Tsedeye, Brooklyn, NY

How many people does your fridge need to feed?
Just me.

What do you usually eat for breakfast?
I try to eat breakfast every day and when I do it’s usually some combination of almonds, peanut butter toast, yogurt, granola and almond milk, or a banana. I keep a stash of Cliff Bars in the office so I’ll eat one of those if I haven’t had time for breakfast at home. On the weekends if I’m at home, I like to make avocado toast or eggs.

Is there anything you eat every day? 
Coffee. Every day, multiple times a day. I probably eat almonds for breakfast or for a snack every day.

Every week?
Beer; hummus; avocados; peanut butter; eggs; cheese; tofu. I eat a lot of avocados and nuts because I’m a vegetarian. I became a vegetarian when I was 11 or 12 and was old enough to put my foot down. I never liked the taste of meat, and I remember being forced to sit at the table and finish my meal and being disgusted. So it wasn’t a politics thing for me, then. My family is Ethiopian, and one summer when we went to stay with my grandma somebody bought us a lamb as a welcome gift. I thought it was a pet they were bringing us to play with for the summer. After three days, I looked out the kitchen window and saw a guy holding a knife and leading the lamb to a hook I had never noticed before. And then I saw the aftermath: it had to be skinned, and then quartered, and then it was dinner, and I was like, “no thank you.”

What item are you forbidden from purchasing right now?
I’m much more of a salty than a sweet person, but one of my vices is horribly sugary cereals like Cap’n Peanut Butter Crunch so I don’t buy cereal because I can just eat and eat it. The most sugary cereal my mom would buy for us growing up was Honey Nut Cheerios. When I got old enough to drive to the grocery store, I’d buy sugar cereal myself. 

What’s the most delicious thing in here?
Maybe the olives from Sahadi’s, a great Middle Eastern grocery store, or this Dubliner cheese, which is like a very sharp cheddar and great for grilled cheese. I discovered this amazing Lee Kum Kee black bean garlic chili sauce when I went over to my friend Sonia’s house and had a delicious tofu stir-fry; now I’m a convert.

The most disgusting?
This Newman’s Own ranch dressing that somebody else bought because he wanted ranch dressing on his pizza.

The oldest?
There’s the shiro powder in the freezer that my mom brought it back from Ethiopia the last time she went—it’s ground chickpeas with a bunch of spices. But the absolute oldest stuff is the leftover faro and cauliflower that I took home from my office holiday party in 2014. I forgot about and it’s probably freezer-burned and gross but I keep it because maybe one day I’ll be really hungry and won’t have anything to eat. And I keep all this coffee in the freezer because I’m always worried that I’ll run out of it, so if I’m almost out and buy more, I store the remnants of the open stuff in the freezer. There have been mornings when I’ve thanked god I have it. 

What's your guilty pleasure?
French fries.

Where do you do most of your food shopping?
I go to Trader Joe’s every two or three weeks for staples, and I usually stop at Sahadi’s after. And I have a great greengrocer around the corner; I go there two or three times a week.

How much do you spend on groceries each week?
Maybe $60.

What percentage of your meals do you prepare at home?
Maybe 50%. It should be more.

Is there anything in here that we would have found in your childhood fridge? We always had peanut butter but it was creamy, I didn’t know that crunchy existed; butter; shiro powder; eggs; bread; lentils; coffee. I started drinking coffee when I was 10, so now it has no effect on me. Ethiopians are really into coffee and it’s not for waking you up in the morning, it’s something you drink with meals.

What do you wish you had in here?
Leftover pizza.

Tsedeye, 36, is a public interest labor and employment lawyer, and she's holding a can of Cafe Bustelo coffee from her freezer. She lives in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.