Thanks for all the recipes and books! I need to step away from moderation for the next few days due to some work deadlines and can’t pay attention to the spam queue, so am closing comments. We’ll do another one of these sometime soon. 

In the meantime, work on finding us a rich benefactor so we can throw a legendary potluck.


Hello, Awkwardeers!

How are you? It is Friday. I am grading final projects. Let’s have an open thread!

Inspired by madgastronomer’s recent sharing of a key lime pie recipe, if you feel inclined, please share a recipe that you love to make.

Ground Rules: If you read the recipe and it contains something you hate, don’t eat, or can’t eat, it would be great if you just skipped over the comment completely without comment. You can ask about substitutions, but no “Ew” or “It sounds awesome except for x ingredient, which is the food of Satan” or “well, I’m allergic so I can’t” or “Not everyone can afford to shop at Whole Paycheck.” Chances are that you’re not going to make whatever it is anyway, and those comments are just a downer for the person who shared it in the first place. Also, there will be zero diet-talk, discussion of calories, weight loss, relative healthfulness, “sinfulness,” shame, moralizing, or guilt. We can do this, I think.

If you also feel so inclined, I’d also love to know what you are reading these days that you love.


I am about 3/4 way through Swamplandia! and loving it so far. I’ve been reading a ton of Connie Willis & Octavia Butler, also.

Foodwise, I am hoping the farmer’s market has asparagus tomorrow, so I can go back to this for breakfast.

This is a standby cheap & healthy dinner, though my solo-dinner making has resembled this more often than not of late. If you make the broccoli/chickpea/tomato thing, one secret thing I figured out thanks to SweetMachineSP is that if you roast the chickpeas & broccoli (toss with olive oil, salt, and your choice of spices, spread out on a cookie sheet, roast at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-40 minutes) instead of steaming it takes it to eleven.

Happy reading & eating! Happy graduation to my former students, I am proud of you! And happy weekend!

You guys!  An actual question from an actual real-life reader!

Nicole Holofcener's Friends With Money

Nicole Holofcener's Friend With Money

Dear Captain Awkward:

I don’t have a lot of money (like, in debt right now?) but friends keep inviting me to eat out with them.  Sometimes these people are from out of town; sometimes I am going to meet someone for lunch near their office, and it’s 10 below; etc.  It’s important to me to spend time with my friends; how can I do this and also not spend a lot of money?  Can I just always order the soup, or will they feel awkward?

This is a subject that unfortunately Captain Awkward can personally relate to.   Those $8.00 sandwiches at that charming cafe near your friend’s office and that $15.00 tagine at the cute Algerian place with out-of-town friends can really add up. And then you miss the last bus home and it’s late and you take a cab and $15.00 became $30, and the cab wasn’t a stupid decision because your safety is more important than money, but now you’re eating peanut butter and jelly for a week.  Or you order the soup and your friends order a dinner and a bottle of wine and then there’s that horrible moment when it’s time to pay the check and you don’t want to be That Guy so you fork over $20 anyway.

First, I want to give yourself permission to be poor.  There’s a big taboo in American culture around admitting that you don’t have quite enough money.  We’re all faking it until we make it.   Stop faking it.  Just be honest with yourself about your financial situation – you’re working hard, you’re digging yourself out of debt, and you need to be really careful with money for the time being.  You have nothing to be ashamed of, and in this economy you are far from alone.

Second, I want you repeat this to yourself.  Your friends just want to see you and have a good time.  If they knew their invitations were causing you anxiety, they’d either offer to pay your way or suggest something different. That weird cocktail of shame and deprivation you’re feeling when you weigh whether you can really afford that Pad Thai on Friday?  Sadly, I know all too much about that, but your friends don’t know.

Now I have a few strategies for you. Read More