Ben and Maggie, San Francisco, CA


How many people does your fridge need to feed?
Maggie: Two on a regular basis.

What do you usually eat for breakfast?
Ben: I choose not to eat breakfast.
Maggie: I have hot chocolate and either granola or eggs.
Ben: Sometimes I have a cookie.

Is there anything you eat every day?
Maggie: I eat eggs almost every day.

Every week?
Maggie: I really like probiotic beverages like kefir, kombucha, or kvass. Kvass is a fermented beet and rye drink.
Ben: I eat yogurt and granola after meals when I’m not fully satisfied.

What item are you forbidden from purchasing right now?
Maggie: I’m pregnant, so: soft cheese, deli meats, oysters.
Ben: We’re pretty snobby about what we buy, for better or worse. It would be shocking if either one of us came home with some sort of Keebler Elves kind of cookie.
Maggie: Industrial foods in general. Highly processed foods or factory farm meat.
Ben: Cheez-Its, Velveeta…. That kind of stuff would not work culturally.

What’s the most delicious thing in here?
Maggie: Ratatouille from Three Stone Hearth, which is a community-supported kitchen that my friend owns.
Ben: I like those McClure’s pickles. We had the spicy ones and when we finished all the pickles I realized I enjoyed drinking the pickle juice in small quantities. It’s a spicy, salty sip.

The most disgusting?
Ben: There’s a carrot that’s way past its prime. We had a purge of disgusting things a few weeks ago. Before then, there were some things that were way gross.
Maggie: Being pregnant, I have a low tolerance for gross things in the fridge.
Ben: Sometimes Maggie will clear out gross things but can’t bear to process them.
Maggie: I put them in the sink.
Ben: So I occasionally come out and see a bunch of incredibly gross and moldy things and it’s my job to deal with them. Without running afoul of compost and recycling rules, which is disgusting. We don’t discuss this, it just happens.

The oldest?
Ben: Some honey mustard that was given to me multiple years ago that I just don’t like.

Anything you regret buying?
Maggie: I don’t have a lot of regrets. Our purchasing is pretty streamlined.
Ben: We benefit greatly by living so close to places that sell fresh produce. We don’t need to stockpile any of that stuff because we can get it on demand. That’s led to a fridge that isn’t full of regrettable, aspirational purchases.

What's your guilty pleasure?
Maggie: I’m on bed rest right now. Before, I was going to a coffee shop and getting hot chocolate every single day. When I went on bed rest, Ben asked them how to recreate it and I realized that I was basically eating more than half a bar of chocolate every morning in my small hot chocolate-- my hot chocolate which I’m now replicating at home every morning.
Ben: Cookies. That’s it. I don’t have many vices on the food front. I’m pretty disciplined.

Where do you do most of your food shopping?
Maggie: Bi-Rite Market, Whole Foods, Rainbow Grocery, and Golden Produce.

How often do you go grocery shopping?
Maggie: Anywhere from twice a day—one trip each—to a couple times a week.

What percentage of your meals do you prepare at home?
Maggie: It’s so variable. I pretty much always prepare breakfast and lunch at home.
Ben: I don’t prepare any lunches at home, ever.

How much do you spend on groceries each week?
Ben: Because we’ve made a decision—consciously or otherwise—to shop at Bi-Rite, where everything is painfully expensive but really feel-good, I don’t spend a lot of time looking at prices because it’s just disheartening. But I know that they’re really great people, and that everyone who works there has health insurance, so I just do it.
Maggie: $150 a week? We get a lot prepared foods from there. So nights were we would do take-out we’re just going to the grocery store. That runs up the bill.

Is there anything in here that we would have found in your childhood fridge?
Ben: At times we’ve had Kozy Shack tapioca pudding phases.

What do you wish you had in here?
Ben: Salmon.
Maggie: I always want either sour cream or crème fraiche in my refrigerator and there rarely is.

Maggie is holding a jar of Full Belly Farm almond butter. She works for the Department of Agriculture on a program that brings local foods into schools and supports school gardens. She’s also a creator of the Local Foods Wheel you see on her fridge. Ben is a specialty typist who works on Matter. He’s holding a jar of McClure’s pickles with just the juice remaining. They live in San Francisco, California.