Frances turns Frugal (well, for a week anyway)

November 22, 2009

I have a confession.

Being frugal is not my thing.  I hate left overs and shopping sales. Yes, I read the WSJ and know about the global recession and I'm not a spendthrift but when it comes to food, I pay up. Friends use me as a Zagat Guide and I follow chefs like some girls do rock stars. But after one too many $18 drinks and $40 entrees, it was enough to put this otherwise happy girl into a bad mood. The real kicker was when I got "check out shock" at Whole Foods picking up things for a dinner party. I realized that I could have taken my guests out to dinner for what it cost me to entertain. Something had to change.

I started thinking about favorite suppers made with a song and remembered when food writer/chef, Sarah Copeland (, crashed at my apartment for a few weeks and offered to cook dinner one night.  My refrigerator had dismal offerings yet somehow she made one of the best meals I have ever had.  I still dream of the fruit dessert she conjured somehow up.  As a life rule,  I don't even eat non-chocolate desserts but this was exceptional.  She raided the dusty cognac bottles in my bar and poured on ripe clementines with a touch of sugar and vanilla bean.  Mouth watering delicious....

My mother is also a serious frugal at heart.  While fondly called the Queen of Mold after Ruth Reichl's ( description of her own mother in her book, Tender to the Bone,  Mom makes the world's best vegetable soup tossing the week's leftovers into a pot. And I mean everything. It's always a bit different but soooo good.  I know, I know... a lot of amazing/favorite dishes are made from old food-the Cuban dish rioja vieja, bread pudding-the list goes on... I love to eat them all, it's the making that somehow gets me.

Inspired by both these ladies, I decided to raid my ice box and fridge and not visit the awfully alluring "Garden of Eden"or  Whole Foods  on my nightly walk home from the subway for one week. For inspiration, I  used a few blogs when faced with defrosting the many bags and containers in the freezer that no longer represented anything worth eating.

Maybe they'll help inspire you too:  (how GREAT is that name!!  Thanks for passing this along, Jordan)

I am hosting a few friends for Brunch this weekend and embracing my new found frugalness.
Will report in on menu + how it went.

Stay tuned.


Henley on the Horn said...

I love it!! Whole Foods will get you every time, but they do have amazing produce! I can't wait to hear what you conjure up for your dinner guests. I have a feeling it'll be fabulous!!!

bevysblog said...

I can't wait to read! I'm hoping that at least some of what you write about will be 8 and 10-year-old boy approved!

Sarah Copeland said...

Frances, I'm honored to be included anywhere in the same category as Corrina Bailey {or Ruth Reichl, for that matter}. Thanks for reminding me of one of my old tricks, and for inspiring us all not to let a budget put a stop to our fun.

Rebekka said...

I have to add another one...Poor Girl Gourmet! It's AMAZING...she tallies up the cost per serving of each recipe for us, and they are all quite seasonal and beautiful. Lovely.

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