When we embarked on our kitchen renovation, there was the desirable revelation that with no means of cooking, we would have no other choice but to feed off takeouts, everyday, for a week. The notion was exciting and thrilling. There was something that felt so indulgent but it was also totally ok, because we were left with no other choice, right?
We chose our first one wisely – a selection of everything from Bundobust. We didn’t even go for our usual, safe, value for money option ‘combo for two’, we went freestyle. We ordered whatever we wanted. We splashed the cash. We had no kitchen. When it arrived we had beers chilling and fingers poised on the Netflix play button. We ate until our bellies comfortably expanded, carrying all the extra food like full shopping bags.
The next day my boyfriend asked me, ‘What takeout shall we get tonight then?’ and I paused. Another one. So soon. It was Monday. The grease (and not to forget alcohol) was still recklessly flowing through my bloodstream from the night before. I felt a duty to sweat it out more, to just start running around a park or bite into some raw veg.
This time it was pumpkin katsu curry and gyoza from Senbon. More Netflix. I bought impromptu prosecco. It wasn’t even Tuesday. What we were celebrating I wasn’t sure but we were getting takeout and it wasn’t the weekend. My body was confused when I woke up the next day and there was still a whole working week left.
It was day three and we’d already cracked. I can’t take another one – you’ve only had two – I just can’t, I don’t remember what fruit looks like anymore. Our skin was breaking out and our brains were fuzzy. We moved onto the next best thing: M&S ready meals.
The kitchen was still being built but the microwave was up and running. I desperately scanned the shelves for something green and realised very quickly that the world of ready meals involved lasagne and pie. Vegetable pasta bake with a side of peas covered in butter would have to do.
By now, we were tired. With no kettle we hadn’t had our hit of caffeine all week, instead, an endless cycle of lukewarm, carb-heavy meals. The next day I made the same trek to M&S this time for a selection of vegetable curry side dishes, pilau rice and (soggy) samosas, which specifically said on pack do not put in the microwave (I put them in the microwave).
The day after this we threw in the towel once more. My new food group was inhaling dust from the building site that once represented our former kitchen. I wasn’t dressed, it was raining, so we got takeout again. Our treat for having to walk to M&S two nights in a row. Yasai cha han (rice packed with so much veg), chicken gyoza, veggie spring rolls and more beer from Fuji Hiro. I was now making conscious healthy choices when it came to sustaining my new lifestyle.
The first meal we made in our new kitchen was a burnt aubergine chilli (veggie) brimming with lentils and beans, with brown rice and avocado. The following week I made sure to force feed myself grapes, even when I really just wanted a bag of crisps. Our week of unlimited takeouts, a kitchen renovation and justifying that £10 was ok to spend on a ready meal was over and it was time to start crying over my bank balance.