Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas with the dawg

I had thought that I was going to be spending a quiet Christmas alone in the mountains. I've been feeling Mom's absence more intensely this year than last year, so I had planned to drive up into the Shenandoahs and spend some time alone at an overlook, contemplating the great valley and its winding river.

As things have turned out, however, I'm spending Christmas alone with Maqz, my brother Sean's chihuahua, as I house-sit for Sean in Alexandria. This works, too; I'll hang quietly with the dawg, maybe take him for a walk in our preternaturally mild weather, and watch all the TV I've been missing. Christmas Day is also likely to be a massive laundry day for me; I've got a New Year's guest, and need to wash the linens for the guest bed, which was occupied not long ago. I've brought over to Sean's place both my normal load of clothes and two sets of bed linens. I hope Sean won't mind that I'm putting his washer and dryer through their paces.

Because I'm house-sitting for several days, I had to make sure my own place was in order before leaving. Specifically, I had to undertake a marathon cooking session so that all the highly perishable ingredients in my fridge were prepped in such a way that they wouldn't be rotten by the time I returned. To that end, I made three kinds of soup. You've already seen the budae-jjigae; in addition to that, I made spicy kongnamul-guk (not my photo) and chamchi-jjigae (tuna stew; sample photo-- again, not of my cooking-- here). In the process, I managed to use up all my extra vegetables. The two jjigae have been containerized in small Ziploc freezer bags, one serving per bag, and the kongnamul-guk has been placed in large plastic containers, giving me over two weeks' worth of nutritious soup. I had spent $90 on those groceries; it's nice to know that they've been made to last even longer than my anticipated three weeks.

So I've got homemade soup to look forward to when I'm back at my place: eight packets of chamchi-jjigae, seven packets of budae-jjigae, and another eight or nine servings of kongnamul-guk. I'm sure I'll be jonesing for bread and cheese and chocolate while I'm plowing my way through the soups, but you can't argue with the money I'll be saving: $90 divided over 23 days is less than $4 per day. I've also got extra ddeok with which to supplement each serving of soup, not to mention rice. Each meal will be like two meals, which makes each meal less than $2. Why am I not hosting a Food Network show, eh?

So that's my holiday: celebrate with the chihuahua and come home to wholesome soup. In the meantime, I wish all my readers a Merry (and mindful!) Christmas. Peace.



hahnak said...

id watch your show. hell, i already do, in a way! nice job on being frugal! i need to freeze more soups (ps you do know if you freeze soups, dont freeze soups with potato in it. the potatoes dont usually survive well). as for craving bread and cheese and chocolate. theres no reason not to have that stuff since your food is frozen. just curious but what kinds of cheese and bread a chocolate do you eat? we have been enjoying homemade danish rye bread lately (just learned how) and have been eating our way through plenty of good cheeses (mostly goudas and cheddars). im a milk chocolate fiend. the darker the better. but it needs some milk for me.

anyway. what you need to do is host your own weekly (or monthly) virginian public access cable show ala wayne.

merry christmas, kevin!

John said...

Wishing you all the best Kevin!

Jason said...


Hope you had a good Christmas. I always enjoy reading about your culinary adventures!