What I eat at home


Among the questions I’m most frequently asked when people find out about my job is “what do you eat at home?” Next, when they find out that my husband is also a chef, I get asked “who cooks at home?”

The truth is that on weekdays, I spend all day long working at a test kitchen where I literally have to taste food whether I’m hungry, like that food or hate it. It’s my job and it’s usually a pleasure; however, it means that it’s almost impossible to tell you about my typical menu. Some days I come home having eaten nothing but chocolate cake all day and only want a salad. Then, on other days I come home after eating veggies all day and cook just meat and potatoes. Likewise, five days out of seven, Martin is cooking at the restaurant during family mealtime so the cooking falls to me.

Then there’s Sunday, that glorious seventh day of the week, when we’re both at home and we eat what we want, when we want. Finally a day when I can catalogue our true eating and cooking habits. So, if you’re one of the people who has pondered what chefs eat and how they cook at home, here’s an account of how I ate last Sunday:

9 a.m. a non-fat latte

10:30 a.m. a banana

12:30 pm Lunch out at Panera with Martin while Oliver hangs out at home playing video games (we get him a takeout sandwich). I order the sandwich and soup combo: frontega pulled chicken panini and tomato soup. It’s Martin’s first time eating at Panera and he declares the side of baguette that accompanies his sandwich ‘curious’ but eats it anyway.

3 p.m. Small square of a homemade brownie lingering on the counter just waiting (almost begging – it was rather wanton in truth) to be eaten.

5:30 p.m. Lobster (cooked and shelled by Martin) and a salad (made by me) that contains roasted beet, avocado, cucumber, tomatoes and mâchâ tossed with lemony dill dressing and accompanied by a glass of sauvignon blanc.

7 pm Kit Kat single from my secret stash hidden in the refrigerator butter keeper.

10:30 pm After I get home from humiliating myself at house league tennis, Martin and I split a consoling Cameron’s Auburn Ale and nosh on a few slices of his homemade, dry-cured fennel sausage, a wedge of aged Cheddar, and a few baby dills.

There you have it. That’s how I eat when left to my own devices. How about you? Do your eating and cooking habits follow a pattern? Or is it a different situation every day?


16 Responses to What I eat at home

  1. Rosa says:

    Mmmhh, lobster and salad! That sounds terrific! I’d love to work in a test kitchen!



  2. Like you, I start the day with a latte (mine has 2% milk) and don’t eat until about 10:30. Then it’s fruit, yogurt and granola. After that? All hell breaks loose. We’ve no schedule whatsoever. No kids and two people working on contracts makes for a wild ride.

    If I’m blogging about recipes then we eat what I cook, which is good if I’m doing mains and bad if I’m on a dessert kick. I try to ensure we have a solid dinner of protein and veggies but lunch is a crap shoot and often forgotten (I write this hanging my head in shame…)

    Oh, and my chocolate stash is dark chocolate with ginger or orange and almond slivers.

    Thanks for the confession.

  3. danamccauley says:

    Char, re your chocolate stash….I want to go to there!

  4. Barb says:

    Monay through Friday I try very hard to have threee healthy “squares” a day with at least one maybe two healthy snacks. When I say “healthy” I still mean “good”. Saturday and Sunday are pretty much unstructured, however, on Sunday I try to prepare something I can take for lunch during the week. Like soup or a hardy salad I can add to. If I don’t get to doing that Monday to Friday fall apart a bit!

  5. Amanda Laird says:

    I love hearing about how other people eat. During the week, I’m at a desk and I eat three square meals. Breakfast usually contains fruit and yogurt, sometimes as a smoothie or with homemade granola. Lunch is salad and dinner is something fast and easy I can make when I get home. On the weekends, I generally eat only two meals; brunch and dinner and I try to cook more interesting, time and labour intensive things I can’t be bothered with when I’m tired and hungry after work. I cook a lot on the weekends and then spend the week writing about it on my blog and dreaming about next weekend, when I’m back to salads!

  6. Dana, this is great. Beautiful salad. Did you son eat it, too? My daily menu is dictated by my work schedule: recipe testing results, ingredient leftovers. Plus whether or not I have to cook something according to husband’s training schedule (carbs, protein, etc.). I love ‘from scratch’ days when I get to make what I really feel like making!

  7. danamccauley says:

    Yes, Oliver hunkered down on the salad but he’s not a lobster fan so he had a hot dog for his protein. He is a kid after all!

  8. Diva says:

    I’m endlessly fascinated by what and how people eat … so thanks for the window into your personal table, Dana. Love this post!

    I’m a pretty routine eater … yogurt mixed with nuts and some tea for breakfast; salad, soups or leftovers for lunch, and lean protein and veggies for dinner. That said our dinner schedule can be complex because I never know how late the husband will work and we often have social obligations in the evenings … so some nights it catch as catch can. Weekends can be difficult as well – but by far my favorite thing to do is devote all of Saturday or Sunday to shopping and cooking at home!

  9. I live alone so have no one to feed but myself. I generally don’t plan meal times, but rather eat when I’m hungry. It’s pretty consistent during the week:

    I graze breakfast (oatmeal, fruit or smoothie) over the course of the morning.

    I eat lunch between 1 and 3, usually a salad when I get hungry. I don’t understand the definitive “12-1pm lunch time” mentality and surmise that it’s a pattern ingrained in humanity since the industrial revolution when factory workers had set breaks. On the other hand, when I have eaten an actual breakfast earlier – or no breakfast at all – I am hungry by noon so maybe it’s just the fact that by then, breakfast has digested and it’s time to eat again. (There’s an interesting study.)

    Dinner is whenever I feel like it. If I feel peckish after work I’ll have a snack but either not be hungry until really late or not want dinner at all.

    On the weekend I eat whenever. I find that if I go for Sunday brunch I tend to not eat for the rest of the day.

    My appetite fluctuates.

  10. Kevin says:

    I pickup my groceries on Saturday morning and then do some serious cooking for the rest of the weekend. Ideally by the end of the weekend (or Monday night at the latest) my fridge is full of ziplock containers with pre-portioned meals of leftovers for the rest of the week. Add to that some fresh fruit and salads and my weekday meals are all taken care of.

  11. danamccauley says:

    Kevin, you are the epitome of efficiency! I’m impressed.

    Canadianfoodiegirl, no wonder your so slim!

    Diva, I think I want to be you.

  12. Natashya says:

    We are different every day. I wouldn’t mind tasting food for a living though!

  13. H.Peter says:

    In our house we split the cooking pretty much down the middle. First one home preps dinner.

    We both lunch outside the house mostly, Victoria at the bakery, me all over the place.

  14. dinnerwithjulie says:

    Like you, it often relates to work. Not complaining! Our meals out have gone down to a mere trickle as parents of a three year old… you can leave them home alone to play video games when they’re five, right?

  15. Mike Laba says:

    You have very good taste in beer.

    Great meeting you last night at Toronto Taste.

    All the best and I hope to run into you guys again soon.



  16. danamccauley says:

    Mike – no longer Jason – also lovely to meet you at Toronto Taste.

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