Friday, April 10, 2009

The Sound of Falling Axes... and Cauliflower

We had one of those scary meetings at my job a few weeks ago, in which it turned out after a lot of nailbiting and queasy suspension that nothing was going to happen, everyone still had their jobs, but we were urged to remember how tight budgets were, and how easily it could all be taken away. Okay, thanks. I left sobered and grateful to still be employed in this job that I love.

But then... this week the other ax fell. My freelance gig, writing a food column for, is no more. Under constant pressure to cut costs, my editor said she finally had to cut back on freelance content, of which I am. I can't say I'm surprised. Budgets have been steadily shrinking in the publishing industry for the last several years, and I knew it was only a matter of time.

Depending on how I look at it, I either just lost a sizable portion of my grocery budget, or my monthly shoe, jewelry and sushi fund. Hmm, choices, choices.

I think I just developed a renewed interest in all those blogs about frugal cooking and eating.

This dovetails with our efforts to eat less meat, since meat is expensive.

Last night, in an effort to atone for our porterhouse birthday dinner, we ate like old-school vegetarians: roasted vegetables with quinoa, and homemade whole wheat bread.

This was partly to clean out our bloodstreams a little, but also to take it to the next level with my kids. What, they can eat oysters, but roasted beets make them cry?

I'll be honest. I didn't really expect them to eat the roasted vegetables. I figured they could have buttered bread or quinoa. Frankly, I didn't care that much. After our feast last night, they weren't going to die of hunger if they had a small meal tonight.

My son had buttered bread and some salad. My daughter wouldn't touch the bread, but scooped up her quinoa with her usual fish sauce and lime juice. But here's where it got weird. I put a tiny floret of cauliflower and a tiny cube of yellow beet on her plate.

"Eeeew, what's that? Why is that there?" I told her what they were and urged her to try to them.

"Just one, okay? Just one. Which is the smallest?" They were both pretty small, but I suggested the caulflower.

"Would it taste good in fish sauce?" Yeah, I thought it would definitely taste good in fish sauce and lime juice.

"Mmmm! That's so good! What is it called again? More cauliflower!"

I only started liking cauliflower a few weeks ago, so this was a total surprise. She ate almost all the cauliflower we had. She loves cauliflower.

And even with just bread and salad, my son didn't starve.

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