Reason for Not Eating Out #34: Check Arithm-ethic

Here comes the check. And there are eight people at the table. But some who ordered appetizers, and some who didn’t. Some who drank eight glasses of wine, some who don’t drink. Some who didn’t eat communal courses due to dietary restrictions, too. How to handle this piece of paper? Pass it around, and see if everyone pays their dues on their own (drunken) accord? Split it up evenly? See if someone decides to be the check calculator, naming the price for each diner? Then, … Read More

Reason for Not Eating Out #33: To Preserve a Dying Art

My great-grandmother was a keen tatter. Every Christmas, my family took out her tatting: intricate cotton snowflakes, bells, Christmas trees, flowers, all tatted by her own hand. Tatting, I was told by my father, her grandson, was a dying art. It’s a bit similar to crochet, but the particular style of weaving has fallen out of favor through the years, for some reason. I’m aware that knitting and home-sewing have become chic hobbies in recent years, even (or especially) for … Read More

Reason For Not Eating Out #32: The Wait

“And the food took forever!” a woman said to her friend while riding the elevator of my building. “I know!” he exclaimed. “And then it was, like, cold!” Forgetting the coldness factor for now, and admitting first-off that dinner parties, supper clubs and all sorts of communal cooking activities can create just the same lags in time for food, when you’re cooking for yourself, the dreaded wait is over.

Reason for Not Eating Out #31: Because Supper Clubs are Blowing Up

Last week, I received half a dozen emails from various supper clubs I’d signed up for the mailing lists of. Each dinner sounded more delectable than the one before: roasted local grass-fed goat loin chops with farro-spinach salad and sweet onion soubise, kombu cured fluke with yuzu, brown butter, wakame and preserved nori, a dinner with a puppetry theatre accompaniment, an Argentinian asado of grilled offal, a backyard barbecue of grilled flank steak with chimicurri and chorizo. And the list … Read More

Reason for Not Eating Out #29

What can I start you off with? Would you like to hear our specials? What did you decide on? Do you need a few more minutes? Can I get you another drink? Would you like to see our dessert menu? Would you like to Supersize that? Would you like fries with that? Would you like that a la mode? Would you like to have that wrapped up? Are you sure you wouldn’t like any coffee or dessert?

Reason for Not Eating Out #28: Oh, the Places You’ll Go

And ah, the things you’ll cook, and mm, the things you’ll eat. All made by yourself, your friends, and fellow home cooking-happy strangers. When I first began “not eating out in New York,” strictly speaking, many people asked me how I would maintain my social life. My mother in particular, I think, was afraid I’d become something of a hermit, standing over a pot of risotto, stirring contentedly for hours completely lost in my own warped head, or something like … Read More

Reason for Not Eating Out #27: Finding Your Art (guest post!)

Thanks to everyone who submitted their original, thoughtful and personal Reason for Not Eating Out #27 entries! There were so many good reasons among them — including avoiding the “drunken riff-raff” or the walloping calories of Southern eaten-out specialties. I go the sense that a lot of you are bloggers trapped in a busy person’s body. Should you decide to take up blogging (if you don’t already), I will be your first reader! I ultimately chose to post Jess Habalou‘s … Read More

Reason For Not Eating Out #26: Watching the Pot Boil

Whoever said, “a watched pot never boils” clearly does not know the joys of cooking. He or she does not understand the tiny miracles of science stirring in every pot, even before it boils. Never saw the blip of creation right as the first bubble formed against its side. It is like not having watched the sun set.

Reason for Not Eating Out #25: Creative Dating

There are many people who read the phrase “not eating out in New York” as synonymous with “not dating in New York.” And those male species of the lot, I have no use for. Not to be “difficult” or “stubborn,” two things I have been called, oh, a few times in my romantic repertoire, but there is nothing more pathetic than a person who has forgotten that a date isn’t simply about impressing someone with their Zagat-like city restaurant knowledge.

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