My husband has been working some out of New York City and staying in a corporate apartment when he’s there. We went to visit him during Christmas break and while the apartment was perfectly lovely, I couldn’t believe how little he had in his cupboards and refrigerator. It was truly a bachelor’s apartment.
He had some milk, eggs, cheese, bread, peanut butter, grapes, lettuce, some cold cuts and some spreadable butter but that was pretty much it. What in the heck had he been eating? Was he going out or just not eating at all? (He said the office kept having parties and he was living off of that.)
When he first started staying at the apartment, I had him show me via Facetime what I would have to work with in the kitchen when we visited. There was one fry pan, three pots, one brownie pan, the top to a broiler pan but no under part. There was a coffee maker. The apartment only had five sets of cutlery – we needed six because Michael’s brother was also joining us. The knives were sub par. So I packed my favorite knife, a cutting board, a set of cutlery, my favorite coffee and photocopied favorite recipes before leaving.
I shoved into my overstuffed luggage new cozy slippers for him and books to read. I tried to fit in a throw blanket but didn’t have the space.
When we arrived in the city, I hit the grocery store around the corner and stocked up on essentials for cold weather — tomato soup, good sourdough bread for grilled cheese sandwiches, pasta, hot cocoa with marshmallows, and lots of fruit. The only catch is that in New York, you have to be able to carry what you buy. (They do have delivery service for groceries for an extra $5 but I like the challenge of lugging it all home.)
I bought tin foil and disposable foil pans to roast in. With the foil I could turn the broiler pan into a workable cookie sheet for Christmas cookies and rolls and biscuits. I bought pre-made manicotti, added sauce and cheese for a lovely pasta bake with friends after a cold day visiting the Statue of Liberty. I bought a spiral-sliced ham with a pre-made glaze and baked that for Christmas Eve and for sandwiches. I used the ham for breakfast too in cheese biscuits. Then did roast beef two nights later, which lasted several days. I made mashed potatoes several nights with the spreadable butter and half-and-half that I used for coffee.
I left him with a full cupboard, leftover roast beef and even got him a shopper’s discount card at the local grocery store for when he’s there.
Even staying for just 12 days, I felt the need to make the apartment home, why didn’t he? Are women hard-wired to homemake or is this just me? When you go into a new home environment – like a condo for vacation – do you want to make it homey or is that different than the holidays? Or is it all about having food in the house for kids?