Saturday, February 1, 2014

A Month in Review: January

Data is fun to look at when it's presented all nice and pretty, so I decided to do one of these "Month in Review" posts every month.

But first, I'll begin with the subjective stuff.

Best Home Made Meal
 While not exactly a "meal" for most people, I really enjoyed these Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms. They were really easy to make, and they were incredibly tasty.

Runner Up
Even though it's something I make often, I would have to give the "runner up prize" to the home made chili.

Best Meal from a Restaurant
I ate a lot of great food while in the Phoenix area, and while there's a lot of competition, I think my favorite would have to be the Yellow Curry Chicken from Thai Hut.

Runner Up
While I really liked my burger from In-N'-Out, I really enjoyed my Black Bean Burger from Fez.

Now, in doing this post, I really wanted to have a whole bunch of graphs - what kind of cuisine was consumed, how much was home made vs. how much was prepared by somebody else, etc. But honestly... a lot of that stuff is really freakin' hard to quantify. Where do you draw the line between "Mexican", "Tex-Mex", and "American"? I would never see Chipotle as Mexican, and for some reason, I barely see it as Tex-Mex, but a lot of people would disagree. What about a place like Biaggi's or Olive Garden? Do you classify that as Italian? They say they're Italian, but a lot of people would disagree.

In the end, I really only came up with one idea for a chart (that wasn't boring, like a home made vs. restaurant food)....I made a pie chart of meat consumed during the month of January.

Even this was surprisingly difficult - because I sometimes didn't know what to count as a "meal", considering sometimes, I'll eat a muffin or a piece of banana bread and call that lunch.

In the end, I decided to avoid "meals" like that...and still ended up with the same percentage of meals eaten without meat as meals eaten with chicken. I was honestly expecting a heavier skew towards meals with chicken, because we eat a lot of it. No seriously. We probably go through at least 3-4 packages of 6 chicken breasts a month between myself and my boyfriend...and a lot of that is because he loves chicken. But sometimes, it's just easier to boil some egg noodles, or just eat some rice. (Plus, you'll notice two out of the four meals I mentioned above contain zero meat.)

In the end, I think doing this blog has made me realize one thing: food is a very social thing. What you eat is often dependent on who you're eating with, especially those you live with. If I didn't live with my picky-eating boyfriend, I would probably eat a lot more fish and vegetables, for example.

But even without him, the food you eat can easily be influenced by the people you're around. While in Phoenix, I suggested to my friend that we try an Ethiopian restaurant, and he told me he wasn't in the mood to try something new. We ate at Buffalo Wild Wings one day because that's what a friend of ours wanted. We eat at McAllister's all the time because it's my boyfriend's favorite place to get a sandwich. On the flip side, you may notice that it's rare that vegetables are cooked for the sake of being eaten as just a vegetable....because I could never get him to eat just "a side of broccoli" - all of our sides are usually potato-based, or bread-based.

Next time you want to cook something, ask yourself who you're cooking for - are you avoiding certain things because of a taste preference, or a food allergy? Or, next time you want to eat out with your friends, pay attention to how everybody comes to a single consensus. Why did are you eating at Restaurant X as opposed to Restaurant Y?

And seriously, try something new, even if you have to venture out by yourself.

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