On the old blog, I sometimes posted what I was eating that week, with a focus on dinner. The point was to show the variety of food that my husband and I cook and eat, and to put a price tag on those meals.
The cost of food in America is something that plays a role in how and what we consume. It is simultaneously cheap and out of reach, depending on what you wish to buy, where you wish to buy it and what resources you have for making those purchases. The huge obsession with “organic” food in the last decade has done the double disservice of jacking up the price of fruits and vegetables while at the same time calling into question the safety of eating cheaper produce that doesn’t have the organic appellation. Your vegetables don’t count, evidently, unless they are purchased for top dollar at Whole Foods.
So, here’s what’s cooking at Casa Anglachel this week.
|Weekday||Main dish||Shopping list|
|Sunday||Grilled Flap Steak||Serve with salsa, tortillas, onions, peppers, roasted corn|
|Monday||Indian Spice Baked Chicken||Chicken thighs, spices, oil; serve with mint rice & zucchini|
|Wednesday||Mixed Dal Palak||Lentils, mung dal, chana dal, butter, ginger, spinach, spices, onion, tomato; serve over plain rice|
|Thursday||Tomato Lentil Soup||From freezer; serve with bread, roasted carrots and kale|
|Friday||Fish in tomato sauce||Olive oil, garlic, spices, tomatoes, saffron, orange zest, Arborio rice, firm white fish|
|Saturday||Spicy Southwestern Tabbouleh||Bulgur, chickpeas, olive oil, cilantro, onion, tomato, scallions, bell pepper, cucumber, feta, jalapeno, spices|
The shopping list column just identifies the main ingredients I may or may not have to purchase on my weekly shopping run, depending on what’s in the pantry. I leave it so you have an idea of what goes into the dish. There’s meat in three dishes during the week, plus my husband had a sandwich made with the leftover grilled flap steak on Tuesdays – that’s the cost in the table below. I was at a meeting and had pizza provided by the host. The dal and the lentil soup are legume based, while the tabbouleh has feta cheese for the protein.
The costs breakout this way:
|Grilled Flap Steak||2||$7.45||$3.73|
|Indian Spice Baked Chicken||3||$3.74||$1.25|
|Mixed Dal Palak||4||$3.98||$1.00|
|Tomato Lentil Soup||2||$4.00||$2.00|
|Fish in tomato sauce||4||$9.03||$2.26|
|Spicy Southwestern Tabbouleh||4||$5.97||$1.49|
- The serving costs include any side dishes, bread or condiments served with the main course.
- The lentil soup is leftovers from the freezer, and costs $1.11 per serving. The rest of the cost is mostly the bunch of kale I’m braising to go with it. Kale is damn expensive.
- The leftover Dal and fish dishes will be turned into lunches over the weekend. The extra tabbouleh will probably be a leftover meal in the coming week.
- The beef and the fish are expensive ingredients, but the chicken was only about $0.30 per serving.
- Half of the cost of the Dal is the bag of spinach that goes into it. It costs as much as all of the lentils, spices, vegetables and rice combined.
The weekly cost of dinner, including servings that will be consumed at a later date, is $35.49, with a per serving average of $1.77. This feeds two adults for about $3.50 per day. That’s a manageable amount for most households, though would be a stretch for a family living in poverty. In that case, the weekly amount I spent – $35.49 – is the basically the budget for each person for the entire month. I’ll show the math on that in another post.
Edit – Updated the Southwestern Tabbouleh to include chickpeas, so an overall increase of $0.79.