space.
Third, and most important, so many of the restaurants here serve fabulous, traditional New Orleans food, aka the kind of food that makes you gain weight just by looking at it. Not eating out has become a 6 out of 7 night necessity in order not to gain the "New Orleans 15," which is easily acquired when you move from a walk-to-survive city to a driving one. By not eating out, I can better control what I eat and make sure I put enough vegetables, whole grains and lean protein (not just fried protein!) into my body, to make up for all the po-boys, Muffalettas, and beignets I eat as part of the new New Orleanian initiation rites (who am I kidding, I’m not so new here anymore!).
I’ll admit, however, that often after one of those super-healthy, cooked from scratch meals, I take a leisurely walk over to the local ice cream shop and get a scoop of Red Velvet or Chocolate Chicory Caramel ice cream. Maybe for my one –year wedding anniversary, I'll request an ice cream maker.