2010 Hunger Challenge, Day 3: My Cheating Heart (and Stomach)

Day 3, a Day Late
I admit: last evening I knowingly and intentionally fell (well, leapt, really) off the wagon. In the second of my two planned social outings for the week, I went with my friend Dana to 15 Romolo for cocktails and bar bites, both because--theme alert!--I had a voucher for same, and because I was sorely in need of a cocktail.

All told, the evening cost us each $20--which, for two drinks each, three shared appetizers, and one shared dessert, was not a whole lot (thanks to the aforementioned voucher). Of course, $20 was ridiculously far above and beyond my food budget for the day. It was also worth every last guilt-inducing cent.

In my everyday life--that is, even when I'm not intentionally aiming to eat three solid meals for $4 per day--I tend to be fairly frugal when it comes to grocery spending. A few times a year, I'll splurge on something special, like the Meyer lemon olive oil I bought from a very sweet man at the Castro farmer's market a few weeks back, but I'm generally inclined toward the cheap(-ish): I buy a lot in bulk, stick with pretty simple and inexpensive produce, and resist the allure of the fancy cheeses at Rainbow in favor of the basic cheddar and ricotta salata and Bulgarian feta that are a fraction of the price. (Yes, I realize this is a wildly bourgeois definition of frugal grocery shopping.)

But it's a different story when it comes to dining and drinking out. Since I'm already laying myself bare here, I will admit that I shell out $9+ per cocktail on a pretty regular basis, even though that same $9 would buy me, say, a hunk of cheese that would last all week, or some handmade ravioli, or some other non-essential but lovely foodstuff that I probably wouldn't buy because it seemed too expensive.

Hello, my name is Emily, and I'm penny wise and pound foolish.

I'm also someone who thrives on being around other people, especially when that communion involves food, and doubly especially when that communion involves food and a cocktail that comes with its own back story, as did those Dana and I drank last night. So while there's a big part of me that feels like I should be engaging in some (more) self-flagellation today--after all, people who are really living on food stamps cannot simply decide to take a night off and belly up to the bar at 15 Romolo--there's also a part that's OK with having savored last night: the bar, Dana's company, our conversation, and, yes, that final sip of stout ice cream milkshake at the tail end of our meal that left me feeling, for the first time all week, completely and delightedly full.

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