I Have Lost The Ability to Cook

December 5th, 2007 by Potato

I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I seem to have lost the ability to cook recently. I tried making tomato soup last week. I made it the same way I do every time: can of Campbell’s tomato soup concentrate, a can of milk. Stir, heat, add oregano and basil, enjoy. Except along the way I curdled the milk somehow, turning it into threads of cheese in the soup. Ewww. Then this week, with a new carton of milk, I gave it another go, and did the same thing. I figured it was just tomato soup, so I tried Kraft Dinner: gross. I don’t know what went wrong exactly, but the whole thing just tasted terrible. Maybe the milk’s bad, even in the new carton, I figure, so I make a batch of pasta instead… ok, that was edible, but not really very good.

Then, just after blogging about how I have magical “innate frugal budgeting skills” I pull out the receipts from the last two months and crunch the numbers to see how close we came to being on-budget. For a total household budget of ~$2800/mo* (it’s not that exact; generally we aim for $2500, and don’t panic as long as it’s not over $3000), we managed to come damned close to breaking $4000 in October. There are of course a number of extenuating circumstances: there were a lot of sales on things that we stocked up on (hello, Coke through to next spring; ah, Halloween candy, my old love…), and being Halloween we managed to buy over $100 worth of decorations, spent $200 on our costumes, and something like $50 on food for the party. Plus I got new tires for my car, and we went out for dinner every week through the month (3 separate special occasions fall in October, so that’s only one or two random date night or meet friends eat-outs). While I don’t have the hydro or gas bill for November yet, assuming they’re the same as October then November will come in about $450 under budget (we only ate out once, I was sick, so we only drove to Toronto once, and we had a lot of groceries stocked up after October). Of course, December is going to be rough because of the gift budget… and the summer months were slightly over due to our Ottawa and cottage trips. Maybe I’ll need to get back to budgeting basics for the new year!

So today I’m feeling kind of dumb for losing the ability to do such basic things that came so naturally to me for so long…

* – just for the curious, we don’t actually live on $2800/mo. There are a few things, such as gifts and my curling membership, that through lack of a receipt or just plain forgetfulness never seem to make it into the budget reports. Those probably add $1000 or so for the year. Plus my parents help out a fair bit: we’re on the family’s car insurance, so my dad pays for that (which I’m told is very cheap for a car stationed in London), my dad pays for any dental work not covered by my insurance (and with two crowns this year, that is most welcome!), my dad says “take Wayfare somewhere nice” and will pay for a restaurant meal for us (which I tried to refuse at first, but hey, he’s got the stubbornness gene in full-force, whereas I only got one allele). That’s not even counting all the little things, like “borrowing” vacuum bags or movies from the ‘rents (I haven’t bought a DVD in 16 months). If I had to guess, I’d say our actual monthly budgets would come out closer to $3300 if we were really out on our own.

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