Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Cupboards Are Bare

I made it to Chicago without much hassle, but for all our stuff, it was a different story. Thanks to the worst seemingly reputable moving company in America, our belongings were delivered nearly two weeks later than the promised date. If you're looking for a company that offers decent customer service and won't lie to you, DO NOT call Neighbors Moving & Storage. On the other hand, if you enjoy getting the run around from the company you're paying to do a job, then I wholeheartedly recommend them.

The apartment we're staying in right now is temporary--July only. The condo in Bucktown that we fell in love with wasn't available till August 1. Since all our worldly possessions just arrived--including the whole batterie de cuisine--we're kind of trying to unpack as little as possible. So even though I have a tiny kitchen, I'm not doing much cooking. For the first two weeks, I felt like Survivorman (except with less crying). My only cooking tools were a skillet and saucepan we borrowed (along with an air mattress!) from friends.

The result is that we've spent a staggering amount of time and money at the prepared foods section of Whole Foods market. In a lot of cases, this may have gotten really depressing really quickly, but not here. Just weeks before we arrived, the huge, gorgeous Lincoln Park location of Whole Foods opened, and the place is better than Disneyworld. We really could eat every meal there for a week (probably longer) with no repeats. Tasty, tasty things. Quick tip: I got 1-pint cartons of fresh Mission and green figs there this week; it's a great price, so get over there fast!

Since we've more or less disposed with cooking for the month, my cupboards are indeed bare. I did open the box with the toaster and coffeemaker (It's not like we've suddenly gone feral), so I can make sunny side-up eggs with toast for breakfast. When I'm not relying on my stock of yogurt, eggs, sandwich fixings and candy in the refrigerator, I've been returning to the Whole Foods mothership with disturbing frequency. Anyway, here's the kitchen cupboard rundown:

Instant oatmeal: This is not a compromise; I love this stuff.
Peppermint tea: Favorite non-alcoholic nightcap.
Quick grits: We did one homecooked meal! This delicious shrimp n' grits recipe. Instead of Boursin, we crumbled Feta on top and seasoned the shrimp with Mexican hot sauce.
Raisins: I like them in my instant oatmeal.
Crystal Light individual lemonade drink mix: Plain water is no longer an option.
Canned food: Specifically, black beans and tuna. I have no idea where the can opener is. Fail.
Jif: Two kinds of peanut butter, smooth for Mike, extra crunchy for me.
Vitamins: Moving is no excuse for calcium deficiency.
Fruit: Mmmm, summer fruit.
Pam: For lovely runny eggs.
Assorted serving ware and paper goods

How would you deal with this bizarro apartment survival challenge? Have you ever stopped to think about the importance of condiments (we've got hot sauce, mustard, salt and pepper...wait, maybe those last two count as spices)? Do you love your Whole Foods market as much as I do (I really don't think this is possible)?

Ponder those questions and stay tuned...


Andrew's Mom said...

I had a simliar situation when I moved to New York from Illinois - eleven years ago now! I was staying at my husband's mother's house (then my fiance) and the moving company I hired delivered all my worldly belongings while I was at work - I came home to find Jim's basement FULL of someone else's stuff (Jim's elderly mother had no idea what my stuff looked like) - really bad stuff - it took them two weeks to find my stuff and then I made them hold it until I moved into my apartment in Flushing. Moving is a nightmare. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Roughing it during and after a move is so tough! I recently dealt with many of the same issues when I moved from Georgia to Virginia. I have to say, though, our staples are very similar. Instant oatmeal, raisins, Jif, and that Crystal Light stuff - I am drinking a "raspberry lemonade" water right now.

Good luck on your move! We subsisted on takeout pizza, Subway, and cereal since we are living out in the sticks with no Whole Foods within an hour's drive.

pope in training said...

at least we remembered the entire bar. yay us.

billjac said...

There's a Trader Joe's a couple blocks north of that Whole Foods. Their frozen prepared meals are a pretty good choice for barren kitchen and a good bit cheaper than Whole Foods.

I haven't been to one since moving to Miami years ago, but I recall that they generally needed a little doctoring to boost the flavor. Do you know where your spices are packed?

Tampa Cheryl said...

I think that this can help, I just made (AGAIN) your salmon recipe Chipotle, Honey, Lime Glaze. So if you head to Whole Foods, pick up two salmon filets and the glaze ingredients this is perfect in the toaster oven. Maybe with a side of black beans and a salad bar salad and you're home cooked, well almost. Do buy foil or you'll kill the baking pan for the toaster oven.
Also, at least you're in Chicago!! A wonderful food town. Best of luck on your move.

Diana Burrell said...

This time of year, I'd take advantage of the produce aisle at WH and eat salads or fruit.

Glad to hear you arrived in Chicago -- and so jealous you have a great WH nearby. (Ours is a half-hour drive.)

Daniel said...

Hi Julie--curious what your experiences have been during this month with your food budget. Have you found yourself spending a lot more than typical for food? Or a *LOT* more?

I'm sure it's a welcome break to be free of cooking for just a little while, even if it wasn't entirely planned that way.

Casual Kitchen

Julie said...

Andrew's Mom: I would have flipped out if the movers delivered someone else's stuff!
Haley: I'm hopelessly devoted to crys. lt. I might resort to takeout pizza when I get sick of WF.
Billjac: yep, I drive past TJ's on my way to WF! Will go sometime, but they can't beat the WF prepared stuff...I don't have a microwave either.
Cheryl: Yay, glad you love the salmon! I am cooking fish occasionally (see next post!).
Diana: I'm gorging on summer fruit. Wish I had more equipment to do some things with veggies.
Dan: I think I'm spending a lot, so I'm not keeping track. Luckily I don't eat like a horse. One rotisserie chicken lasts a week.

Maris said...

Moving is always hard. I'm always in such a rush to get things done that they end up haphazard and disorganized!

Anonymous said...

welcome to Chicago, a place I lived many many many years ago. when I moved away, I never set up the electricity or gas or anything in the apartment in a town of fewer that 50 0people I moved to, and so the first little while was a pain in the **!&!!. And then next move, I arrived in another town to a new house with no kitchen and 100 degree weather. In that case, the kitchen survival was ice ice ice ice

Anonymous said...

welcome to Chicago, a place I lived many many many years ago. when I moved away, I never set up the electricity or gas or anything in the apartment in a town of fewer that 50 0people I moved to, and so the first little while was a pain in the **!&!!. And then next move, I arrived in another town to a new house with no kitchen and 100 degree weather. In that case, the kitchen survival was ice ice ice ice

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