Defining a foodie

The meeting room is bare, minimalistic, with a horseshoe of chairs centered before a long wooden table. The walls bear remnants of past events, and the large windows are covered with outdated curtains. The sun is setting, casting shadows in the dimly lit room.

The people in the room seem friendly, but they are all somber, quiet and everyone seems to keep to themselves. There are people from all walks of life here, tall, chubby, short or thin. There is a woman dressed in a beautiful suit I probably couldn’t afford, and a guy who looks like he picked up the first thing he saw on his floor and put it on. I see a man in his work overalls and a young mom nursing her daughter.

The chairman of our meeting calls us to order and asks who would like to go first. That feeling of nervousness flutters inside my stomach as I raise my hand, I would prefer to get it over with. With a gentle smile he motions for me to stand up.

The room turns to look at me. Blue, brown, green and grey, all the eyes in the room seem to burn their way through me. Slowly I stand and quietly clear my throat, with shaking hands I bear my soul.

“Hi, my name is Karen,” I stumble on the words, and a smile from the mother holding her baby urges me on, “And I am a foodie.”

A foodie, by my definition, is a lover of food. Someone who fully enjoys the act of eating. I don’t mean someone who loves to shove food in their mouth. I’m talking about the woman who will spend 20 minutes savouring each bite of her slice of cheese cake. The man who will turn to his wife and ask, “Babe, is that Cilantro I taste in your chili?”. The college student who bypasses the Kraft dinner aisle to pick up some Asiago cheese and olive oil instead.

Foodies will choose a full-bodied tasty dinner over fast food any day, these are the people you want to go to dinner with. The down side of being a foodie is that it can be expensive. We all love to eat, and we all love to eat good food, that can be very hard to do on a budget.

My solution, learn to cook! It doesn’t need to be time-consuming all the time, it shouldn’t be that hard, and with the right tools, you will be working your way into the foodie hall of fame.

I’ve fallen in love with the Better Homes and Gardens’ Budget Meal$: Save big $$$ with smart ways to shop and efficient ways to cook.

This book has everything, from how to stock your pantry, to how and when to shop for veggies and meats. This really is a must have for any cost conscious foodie, or if you’re my sister…cheap foodies.

I don’t mind being called cheap, life is so expensive these days, I’m a fan of pinching pennies wherever I can. Good food should not involve breaking the bank. A beautiful meal should not need designer cook ware, name brand everything and the newest and greatest gadget.

If I could, I would grow my own vegetables, I’d have chickens and ducks (the ducks because I find the quacks soothing), bake all of my own breads and actually make pasta. However, reality dictates that I pull my head out of the clouds and get a real job.

So it was back to the drawing board. Now I have a coupon book, a comparison shopping book, I keep my receipts and I plan my meals. Why? Because it was easy to be overwhelmed after working all day, and the days that I was prepared, and the days I planned ahead, were so much less stressful than the days I was running around demanding that someone else picked what we would have for dinner that night.

I love the idea of meal plans, they reduce your time in the kitchen, your stress and they make shopping for groceries less guess-work, and more efficient. I’ve been applying for the meal plans that I have come across online, and I’ve found that they are either directed towards Americans, so deals and other things don’t apply to Miss Canada here, or they have some crazy recipes that I couldn’t convince my boyfriend to eat. I’m sorry to say that Tofu Currie wouldn’t fly in my house.

That’s why I love this book, there are quite a few recipes that take me out of my comfort zone, but they are all real meals, full of colour (which is really important to me), full of flavor and they are realistic and relevant to my life.

They give you 50 no recipe recipes for things like No-fuss salads, Easy sides, Simple sandwiches, Fix-Quick Main dishes and deserts, for those days where you need to find a creative way to express yourself.

I love that people experiment with food, almost as much as I like to experiment myself, but I think that for everyday life you should be able to find 20-30 recipes that you fall in love with. Those become the basis of your personal cook book, and then you add a little “flava-flave” to spice up everyday life.

I picked up Budget Meal$ on sale at the Real Canadian Superstore, however you can find it here from any where from $6.39-$18.97, which is better than the listed price of $23.95.

I look forward to sharing my successes and my epic failures as I work my way through this great little book. Come back tomorrow for when I attack my pantry with a vengeance.

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