The Queen of Stretching Food

From the March 5, 2010 edition of Hoboken’s Progress:

For someone like me, who sees the grocery store as the bane of my existence, you would think that Fresh Direct would be my saving grace. No more having to pass on the 10 for $5 deal. No groceries falling out of plastic bags torn open by the metal buckles on my boots. I thought this was it. So did my roommates.

Apparently, I just have a problem with the whole concept of buying food unless I’m completely out. While my roommates loaded their online carts on the Fresh Direct site with goodies, when it was my turn, my cart carried two boxes of granola bars, and then my desire to buy diminished immediately.

Missing an entry in the Merck Manual, my roommates and I have affectionately labeled me as the queen of  “stretching” food, ie: if my food acquiring habits were to be tracked on a graph—my trends are extremely predictable. No matter what, I will always find a way to dodge buying groceries.

I present to you exhibit A. This morning, I awoke to find that I was out of oatmeal. My box of America’s Choice was such a tease. Digging around my pantry, I found that I was actually out of a lot of things that are staples in my diet–namely, any source of protein other than peanut butter and two eggs. I decided to keep the eggs for a dinner scramble, so I succumbed to a breakfast of slathering peanut butter and jelly on pretzels. To my delight, I was quite satiated.

Exhibit B was last week: I arrived home, starving, with the suspicion that I didn’t have much in my cupboard. Upon opening my refrigerator, I find a leftover half of a cold sandwich from Luca Brasi’s. Huzzah! I got to work.

It is also quite fortunate that I have a somewhat small stomach and so I fill up very easily. Using that to my advantage, I dissect the turkey, mozzarella, roasted peppers, and arugula of the Big Petey as if I had just hunted it in the wild, deciding what to eat and what to spare for another time. Instinctual survival skills were definitely kicking in.

What I’m about to tell you I find half impressive, half sad. I took the mound of turkey and wrapped it up to use as lunch meat for a sandwich, and then demolished the rest of the sandwich for dinner. One sandwich supplied me with three meals.

My family still talks about the Chef Salad I ordered at a diner whose leftovers fed me lunch for the rest of the week. In my own defense, there was about a pound of turkey and ham atop another pound of lettuce. Or maybe, I’m just resourceful.

Sometimes, I think I just like the challenge of splicing together random ingredients on an empty stomach. Other times, I think maybe I’m just lazy. But I like to think it that whatever does not kill me only makes me stronger.

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