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Sep 9, 2010 06:29 PM

After the recession, what will you buy?

Times are tough and we've all had to tighten our belts a bit. I've been unemployed for a while now but have two very interesting jobs that I may land. And they pay well! I now keep thinking of food items, and restaurants, etc. that I will be able to buy and go to if I get these jobs!

For me it's things like caviar, good wines and champagnes, and trips to french restaurants such as The Dining Room, or La Folie. And I can even get the bubbly water too! Also I'll be able to buy things like saffron.

I'll still keep my budget, but it will certainly be nice to be able to splurge again.

What things will you buy after the tough times are over?

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  1. I am in the same boat too cosmogrrl. I hope to be back to work in the next few weeks. What I miss is eating in really nice restaurants with nice service. We have been eating at home mostly and going to inexpensive restaurants for pho and such. Also I am looking forward to going to chocolatiers and pastry shops again.

    1. I've really cut back on fancy cheese. And I could really use a larger dutch oven.

      9 Replies
      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        Ditto on the cheese. The last ball of mozz I bought could have served my well in a doubles match, and little else. I don't even want to talk about the rest of the cheeses. I didn't even let myself buy the five buck Parmesan during the last marketing trip.

        I found a new job, but left (it was just . . . ugh), and so canceled the KA mixer (with dough hook), and try not to think about the pasta attachment. I'm focusing on ravioli as a test of my mettle, and calling it a day. Of course, a decently filled ravioli is another expenditure altogether.

        Also, I happen to like the cheaper cuts of meat, simply because I like to stew and pound and coax, but when I find my new gig, I really do look forward to buy a beautiful cut of meat, and treating it as simply as possible.

        And (deep breath), I just bought a bottle of soy sauce that was twice the size of the common household brand, for half the price. I skimped on soy sauce. At least that makes me laugh. The brand is Silver Swan, and I think I was suckered because the swan looks eerily (ominously?) like the swan on the Mercurochrome bottle from my childhood (the medicine that *didn't* hurt, my mother promised).

        1. re: onceadaylily

          Lily, what brand did you switch from, and how does the new brand compare?

          Recessions suck, but finding an acceptable alternative for half price is great! Actually, I think that sort of is the point of recessions. :)

          1. re: joonjoon

            We switched from Kikkoman (the boyfriend insists on it merely out of habit, I think.) We haven't cracked it open yet, but the Silver Swan doesn't seem to coat the side of the bottle for as long as the Kikkoman does after I've tilted it. The Silver Swan brand (which the internet informs me is popular in the Philippines) has 'caramel color' as an ingredient, while the Kikkoman does not. I didn't know 'color' could be an ingredient, and haven't believed it to be a flavor since I was seven. :)

            Okay, so I just went and tasted it. I agree with you that finding the good deal can be rewarding . . . but it is sadly not not the case with this product. The Silver Swan tasted a bit medicinal compared to Kikkoman, the sodium was more of a harder bite, was thinner, and lacked the warmth that soy usually has. The Kikkoman tasted downright buttery compared to this.

            I hope some of the harsher notes will dissipate with heat, because this might be destined to be my cooking soy. I see a lot of Bourbon Chicken in our future.

            1. re: onceadaylily

              Aww that's a bummer. Well even if it's not quite right on a straight up test it might be servicable in cooked applications like you said. But yes, 'caramel color' in soy sauce is a huge red flag and is usually a sign that it's not a naturally fermented product. Oh well. :(

              You know what's funny - I LOVE the bourbon chicken they serve at all the malls but I've never thought to make it at home! Do you have a recipe?

              1. re: joonjoon

                There are tons of recipes on the net, but this is the one I use. It's a down and dirty recipe, but, then, to duplicate something from the mall, it would have to be. But, it's cheap, easy, and fast. It's funny, I thought this was just so-so, but the first time I made this, the boyfriend called me from work the next day to ask if there was any left. "I've been thinking about that chicken *all* day," he said, longingly.

                2 lbs chicken, cut into bite-size pieces (I've used either breasts or skinless, boneless thighs)
                1-2 tablespoon olive oil
                1 crushed garlic clove
                1/4 teaspoon ginger
                3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
                1/4 cup apple juice
                1/3 cup brown sugar
                2 tablespoons catsup
                1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
                1/2 cup water
                1/3 cup soy

                Heat oil in a large skillet, and cook until lightly browned on each side. Remove chicken. Add remaining ingredients, heating over medium heat until well mixed and dissolved. Add chicken and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

                *I have also made the sauce first, and then tossed in leftover shredded chicken. I also, always, use more garlic than the recipe calls for.

                1. re: onceadaylily

                  thats funny, theres not a single drop of bourbon in that bourbon chicken...

                  1. re: asiansensation007

                    I assume that you drink bourbon whilst making it. ;)

                    Sorta like "I always cook with wine, and sometimes it ends up in the food". That's how I cook anyway...

                    1. re: asiansensation007

                      When I was looking for a recipe that approximated the mall food experience, I saw just as many recipes that lacked bourbon as well as ones that included it. I thought it was a safe bet that the stand at the mall *wasn't* using it, and went that route.

                      But cosmogrrl is right. I make sure to buy the bourbon anyway.

                2. re: onceadaylily

                  I ALWAYS bought Kikkoman andconsidered it the best soy sauce on the market till I too had to downgrade, I bought a bottle of "Blue Dragon" at about half the price and it turned out to be BETTER!!! Sweeter and smokier, which I like. Won't go back even after the recession!!

          2. I'm so used to watching the pennies, and so close to retirement (talking Social Security and tiny 401K), that I wonder if I'll ever splurge again! Well at least I have my memories. It would be nice to just go out to eat at a medium priced restaurant maybe once a month or so. And I'm working three jobs right now!

            2 Replies
            1. re: coll

              coll -
              I am in a similar boat -"retired" from my career, holding two low pay jobs, small pension etc. I find that I can go to nice restaurants more often if I just order what I want. For example, I frequently just have an appetizer and soup or salad. I have always enjoyed appetizers more that the mains in any case. A month or so ago a visiting friend and I went to a nearby semi-upscale place for brunch because we both love the house cured bacon. Instead of ordering a $20 brunch we both got a side order of bacon and a muffin. It was exactly what we wanted (BACON!) and about $7 each. I find this strategy allows me to go out more often and I am enjoying it more!

              1. re: Fiona

                Well that's a good idea, and the restaurants are happy to have anyone dining with them anymore. So I will keep this in mind, and plan some future expeditions. I've been trying to do just take out to save some money.

            2. Two things come to mind first:

              1. Fresh parm.
              2. (Assuming I can get over how angry I am about the current price of deli items) some decent roast beef and assorted cheeses.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Bryan Pepperseed

                We found out slightly belatedly that we qualify for food assistance, and we had been living off of my salary alone for a while (my husband's unemployment ran out), so even though I understand the economics work differently, psychologically it seemed like "found food money." We didn't go nuts (far from it), but that first shopping trip included fresh parm (which was on sale, fortuitously) and good roast beef. (The only other "splurge" item we bought were Muir Glen tomatoes.)

              2. Yeah, me too. I got laid off last year. We used to go out to eat a lot more.

                I just had a promising interview, and I allowed myself to start dreaming about remodeling the kitchen! We'd get new cabinets, vertrazzo countertops, and get rid of the hole in the middle of the floor (it's covered by plywood).

                We would probably go back to Europe to eat.

                Good luck with everyone's interviews. I wish you all the best.