How many people does your fridge need to feed?
It only needs to feed me at this point. I used to keep my cat food in the bottom crisper drawer because my cats get into everything. But they can open the fridge now and get into that drawer, so I found a new way to store it. So now my fridge only needs to feed me, although I often cook for other people.
What do you usually eat for breakfast?
Well, things have drastically changed in the last few months. Up until a few months ago, I never ate breakfast, ever. I had a cup of tea from a cart in the morning. But since I did a food challenge, I’ve drastically changed my eating and now I usually have two soft-boiled eggs. Two eggs in about half an inch of boiling water—it steams them. I put the top on and set the alarm for seven minutes, then take them out and either put them in a glass jar and bring them with me to work, or, if I have time, I eat them right then in a bowl with salt and pepper.
Is there anything you eat every day?
These days I eat either peanut butter or almond butter everyday, and, unless I skip breakfast, an egg or two every day.
I definitely drink alcohol every single week—either wine or beer. I tend to crave a specific food and eat it constantly for weeks, and then I switch to a new food and eat it constantly for weeks. Right before I left for my trip to India—and I’m still on this—it was making toasted kale with fried chickpeas, cooked in coconut oil with paprika, salt and pepper, and lemon juice. I’ve been craving it like crazy.
What item are you forbidden from purchasing right now?
Right now I don’t buy any bread, pasta, or anything with wheat in it. I’m basically gluten-free/carb-free right now. And no sugar, except for fruit sugar. I need rules, and I need to do things in extremes. That’s better for me, so I don’t feel deprived. Right now, I can come home and eat half a jar of peanut butter. There are so many calories and so much fat in that, but I can eat like that and still lose weight if I follow the other rules. So I don’t feel deprived. For the last three months, I’ve done a lot of taking dried dates, dipping them in peanut butter, and then dipping them in dried, unsweetened coconut flakes. There was a while where I was probably eating 1,000 calories of peanut butter a day.
What’s the most delicious thing in here?
My friend Sarah and I went to the Amalfi Coast the summer of 2012 and stayed on a family farm. When we left, we bought this apricot jam and I’ve been eating it very slowly for two years. And this is almond meal. I make my own almond milk now because most almond milk has sugar in it, or preservatives. I soak almonds in water for three days, then rinse them and put them in a blender with two cups of water, and then squeeze them through a mesh nut milk bag. If you leave the skins on when you grind them up, what’s leftover is almond meal. It’s a little coarse—I’ll coat chicken cutlets in it. It’s almost the most valuable thing in here because I have to go through so much work just to get this much.
The most disgusting?
I cleaned my fridge out because I just got home from India, so most things aren’t totally disgusting. But I just noticed this: this is old guacamole that I made. I don’t remember when, so it’s very, very old. But right before you came here I was so embarrassed I took this old almond milk I made out of the fridge. It goes bad after about four days, and this is about six weeks old. I can’t take the top off, I’ve been running it under hot water.
Either some of the mustard, or that Amalfi Coast jam, but I don’t think that that would go.
Anything you regret buying?
Yes. I had the idea that I was going to start making smoothies and I bought all these packages of frozen fruit before trying them, and the mixed fruit ones have so many seeds that you can’t drink a smoothie made with them. I wish I had tried a pack before I bought ten packs of them.
What's your guilty pleasure?
Definitely donuts. But I do not allow myself to eat donuts any more. I actually even talked about it in therapy. My therapist told me that I should not have them ever. I have no control around donuts. I used to buy a pack of big donuts and eat them all in one sitting. I could eat like that when I was young but I can’t now, so I don’t allow myself to have donuts.
Where do you do most of your food shopping?
The Met grocery store around the corner. Although I’ve been allowing myself to not feel like I can only go to one store, so I’ve also been going to the health food store on the way to the Met, although it’s very expensive. And I work near Trader Joe’s and Sahadi’s. I try to go places where I can get better food for cheaper but I’m also kind of lazy so I like one-stop shopping.
How often do you go grocery shopping?
Twice a week, maybe?
How much do you spend on groceries each week?
I really don’t know. I just went shopping today and spent $121. I was very surprised by how quickly it added up but I also feel like I got a lot of healthy food. I try not to feel guilty about spending money on good quality food and things that are healthy for me.
What percentage of your meals do you prepare at home?
That’s also changed drastically in the last three months. I used to always buy lunch at work for the first four years at my job, and I just started bringing my own lunch. So now four out of five days a week my lunches are homemade. Dinner depends on whether I have plans or not; because I’m single and live by myself, I tend to make a lot of plans. At this point, maybe 50% of my meals are prepared at home—and that’s up from zero percent.
Is there anything in here that we would have found in your childhood fridge?
Batteries. And syrup. My parents always keep batteries in the fridge and butter in the freezer. I store extra butter in the freezer and I’ve noticed that people think that’s weird. Probably also: lemon juice, mayonnaise, mustard, cheddar cheese, and eggs.
What do you wish you had in here?
I’d like to have a magical thing that would keep my kale good for a week. I wish I could go to Fairway and buy a whole bunch of fresh food that would last longer. But in terms of actual food, I guess I wish that instead of this piece of crappy meat is was grass-fed, better quality meat from a well-treated animal.
Laura is a lawyer who represents children in family court whose parents are accused of abusing or neglecting them. She lives in Clinton Hill and she’s holding homemade chicken stock.