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What I've been eating...
Anyone who spends any time with me knows that I love food — thinking about food, making food, eating food, telling people about food. Why not add it into Tech and Tea?
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A friend recently texted me:
Random thought but I feel like several newsletters I read often add a bit at the end like what I’m reading right now with book recs
What if for yours you did a what I’m eating right now section?
I’m very proud and delighted that I apparently consistently project a “I love food” vibe.
I love to eat food, I love to cook food, I love to think about food. I love to think about what food I’m going to eat.
We recently had a team ice-breaker over Slack about each team member’s favorite breakfast. While most people said things like yogurt with fruit or bagels with cream cheese, I wrote:
Very specific, but I eat this often. Trader Joe’s korean pancake (air-fried), with a runny egg on top, with japanese mayo and okonomyaki sauce drizzled over the top, and furikake and bonito flakes.
It’s like a super-fast hacked together okonomyaki, and it’s so good. If you want to try it (and have a local TJ’s) but don’t have the toppings, I recommend at least acquiring some japanese mayo and furikake, if you don’t want to have a ton of leftover bonito flakes or the other sauces.
My Instagram feed is low percentage people I know, high percentage food. My Facebook feed is similar — saturated with posts from Bay Area Eats, and Trader Joe’s and Costco specific groups. My Reddit homepage is a firehose of /r/mealprepsunday, /r/food, /r/baking posts, with some /r/relationships thrown in (of course).
With the steady stream of amazing food photos, it’s easy to think that people are having amazing meals all day every day. But I bet even professional food bloggers have plenty of meals that are not photo-worthy.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, I’ve had this insatiable curiosity — I wanted to know what people are eating, especially early-pandemic when those who had relied on eating out or eating at offices suddenly were left to their own devices.
What were people making and eating for three meals a day?
Now, with more options than ever, I wonder… what are people’s routines (or lack of) around food? Do people DoorDash/UberEats lunch and dinner daily? Do they do a weekly meal prep? Do they munch of raw veggies and cheese and crackers and call it a day (totally valid)?
Some content that has helped me scratch my itch is's podcast Edit Your Life, where she sometimes has food-centric episodes around weekend meal prep, and how her family eats throughout the week.
Given how central food is in my life, I figured it was time to incorporate some food content into Tech and Tea. I’ll include a little section in future posts, but for now, here’s a heavier dose of food things.
What I’ve been eating
High-level: We mostly cook or assemble meals at home. We don’t really meal plan, but typically buy similar groceries weekly from Trader Joe’s, and a ~monthly Costco run for some bulk staples. We have a shared grocery list broken down by store with a comprehensive list of everything we would ever get from that store — items get unchecked if we need to get them next visit.
Breakfasts come together pretty quickly with whatever we have on hand — eggs, tortillas, avocados, yogurt, etc. Korean pancakes are when I make breakfast just for myself (weekdays post-school-dropoff).
Lunches are typically leftovers, salad, or some kind of wrap or sandwich (or ramen if I’m feeling indulgent).
Our typical dinner breakdown looks something like (with an example for each):
30% full cooked meals: usually on weekdays with kids. Most recently some short ribs I doused in The Original Japanese BBQ sauce and cooked on a griddle, with some chard from the garden, and air-fried sweet potato fries (Jackson helped sprinkle random seasonings on the fries)
40% semi-prepared meals: often something frozen from Trader Joe’s — the kids like the mandarin orange chicken. Not sure why there is chicken salad as well.
15% leftovers and snack plates: fridge clean out plus random veggies and cheese and crackers
15% eating out or takeout: thai delivery or poke bowl takeout (no photos found)
That’s kind of the high-level how and what we eat around here, and it mostly works for us!
One meal to rule them all
Getting much more specific, here is the lowest effort dinner that we can have people over for, and it feels like a nice dinner. Other than putting rice in the rice cooker ~40 minutes before dinner time, everything comes together in less than 15 minutes.
Basic version: Trader Joe’s BBQ cut salmon with some soy sauce and salt (or the Japanese bbq sauce) on top, and a few thin slabs of butter, broiled for 10-12 minutes in the air fryer. Rice with sushi rice vinegar mixed in. Cucumbers and avocados cut up on the side. Open a package of seaweed, and let everyone make their own hand rolls.
Bonus additions: Sometimes I’ll add some imitation crab meat mixed with japanese mayo for another hand roll ingredient, or add a bag of edamame for more food. Homemade tamago if I’m feeling ambitious!
Some variation of this is probably at least on biweekly rotation over here. The air fryer (a Ninja Foodi Air Fry Oven) with virtually no pre-heat time and Zojirushi rice cooker help make this fairly effortless.
Reflections on food
There were lots of years when I didn’t have much space to enjoy food the way I do now. Food was much more functional — what was available for a kid’s dinner before bedtime, or my own dinner post-kids-bedtime.
I’ve also felt somewhat conflicted about my enjoyment of cooking, as it feels so gendered, and I wonder do I actually enjoy it or have societal nudges over a lifetime told me that I should enjoy it?
With a little bit more spaciousness in my life (slightly older kids, work from home), I’m enjoying the parts of food and cooking that are beyond purely functional. Similar to my hierarchy of needs, food has extended beyond the place of exhaustion and survival and moved into “space to do whatever,” “space to enjoy,” and even “space to create.”
What have you been eating lately? Leave a comment and let me know. I’m so curious!
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