How many people does your fridge need to feed?
Sandra: Three and a half.
Peter: Two adults, a four-year-old boy, and a one-and-a-half-year-old girl.
Sandra: But it’s really the boy that’s the half. Claudia eats for a full-grown adult.
What do you usually eat for breakfast?
Sandra: Toast with a tablespoon of peanut butter and banana slices on top; a cup of coffee.
Peter: A Greek yogurt and black coffee.
Sandra: We’re both on a diet.
Peter: Pre-diet I’d go back and forth between something like that or an egg, or I’d get a breakfast sandwich.
Sandra: The kids have oatmeal every other day. Seb has his with raisins and milk and honey, and Claudia has peanut butter and honey in hers. On the off days they have toast, or pancakes, or yogurt.
Peter: We make oatmeal in our rice cooker, so it automates those oatmeal mornings. Not that making oatmeal is a labor-intensive process, but it’s nice to come down and have that and the coffee already done, because I usually have to start work by 7 and Sandra’s on her own with the kids. Weekend breakfast is different. One morning it will be pancakes or waffles and a little bacon, and the other day we’ll usually go out.
Is there anything you eat every day?
Peter: Coffee. And peanut butter. And if I’ve got them around I will have baby carrots and almonds as a snack every day. And liquor, wine, or beer just about every day.
Sandra: Coffee and Dave’s bread—one slice.
Sandra: Eggs, hummus, pita… We do eat a lot of the same things every week. There’s not a huge variety.
What item are you forbidden from purchasing right now?
Peter: Yea, we don’t buy many miscellaneous empty-calorie baked good anymore. We also don’t usually buy fruits or vegetables that are too out of season if we can avoid it. Like we don’t eat fresh tomatoes until summer. If they’re coming from as far as Brazil or Peru they’re probably not going to taste very good anyway. And now a lot of the life choices we set out to make earlier are supported by the places where we buy food. Like, our grocery store rarely has blueberries or strawberries at this time of year.
Sandra: We usually don’t buy things that aren’t from Washington, Oregon, or California. Except bananas.
What’s the most delicious thing in here?
Sandra: Yogurt. Peach is my favorite flavor. Or the Vietnamese “sweet chili sauce for chicken.”
Peter: I’d also say yogurt—none of Sandra’s homemade hummus is in here right now.
The most disgusting?
Sandra: The cod liver oil. Not just because it’s cod liver oil but because it’s super-duper old and I think it goes rancid after just a month.
Peter: The frozen quiche.
Sandra: It’s like an ice puck.
Peter: I just consider it more of an ice pack than a food stuff. After Sebastian was born my mom came up and made this.
Sandra: No, it was after Claudia.
Peter: Does this look only a year-and-a-half old to you?
Sandra: Either way it’s older than the breast milk. That’s from feeding Claudia. Honestly I just forgot about it and now I just don’t want to throw it away. It’s mine! It’s like how I held on to one pink and one blue cloth diaper.
Anything you regret buying or acquiring?
Sandra: Peter’s jar of bacon fat. He said he would save it to cook with, but: have you ever used it?
Peter: Well, it hasn’t been around that long but I probably won’t… Occasionally I’ll buy a six-pack of beer and just have a couple and the remaining four will just sit in there. It gets particularly embarrassing when it’s a seasonal beer. Also, pretty much anything from Trader Joe’s. I get it thinking it’s not too healthy but it will do for a quick dinner for just one night, and then I get too chicken shit to actually eat it. Look at this chimichurri rice with vegetables: the sodium content for half a cup is a quarter of your daily sodium.
What's your guilty pleasure?
Sandra: Red Vines. For Peter it’s cookies.
Peter: Not anymore.
Sandra: OK, for the old Peter. It would be 8 o’clock at night and he’d be like, “I have to make some cookies!” Then we wouldn’t have an ingredient and he’d be like, “I have to go out!”
Peter: I’d be forging hurricane-force winds to buy butter. Like a drug addict. Now it’s those spicy almonds that are clearly coated in sugar.
Sandra: That’s the new you.
Where do you do most of your food shopping?
Sandra: New Seasons. It’s like a local Whole Foods.
How much do you spend on groceries each week?
Peter: $350, easy. But that includes diapers, baby wipes, cleaning supplies, toothpaste….
Sandra: I’d say $400. It’s disgusting. We’ve tried to cut it down.
Peter: But these little fuckers just keep snacking.
Sandra: And they waste so much food.
Peter: You try so hard to make sure they don’t waste and they just do.
Sandra: I used to eat off their plates until I kept getting sick.
How often do you go grocery shopping?
Sandra: Every day.
Peter: I’d say probably two out of three days. Sometimes more than once a day.
What percentage of your meals do you prepare at home?
Is there anything in here that we would have found in your childhood fridge?
Sandra: The block of Tillamook cheddar cheese. I’d never had it or bought it anywhere else because once I left home I couldn’t afford cheese. And once we moved back to Portland I started buying it again; we had kids.
Peter: I remember we placed it in our grocery cart, and I was like: “now, we are a family.” Because no one else could buy that quantity of cheese and eat it before it went bad. Every kid meal is some variation of bread with cheese.
Sandra: It’s more like bread and spread: like bagel and cream cheese, or pita and hummus.
What do you wish you had in here?
Sandra: Really good seltzer. We have a seltzer maker but it’s not doing so great. And honestly, this is silly, but I hate having to make my own seltzer. I forbid myself from buying it at the store but I really, really want to.
Sandra is an environmental scientist and she’s holding a bottle of cod liver oil and her one-and-a-half-year-old, Claudia, who is in turn holding a bottle of regular Heinz ketchup. Peter is a political consultant and he’s holding a bottle of regular Heinz ketchup, a bottle of organic Heinz ketchup, and a bottle of Heinz chili sauce. Sebastian, who is four, is holding a bag of tortillas and wearing some chocolate donut war paint. They live in Portland, Oregon.