Category Archives: The Freelance Diet

Beating the Heat.

I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but New York is having a bit of a heat wave at the moment. My apartment wasn’t designed for maximum air-flow, and, as a result, it’s so stuffy in there that I’ve been eating most of my meals on a tray in the bedroom, as close to my sole window-unit as possible.

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The kitchen is the hottest room in the place, so I’ve obviously been doing as little cooking as humanly possible. (When that much sweat involved, it’s hard enough to motivate to eat, let alone turn on a couple of burners.) One can only stand so many makeshift meals, though, and a few nights ago I hit the tipping point. I wanted a real dinner, dammit.

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Brown-Bag Blessing.

Those of you who follow me on Instagram may have gotten the wrong impression. Sure, I’ve done the odd bit of grilling here and there, but with the exception of this salad awhile back, I have been eating horribly unseasonably for most of the summer. I have been to the farmers’ market zero times, I do not have a CSA membership, and my status at the co-op falls somewhere between “not allowed to shop” and “utterly disgraced.”

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After an especially brutal weekend—one filled with ghetto Chinese, pizza, and food poisoning from said pizza—I was perhaps particularly susceptible to the charms of a light, clean dish of unquestionable provenance, but I was still surprised when a friend’s tweet provoked an instantaneous craving for something simple, fresh, and homemade. Clearly, my body was trying to tell me that one cannot live on takeout, Sour Patch Kids and Nutty Bars alone.

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The Freelance Diet: How to Splurge.

When I started coming up with a list of topics for my Freelance Diet series, I never imagined that lobster would qualify for inclusion: That crustacean hasn’t screamed “budget cuisine” since the days when it was known as poverty food and only deemed suitable for prisoners and indentured servants.

To say things have changed would be an understatement, but fortunately for the modern-day lobster-lover, deals are still there if you know where to look—or even if you don’t. It’s not just $29 rolls (or even $14 rolls, for that matter) in this town.

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The Freelance Diet: Eating In.

It’s the dream of creative types, iconoclasts, and commitment-phobes alike: to work in pajamas while eschewing the demands of corporate culture. (Like wearing pants.) In the upcoming weeks, I’ll be writing about how I eat and drink on a freelancer’s salary—or lack thereof—in New York City; this is part one.

Some freelancers, I’ve been told, have figured out how to handle the juggling act that this lifestyle requires: the constant uncertainty of wondering when, exactly, those invoices submitted months earlier are going to pay out, and when they do, which bills need immediate attention and which can go another month or two, and how much wiggle-room is left on various credit cards before the banks demand nothing less than a first-born child in repayment. For me, it’s a low-grade anxiety—please excuse the overworked metaphor—that’s always simmering on the back burner, threatening to boil over at the slightest provocation. Unforeseen medical expenses? Summer weddings to attend? Excessive phone usage this billing cycle? Even a standard-yet-unexpected service charge on an otherwise normal account can throw my precariously balanced system (and I use the term lightly) into a state of disarray.

When that balance is at its most delicate, my diet becomes much less interesting. Fresh vegetables, meat, and cheese are all sidelined in favor of more cost-effective measures, and the variety I normally thrive on is a luxury I can’t afford; a pot of soup, legume-based and enough to feed me for a week, is a standard go-to. (This is hardly news.)

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