How many people does your fridge need to feed?
Stephanie: Two. Well, I guess there’s breast milk in there…
Jeff: Yea, there’s milk in there. And I’m really consciously trying to cook and make food that’s not garbage, because the baby’s eating that, sort of—through you. That’s why we signed up for a CSA this year.
Stephanie: OK, so technically two, otherwise two and a half.
Jeff: Two point three.
What do you usually eat for breakfast?
Stephanie: It depends on the day, but eggs and toast, or cereal.
Jeff: And you always have tea.
Stephanie: Yes, black tea. English tea.
Jeff: With sugar and just a hint of milk. The milk has to just, like, whisper, across the top. No, I’m not in charge of tea, we’ve just been together a long time.
Stephanie: 15 years.
Jeff: I don’t really eat breakfast at home. On weekends I might. Stephanie makes a really good egg sandwich.
Is there anything you eat every day?
Stephanie: My tea, that’s about it.
Jeff: Yogurt, if we have it. If we have them, I’ll eat Goldfish crackers every day.
Jeff: Tortillas; cheese; beans. We make a lot of tex-mex. Our dinners usually fall into one of three categories: something Mexican, something Italian, or something Asian—some sort of stir-fry or something. Also sriracha and rice.
Stephanie: Pasta. Veggies from the CSA.
What item are you forbidden from purchasing right now?
Stephanie: Anything that has palm oil in it. Which is everything. It’s really bad for the environment.
Jeff: To harvest and grow it they slash and burn rainforest, primarily in Indonesia. It’s really threatening the habitats of orangutans, and it’s also bad environmentally because of all the carbon released from the burning. There are some companies with sustainable palm oil plantations but that’s hard to keep track of so we just try to avoid all palm oil, which is really hard. Sometimes we buy stuff with it accidentally.
Stephanie: It’s in almost every snack food. I used to really love Pepperidge Farm cookies, and it’s in almost all of those.
Jeff: Cheez-Its; a lot of ice creams; anything that has fake chocolate; microwave popcorn—anything that’s a convenience food. It’s a really cheap, shelf-stable fat. The other thing we try not to buy is stuff with nitrates. Most cured meat has nitrates but we still eat salami and pepperoni because it’s delicious.
What’s the most delicious thing in here?
Jeff: The frozen dumplings, or the fresh mozzarella—it’s Ozzie’s brand. This chorizo is really good and it doesn’t have nitrates.
Stephanie: The koshihikari rice.
Jeff: Oh yea, that’s the best! Everything else we said is super delicious but this is like a special gift. Koshihikari rice is a short-grain rice and you don't use as much water when you cook it. It has a really delicious flavor and it's sticky, but not too sticky. It's the only rice you want to eat plain. And then it gets cold and somehow it's even better.
The most disgusting?
Stephanie: The verde sauce from Trader Joe’s.
Jeff: We love salsa verde and we thought this was really poorly made. But there’s a chicken pot pie stew in the freezer that wasn’t good. The recipe said to use chicken thighs but they fell apart in the slow cooker and became strips of chicken rope. It was not a pleasant mouthfeel.
Jeff: The rolls of film are 12 years old. It’s from when I first graduated from college. We had gone to the Bronx zoo--it was one of our first New York City-esque dates--and I shot three or four rolls of film on my old Pentax camera. They’ve never been developed. It’s photos of us looking at nature--it’s funny, because we weren’t really “nature-y” people then but now we are.
Every year for my birthday and Christmas I’m like, “you know what would be a great gift is if someone would get that film developed, nudge, nudge, nudge.”
Stephanie: And then I forget every birthday and Christmas. I can’t wait until we develop it and are like, “oh my god, look how young we are!”
Jeff: I remember taking a lot of photos of the bison.
Anything you regret buying?
Jeff: Besides the Trader Joe’s salsa verde, this big 4oz container of Fleischmann’s active dry yeast because I was baking bread all the time. You’re supposed to use it up in six months and I never did. I tried using it recently and it’s definitely dead but I refuse to throw it out because it’s like I’ve lost.
Stephanie: The pumpkin spice coffee. It tastes like cigarettes, and I can say that even though I’ve never smoked a cigarette in my life.
Jeff: That might also be the grossest thing.
Stephanie: But we still drink it on occasion. Out of a sense of duty. We mix it with other coffee.
What's your guilty pleasure?
Stephanie: Cookies, cake—anything baked.
Jeff: Pepperoni, because it has nitrates in it, and because we try not to eat that much meat.
Where do you do most of your food shopping?
Stephanie: Key Food and the Associated supermarket, and our CSA.
How much do you spend on groceries each week?
Jeff: Back when I was living in this neighborhood in 2002 when I was just out of college, I would spend exactly $20 every grocery visit. That would be once a week or even once every other week if I shopped well. And then when Stephanie moved in it went up to $40, and now it’s around $50-60. I was eating a lot of minimalist food, like dry beans, because I didn’t have the money to spend, and now we do so we buy better things and more snacks. Stephanie buys milk; I never used to buy milk. Stephanie buys butter.
Stephanie: And eggs.
Jeff: Stephanie has taught me the ways of the egg sandwich and I am going to make her make me one later today.
How often do you go grocery shopping?
Stephanie: Once a week.
What percentage of your meals do you prepare at home?
Stephanie: 90%. We usually get takeout once a week.
Jeff: 95% or higher. I cook every meal--it’s one of my big artistic outlets. When I come home from work and have to put something together we call it “Iron Chef pantry.” It’s a creative process, like putting together some sort of puzzle. About once a week we order food and I go pick it up because I don’t want to have to tip.
Is there anything in here that we would have found in your childhood fridge?
Jeff: Yogurt. But not Greek yogurt.
Stephanie: Our freezer was always full of ribs and steak, wrapped in foil and frozen, but there really wasn’t anything else. My parents never cooked, we went out to eat every night of my life. There was a restaurant in our town called The Beach House and my parents loved it. It’s disgusting, horrible food but I was a kid and didn’t know any better.
Jeff: When we stay at her parents house you open up the fridge and...
Stephanie: Dust bunnies blow out.
Jeff: There’s just orange juice and one yogurt. And bacon.
What do you wish you had in here?
Jeff: And more ice cream. Always more ice cream.
Jeff works in media production in order to fund his art and music projects and he’s holding rolls of undeveloped film from 2002. Stephanie is an interior designer but is currently a stay-at-home mom. She is holding a jar of salsa and their four-month-old, Arthur. They live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.