Eating up ‘Eating In’

Coming of age in the kitchen

February 19, 2010

Here at Culinate, our slogan is “Eat to Your Ideal.” For us, the phrase embraces not just different regional and personal preferences, but also what we consider to be the basic principles of food awareness: learning more about your food, helping you to make better food choices, and appreciating everyday home cooking.

The Art of Eating In: How I Learned to Stop Spending and Love the Stove

We also care about food books, both cookbooks and otherwise. Sometimes a food book breaks through to a mainstream audience, such as Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma or (thanks to the recent Meryl Streep film based on it) Julie Powell’s Julie & Julia. Just a month or so ago, we took a look at The Art of Eating In, the first book from food blogger Cathy Erway (Not Eating Out in NY). I don’t know if Erway’s debut memoir will make a Pollan-Powell-style publishing splash, but it certainly seems like it could have the broad appeal of those books.

I write this despite having had some initial reservations. First, I’d been informed ahead of time that I might appear in the book myself, which made me nervous — I’m not one for the limelight. (Cathy was the 2008 winner of our Death by Chocolate contest.) Second, I was sincerely concerned that Erway’s entertaining-but-unconventional food blog might not translate well to book format. But I found The Art of Eating In completely enthralling. It even made me long to be 26 — or at least to have the energy of age 26 — all over again.

Chocolate-Chip-Cookie-Dough-Topped Cupcakes from Cathy Erway’s blog.

The Art of Eating In shares the story behind Erway’s blog, which began as an experiment in simply not eating out in New York City, that capital of non-cooks and eaters-out. As followers of her blog might expect, the book includes recipes (often unorthodox) plus money-saving tips for shopping and cooking in the big city.

But the book isn’t just about practicalities. Erway shows how not eating out both changed her outlook on the food she eats and demonstrated why food is so central to building (and changing) friendships, family, and communities.

Having crossed paths with Cathy several times over the last few years, I always found her lots of fun, but I never truly appreciated the chaos she had introduced into her life by taking on the challenge of a blog that became a book. Early in her memoir, for example, Erway writes about a dinner event in which Dracula, her roommate’s devil-cat, held everyone in a comical state of siege, denying access to the meal. Luckily for the chef, though, the siege masked the fact that the main dish was lacking one of its three main ingredients.

How many of us have had a similar disaster with dinner, but by the end of the night, nobody cared? The food isn’t always the main event.

Sometimes the disaster itself becomes a triumph. Take Erway’s peppercorn-bread-using-potato-water experiment that started with what smells so putrid? . . . could this be lethal?, but ended with a championship contender in a local baking contest only hours later. Some — maybe most — of the most successful recipes out there are the result of mistakes.

As a blog, Not Eating Out in NY was inspired by a need to save money. As a book, it ends up taking us on an unexpected and entertaining journey. But eating in or eating out, the most important part of any meal is whether we enjoy and remember it.

Mark Douglas manages Culinate’s business development and marketing.

Congratulations to the winners, Heather H., Terri, and Heather C. who each won a signed copy of Cathy’s book.

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1. by Daphne on Feb 19, 2010 at 11:25 AM PST

I just tried a new risotto recipe...on company. It started out badly (not enough risotto so had a last minute dash to the market) and then they showed up early. By then I was sure the recipe would fail--but it turned out perfectly. Pumpkin risotto=yum!

2. by Abraham on Feb 19, 2010 at 11:46 AM PST

The day after a huge feast I had hosted, complete with homemade sausages and several truly tasty and unique dishes, I asked the gal I was dating if she wanted to join me to savor the leftovers. She responded that she was the type of gal who likes to eat out. I knew then that we really needed to break up.

3. by Fiksu on Feb 19, 2010 at 12:07 PM PST

Cooking Thanksgiving dinner in college with a huge group of friends. It was chaos and far from a culinary masterpiece, but it was a big, fun project and we pulled it off.

4. by jstern on Feb 19, 2010 at 12:08 PM PST

Some friends of mine host “pie night” every year before Thanksgiving so that you actually get to enjoy the pie you’re too full to eat on the holiday. I was running behind on making mind, and in the process of taking the crust out the oven (it was in a tart pan with a removable bottom), I accidentally pushed up the center, the hot outer ring fell on my arm and I dropped the entire crust back into the oven, which crumbled and then burned. It was really sad.

5. by anonymous on Feb 19, 2010 at 12:45 PM PST

Thanksgiving, 1994..Sitting around the dining table trading stories after traditional turkey dinner..My sister-in-law had baked some pies and left them for us, she was with her family across town. She had made a tollhouse cookie grandmother picked up a knife and began to cut into it, the knife thoroughly stuck in the pie! She even picked it up, the whole pie attached to the knife.. My mother tried to pull it out! it wouldn’t budge... by this time the entire table was roaring with laughter, everyone crying. Just at that time, my sister-in-law showed up, came in and was really embarrassed, she had forgotten to tell anyone to warm up the pie before cutting into it. To this day, she will not bake any pies for us!

6. by agrarian on Feb 19, 2010 at 1:11 PM PST

I had my sisters and their families (13 people)to the farm for a long weekend. We had Sat. night dinner -- big ham roast and pork loin roast. Leftover roasts were left on the counter while we ate. After dinner I came into the kitchen to find the pork roast on the floor being gnawed on by the cat. I swiftly picked it up, checked it out and trimmed it up and washed it off. No one was the wiser when we had leftover the next day, except my nephew who admitted having seen the cat with it, but said " I thought you’d given it to her”. Right. A 4-lb roast!

7. by alissasilver on Feb 19, 2010 at 1:27 PM PST

Dinner parties are always a chance to try out a new recipe. In college one of my favorite memories is missing a basketball game, but making lasagna for all my friends post game to celebrate the win.

8. by Fatima on Feb 19, 2010 at 1:33 PM PST

My mom had to make a huge batch of rice pudding once for a large gathering of friends once. She makes hers on the stove-top, and she was using her largest ceramic pot for the pudding. She would stir every so often, but not really taste it from. It must have cooked for more than hour when it was time to do a closing taste test, and there was a distinct smokey, ashy taste to the pudding. My mom had been obliviously stirring scorched milk from the bottom of the pot back into the pudding. We tried to salvage the pudding by pouring the top layer into a smaller pot, but that proved impossible given the size of the pot, so we had to shovel the pudding out with a bowl into another pot. In the end, the pudding never made it to the party; it stayed in our fridge for days and was finally poured down the drain.

As this drawing will be random anyway, I feel that I shouldn’t really have bothered with typing all of that.

9. by Danielle Slamka on Feb 19, 2010 at 2:37 PM PST

I had made a dessert for a dinner party that I hosted and forgot to add the sugar! It tasted horrible but no one cared, everyone was just happy to get together!

10. by OpusOne on Feb 19, 2010 at 2:39 PM PST

Fatima, ... thanks for the effort anyway, and the story. It just seemed more interesting to see what people might come up with. Let’s hope the “random-number-gererating-gods” favor those who put in the extra effort.

11. by Heather Christensen on Feb 19, 2010 at 4:44 PM PST

I’ve discovered recently that I have “social cooking anxiety disorder.” It’s one thing to cook for family. Quite another to cook for people you don’t live with. Recently we had friends over & I embraced my anxiety by leaning in and doing things I’d never done before. An improvised lamb stew. Berry cobbler from a never-tried recipe. But homemade bread, and that I’m comfortable with. Lesson: doesn’t really matter what you eat; it’s the eating together.

12. by Lisa A. on Feb 19, 2010 at 4:56 PM PST

My grandma’s chicken and noodles! I always requested them for my birthday and she’d always comply. Gotta love grandmas!

13. by Susan@MyLifesJoys on Feb 19, 2010 at 5:34 PM PST

I made a cheesecake for a family gathering and everyone was so looking forward to my famous cheesecake....just before serving I realized I forgot to add the sugar and vanilla. I never wrote them on my new recipe card and I never realized it!
Last minute I covered the cake in powdered sugar and poured a can of cherry pie filling over the top and saved the day! No one knew!

14. by brenna kell on Feb 19, 2010 at 8:28 PM PST

One time, while making cookies as a kid with my dad, we accidentally used pancake mix instead of flour. Let’s just say our oven was a huge explosion of pan-cookies!

15. by Fatima on Feb 19, 2010 at 9:24 PM PST

OpusOne - I’m sorry I was just being bratty. Everyone’s stories are definitely interesting and fun to read. I just wasn’t feeling particularly eloquent and had to struggle to put that story into words; I was just thinking out loud - I wasn’t really directing a complaint to you or to the Culinate team.

16. by hapiru on Feb 20, 2010 at 12:31 AM PST

On thanksgiving last year, I was blending all the drippings and mirepoix from the turkey into a delicious gravy, when I needed the gravy boat. When I opened the cabinet, it hit the top of the blender and knocked scalding hot gravy all over me! Ouch...

17. by Jackie Munyer on Feb 20, 2010 at 5:51 AM PST

All the kids were in for the holidays,of course, I wanted to make all of their favorites. Instead of making a full pie, I decided to make individual tarts. The shells were made and browned all I had to do was cook the filling. I have always be able to make the most perfect coconut cream pie, but this time the filling did not set and I had tart overflow. We ate coconut soup instead of pie for dessert!

18. by TravelGirl on Feb 20, 2010 at 6:27 AM PST

I devour cookbooks and pour through food blogs always looking for that diamond in the rough recipe that will knock the socks off my friends and family. I believe in planning and practice and preparation but looking back at the meals I have shared; the most gratifying are the impromptu. A recent death in the family brought a few of us together to pack up and distribute belongings. It was a horrible day. At end of day we were too exhausted to eat out and the thought of ordering pizza was nauseating. I offered food at my house not quite sure what I was going to do. Rushing home ahead of everyone, I pulled hamburger from the freezer and potatoes from the pantry and vegetables from the fridge. The burgers were grilled the potatoes were fried and the couple ears of corn, asparagus, zucchini and onions were turned into the best grilled vegetable salad I have ever made. We sat at the table with our simple meal and shared our stories, mending our grief. Food cooked with love and shared is magical.

19. by Robin on Feb 20, 2010 at 7:22 PM PST

My father returned after being on a business trip for two weeks, and we all gathered for cheese fondue--the first time I had ever eaten that. It was so warm and delicious!

20. by qilixiang on Feb 22, 2010 at 12:20 AM PST

Ooh looks like a delightful book! I don’t have a really singular memory in mind, but I really treasure the memory of Mom-cooked family dinners growing up (Dad hardly boils water). My parents often eat out now that we kids have grown up, and I was surprised to learn from a friend that her mom never cooked and they always ordered dinner.

21. by Cassidy Stockton on Feb 22, 2010 at 9:49 AM PST

My favorite not eating out memory that comes to mind is a recent adventure with making homemade ravioli. It was our first try and my husband was slaving over his half of the dough making perfect little raviolis while I sort of threw mine together. Neither of ours came out just right and we spent valentine’s evening eating very chewy, very doughy ravioli. It was so fun to create them, but we need to work on our pasta skills.

22. by Jenny on Feb 22, 2010 at 6:14 PM PST

There are so many “not eating out” moments that I have been quite fortunate to have experienced with my now husband. But one in particular is one that I have tried to recreate twice now but it can never capture the same magic as the first moment. During our first year of dating I would sometimes go over to his apartment where we would cook something together. This one particular evening it was fish tacos and all I was required to do was to pick up the red cabbage. It was the first time sampling a fish taco and the first time I had ever consumed cabbage (knowingly anyway). It was delicious and so simple and one of my favorite memories. I still enjoy reliving it and I still enjoy nothing more than being in my kitchen with my husband cooking together.

23. by Sara on Feb 23, 2010 at 5:10 AM PST

Any time my three children want to “help” prepare dinner is memorable! They love making homemade pizza with homemade crust from cookus interuptus.

24. by vesperlight on Feb 24, 2010 at 11:45 AM PST

If only someone would write a book on “Eating in with a 17-year old who won’t eat vegetables.”

25. by Katie on Feb 24, 2010 at 11:52 AM PST

While visiting my mom recently, we decided to have a fish fry. My brother was in charge of the fish and soon after he popped it in the oil, a friend came inside and informed us that there was no fish. Apparently the oil was too hot and the fish turned into lumps of charcoal. Some guests tried very hard to enjoy the fish, picking through the blackened exterior to find juicy flesh inside...the side dishes were a lifesaver :)

26. by hhaworth on Feb 24, 2010 at 11:53 AM PST

My boyfriend and I had been dating a short while, and I wanted to impress him with a fabulous home cooked meal of whole roast duck (even though I am vegetarian). I couldn’t figure out which side was the breast side (ala “cook breast side down”) but he ate it anyway and said it was tasty. The chocolate pudding cake I made not so much. Without baking soda, it’s more like chocolate brick...

27. by anonymous on Feb 24, 2010 at 11:58 AM PST

For the past couple of years, we’ve celebrated Valentine’s Day with an elegant dinner at home with friends. Fresh flowers and candles set the mood, and friends bring part of the meal to make it easy. We look forward to it!

28. by Kaye Lyssy on Feb 24, 2010 at 12:02 PM PST

Anytime I cook for friends and family is my favorite “eating in”. I’m single so frequently eat out...but if I have a hankering for something tasty and homemade I always ivite people I don’t have to eat leftovers for 4 days!

29. by larochelle on Feb 24, 2010 at 12:11 PM PST

Sounds like a fantastic book, I’m definitely going to check out her blog. I’m in SF (another restaurant culture city) and barely ate out in 2009 so I can relate.

My dinner disaster story was a Thanksgiving where the turkey took to long to cook which wouldn’t have been such a big deal but all the guests who were supposed to bring appetizers brought wine instead. Instead of sensibly repurposing some food & serving “first course”, I stuck to the original plan and the result was that everyone was smashed by the time we sat down to dinner including one guest who passed out in his salad.

30. by sarajane on Feb 24, 2010 at 12:17 PM PST

On our honeymoon, my husband and I rented a place with a teeny, tiny kitchen in Aptos. The second day there we found a fantastic little grocery store, and that night cooked one of the best meals I’ve ever had. Maybe it was the company, but that night almost outshone the meal we had at the end of the trip at the Ritz-Carlton Dining Room in SF. So, yeah, I’d say it was pretty good :)

Also, on our first date (well, first date the second time around, long story), he took me home and fed me homemade spaghetti with zucchini and that’s how I knew it was serious :)

31. by Jenn Goddard on Feb 24, 2010 at 12:21 PM PST

One of my sweetest memories of my parents is how they always celebrated their wedding anniversary by eating a wonderful home cooked dinner they prepared together. They were too poor to eat out when they were first married, so they continued that tradition.

32. by myna lee on Feb 24, 2010 at 12:24 PM PST

I live on Salt Spring island in Canada with an abundance of gourmet chefs specializing in local cuisine from organic growers and producers.
I eat out about twice a year or less.
I continue with a diet I got unto decades ago while living in an intentional community in rural Quebec.
Always have on hand: a pot of beans, a pot of grains.
Just add some slices of protein, some greens and other veggies,garlic, onions and you always have a great meal.
Oh, and my superb veggie miso gravy that makes everyone declare:mmmyum!
An abundance of amazing potlucks here. Does that count as eating out?

33. by lethargarian on Feb 24, 2010 at 12:29 PM PST

cathy’s blog is awesome! one of the most memorable not eating out dinners was when i attempted to make korean food for the first time for other people - didn’t live up to my mom’s food but it came out surprisingly well!

34. by conlar on Feb 24, 2010 at 12:48 PM PST

This year’s Valentine weekend was a memorable one for my husband and I. Two special meals, two special evenings. Eating-in is not all that bad. I love to cook!

35. by anonymous on Feb 24, 2010 at 12:49 PM PST

A couple of summers back, I hosted a party where every dish served used vinegar - from blueberry basil vinegar and lemon dill vinegar, to habanero vinegar.

Many of our guests were not vinegar fans. I elected not to tell them about the food that day! It turned out people loved the food; and asked for recipes and even if they could take a left-over with them. Many were genuinely shocked to learn that 100% of the dishes served were made usuing vinegar! It was a fun experiment!

36. by Amy Halloran on Feb 24, 2010 at 12:51 PM PST

One of my favorite things about eating in is learning, and I’ve learned loads from my best friend’s husband. He is Indonesian, and his approach to cooking is so completely distant from mine that nearly every meal he makes is a discovery to me. We eat in together a lot, since our houses are just down the street, which means I get the chance to learn from him often.

37. by candrese on Feb 24, 2010 at 1:09 PM PST

I’ve learned that eating in kind of helps everyone economize better. I think we all realize that we spend way too much money at times going out, and if we can share resources in (even if it’s just I cook and you bring wine or dessert), we all benefit and can really enjoy the evening without waiting for the check. I feel more at ease sometimes with the “in” versus the “out.”

38. by Alline on Feb 24, 2010 at 1:17 PM PST

Ten years ago I left the food mecca of Berkeley to join an aspiring ecovillage in rural Northeastern Missouri. We don’t eat out because there IS nowhere to eat out; instead we have all learned how to cook. There are now 45 of us, and between us we can make absolutely divine meals from many lands and ethnicities - Middle Eastern (falafel, hummus, tabouli...), Ethiopian (including injera), clay-oven baked breads and pizzas with toppings from our is good!

39. by Katherine Deumling on Feb 24, 2010 at 1:28 PM PST

One of the things I miss the most from my days before a child, is eating out. And one of the things I treasure the most, is eating in every night with my family. I’ve become more creative and have more fun cooking with and for my son (and my husband!). Yes, I wash a lot of dishes and yes there are a lot of “I don’t like ____) form my son, but there are also a lot of “I DO like ____!) which is fabulous. And fish tacos were a big hit last night! we’ll see if the frittata will be tonight.

40. by tamarer on Feb 24, 2010 at 1:32 PM PST

I love having a fondue night with a lot of vegetable dippers after a long day of ski.

41. by Miss Wahoo on Feb 24, 2010 at 1:58 PM PST

I used to work for a hospital that had an okay cafeteria (some great dishes; others terrible). They instituted a policy that in order for workers to continue getting a 20% discount, we had to deposit money to our account ahead of time, and our meals were deducted by the cashier, using our name badges. After each transaction, they told us our balance. We also could request a receipt, but that took time to print out, and we only had 30mins for lunch. One day, as I was buying a carton of milk, the cashier (who I knew well) said “you have a zero balance”. I said “that’s weird, I was pretty sure there was about a dollar left, plus, I would have remembered you telling me I had no money left.” He emphatically said “NO, your balance is ZERO!” without telling me to check with his supervisor if I thought there was a problem with my account, which is what they were supposed to do. Okay, fine, I paid cash for my milk, but was a bit ticked off. I decided that I wasn’t going to buy anything in the cafeteria for the next week. That first week went well, so I did it for another week. Then I figured I could do it for a month...two months...and by then, I realized that packing my own lunch (and sometimes breakfast) was a really good thing! I knew what I was getting, I saved a little money, and I felt a small “take THAT” to the rude cashier, as I stood with my friends as they paid for their meals, and I walked by with my lunch bag. HA! I have no reason to believe my tiny balance had been misappropriated, it was just the principle of the thing. So, it meant I had to think ahead, and either pack my lunch as I was putting leftovers away, or come up with an appealing way to reinvent them, which was challenging at times. But it was definitely something I could do! Anyway, a few years later when I worked elsewhere, I still packed lunch daily, and I watched my coworkers buy lunch every day. I know that my meals were usually healthy and sometimes boring, but paying $7-$10 for a take-out lunch (after a $4 Starbucks visit) just made me shudder. So, I will always be thankful for that cashier’s rudeness, because it helped me make a change that I never would have made on my own.

42. by Jennifer B on Feb 24, 2010 at 2:34 PM PST

After 6 weeks in Europe - fancy cheeses, wine and new foods, I couldn’t wait to get home and eat a peanut butter sandwich! Chunky style on dense wheat bread with a cold glass of milk. Yum...

43. by Lorien on Feb 24, 2010 at 2:47 PM PST

I have a weekly not eating out favorite event. My husband decided a couple of years ago that he no longer wanted to eat in restaurants (as he put it, “the people cooking in restaurants don’t love me”), and after a while what I found myself missing most was pizza. So, I started buying pre-made pizzas at the supermarket and doctoring them with garlic, sliced olives, spinach, extra cheese, etc. Now every Saturday we have excellent pizza at home, while watching a current DVD we have been looking forward to. It’s really fun!

44. by Don Glass on Feb 24, 2010 at 3:09 PM PST

There is a great deal of joy in the anticipation about the prepping, planning and cooking that goes with eating in... creating your own dinner party.
Planning a meal for friends is fun and challenging and educational.
While I do enjoy eating out... especially the no clean-up part... I enjoy sharing great meals (most times)with friends at home.

45. by Sharon Aquilino on Feb 24, 2010 at 3:36 PM PST

I started out making gnocchi from my grandmothers recipe for a blind date. Something I learned to make at the age of 5. Something went wrong and I made calls to both grandmothers. One said to add flour the other said to add more potatoes, after much ado we went ordered pizza.

46. by darvinvega on Feb 24, 2010 at 4:49 PM PST

I have always been big on cooking in, even as a New Yorker. But only once, in 10 years with my husband, did he ask me not to ever make a recipe again, and it was for Chinese food. So while I appreciate the way my CSA, my fishmonger, my cheese shop, and green market have contributed to my cooking, we still go out for Chinese food.

47. by winnie67 on Feb 24, 2010 at 7:02 PM PST

My Dad grew up in Yonkers New York and I had the privelage of going there when I was 7 years old. I am now 61. If I could get a copy of a book that had recipes close to the food my Dad ate when he was a kid, I would just love it. I have a new grand daughter coming soon and it would be fun someday to fix meals for her from her great grandfathers area of growing up.

48. by anonymous on Feb 24, 2010 at 9:08 PM PST

what an interesting concept for a book. this is an area that my husband and disagree on - i totally think that eating local and making the effort to cook is worth the energy and time input. he could careless - both about the larger concept in terms of the environment and about the more individual health aspect. it’s actually creating a problem for it becuase it does reflect on an underlaying philosphy of living that i’m realizing that we differ strongly on. it would be nice to win the book to “hear” a voice that might be more in line w/ mine own.

49. by Kay Higdon on Feb 25, 2010 at 1:19 AM PST

My husband drove truck for 45 years. We have four sons, so I made sure every weekend was home-cooked food that my husband would love. The kids and I would have what mourished, but could be enjoyed all week long.

One thing I would make on Saturday night, when we might have been out cutting wood to heat the house, would be my “Saturday Stew”. I saved all the left-overs that could possibly be combined for that stew, but especially the variety of gravies and vegetables. I would add fresh chopped onion to sometimes very small left-overs of protein, and begin to combine, by cleaning out the fridge.

Every time it was different and every time it was the same. I would make buttermilk biscuits to extend the meal and if company would come by, all guests would exclaim over this stew, absolutely sure that I created it from fresh food that afternoon. Little did they know that odd samples of gravy provided the base for Saturday Stew at my house!

50. by dusksunset on Feb 25, 2010 at 7:05 AM PST

My friend Ira hosted a Passover seder at his house. In honor of his enthusiastic embrace of observant Judaism, he actually invited a stranger to share the meal in the ancient tradition. It took a while to figure out the extra guy was not some long lost friend of his. The food was good and the stranger was harmless, so the meal went well.

51. by sj.breeze on Feb 25, 2010 at 8:28 AM PST

My favorite most recent not eating out moment was last weekend, when I insisted on cooking for us even though we were tearing out the countertops, backsplash, sink, and faucet in the kitchen. That Malaysian curry was delicious, though, and it’s not so bad doing dishes in the bathtub.

52. by echasal on Feb 25, 2010 at 11:48 AM PST

My best friend is an organic farmer. She’s always bringing gorgeous vegetables over, all year round (she also has a greenhouse), and homemade kombucha. I love telling our family how much of our meal was provided by Linda-Brook every night, it makes my mediocre cooking somehow taste a lot better.

53. by Bruce on Feb 25, 2010 at 5:19 PM PST

I went to an advanced medical program at Duke University 76-78. I was married, had 2 kids and only $475/month to live on. I had a year to prepare, we bought a stone grain mill, 1500lbs of wheat, 300lb of bakers non-instant milk and 10 gallons of end of the season honey so black it looked like molasses. We picked berries, apples and anything we could get for free. We made our own peanutbutter, powdered milk yogurt, and grew our own miso. WE only spent $50 per month for food. It was possible we learned to live like pioneers and thrive though anything we baked, bread, cakes -anything was heavy! Real heavy! In 24 months we ate out 3 times and one of those was just for milk shakes before going to see Star Wars on the 4th of July.

54. by b vl on Feb 25, 2010 at 5:41 PM PST

In 1994 our family was living in England. Bar cookies were not typical fare, so I generously offered to make a pan of Oatmeal Surprise Bars (rolled oats, sugar, butter, corn syrup, with a melted chocolate chip topping). Having recently moved from the US though I couldn’t find non-stick spray in the stores, so I used a little butter. The surprise about the bars was that I couldn’t get them out without putting the pan on the stove top. We wound up with chiseled out spoon fulls instead of beautiful chewy bars!

55. by anonymous on Feb 25, 2010 at 11:06 PM PST

Once I invited a bunch of friends over for an impromptu stir-fry dinner, but miscalculated the time it would take to cut all the meat and vegetables, and then actually do the cooking. I should have incorporated help from the guests, but I didn’t. We didn’t eat until 11 p.m., and by then the guests (and me, the cook) had over indulged in the beer and wine department. No one seemed to care that the food came so late. A good time was had by all.

56. by Hannah on Feb 26, 2010 at 9:06 AM PST

I think my favourite “not eating out” story is more a category - I love being able to sneak things into my dad’s diet that he normally wouldn’t touch (or order) with a fifty-foot pole! If we never ate in, he never would have discovered that while he doesn’t like tofu, he quite likes tempeh. Who’da thunk it?! :P

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