Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Beating the Delivery Boy (and other ways to avoid ordering in)

Does the clinkity-click of bicycle locks outside your window make your heart race and your mouth water? When you hear it, do you instinctively say, "Food's here!" even though you didn't order from anywhere? Does your cutlery drawer have more plastic than metal silverware? If you've answered yes to any of the above, you might be a candidate for delivery detox. Believe me when I say that ordering delivery in this house had all the textbook signs of addiction.

Here's how we're just keeping our local dealers at bay:

1 - Set a limit

If you're going to order in (and enjoy a break from cooking), set a limit and stick to it. Once a week, twice a week - whatever you're comfortable with.

2 - Make a Plan
...and follow through. (ed. That's what Brian Boitanno would do). The weeks that we plan a menu are the weeks that we don't order in. Just knowing what you're going to have for dinner strikes out that dreaded phase: "I don't know? What do you want for dinner." The opposite is also true - weeks without menus are typically dotted with delivery dinners.

3 - Buy Ahead
Having good food in the house helps avoid menu temptation. Make sure the items are in your house the day before you need them. That way if you don't make it to the store you don't run into the the problem from #2.

4 - Destroy the Evidence
In what might be the boldest move, we've trashed those menus! That's right, pitched the whole collection. Ditch your favorites and even the one for that Thai place that closed years ago. (What, it's closed??) If you have the restaurants on speed dial or programmed into your cell phone (it's handy to call when you get out of the train then you can meet the delivery man at the door, right?) - time to delete them. After all, should the Chirpin' Chicken really get priority over your mom?

5 - Beat the Delivery Boy (um, "beat" as in "be faster than"...)
We've had a few times when we've had to wait nearly an hour for the delivery boy. What was supposed to be a quick solution to hunger turns us into zombies at about the 30 minute mark. Don't be afraid to do easy -- grilled cheese sandwiches and a can of tomato soup, Eggs and toast and jam, or a freezer dinner. It's amazing how quickly you can get some sort of dinner on the table when you make the decision to cook.

6 - Have a Contingency Plan
One of the last home dinners where we didn't cook was picking up a rotisserie chicken and some roasted veggies at Fairway. It wasn't free but it was cheaper than ordering from just about anywhere. It was also nice to know roughly what was in our food. If you know you're not going to be able to cook anything, it might be worth checking out the hot food options at your local supermarket.

Photo by Columbia (during the long days and sleepless nights after Pumpkin's homecoming)

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