Sunday, March 15, 2009

I Spent $57.66 at the grocery store

I recently found a blog, called Less is Enough, written by a woman who normally spends $90.00 a month on food. Last month she conducted an experiment to see if she could actually live on a dollar a day.

And she can, quite easily. I think I could too, if I made that my priority. Really, I could just live on brown rice, cabbage, orange juice and beans and I would save a bundle. I wish I were that disciplined. The catch is, I have this inner hunger artist, who demands variety, sugar and recipes with "names." Why do we focus on recipes? Who eats "tomato-bacon-wheat," or "bread, tuna, onion, oil" ? We eat Spaghetti Carbonara or, Pan bagnat, or Singapore Noodles, or Pad Thai, because our food is more than just a collection of edible ingredients, its a story. And why do we insist on eating food stories, instead of just an ounce of this and a cup of that? After all, this woman's $30.00 a month experiment shows just how much you could save if you skipped the story, and just viewed food as a carrot, some rice, and a piece of chicken meat. I think the "stories," i.e. recipes, evolved over time to help people remember to include micro nutrients in their diet. Pan bagnat isn't just a reminder: eat oily tuna, don't forget bread. It's a story that says mix tuna with capers, vinegar, onion, garlic, black olives, layer on arugula, let it chill, because that tasted good the last time we did it. And these micro nutrients are just a collection that tasted good, and which made the body say, "ah, I needed that dose of calcium with my B12. Brain, remember that combination. Maybe give it a name."

Anyway, that's my excuse why I spent $57.66 on:

Barefoot Merlot wine $6.00, Canned salmon $2.84, frozen peas $1.29, imported tuna $3.66, eggs $2.19, Grey Poupon Mustard $3.29, mozzarella cheese $1.99, ricotta $1.99, frozen fruit mix $3.99, 2 boxes of Pastene brand pasta $4.38, Omega 3 spread $2.69, shallots $1.79, celery $1.99, basil $2.29, organic carrots $2.99, 2 portabello mushrooms $2.59, shiitake mushrooms $3.99, whole wheat rolls $1.99, paper towel $1.79.

My plan is to make salmon burgers, portabello burgers, a creamy pasta broccoli dish (with broccoli from last week), a pasta primevera dish (cold pasta salad with the tuna ) and to get drunk. (just kidding.)


  1. Salmon patties and tuna burgers... two favorite dinners from my childhood :) I recently read that it is best to eat the bones that you'll find in canned salmon as they contain some nutrients that are good for you. Of course, I can't find where I read that so please don't take my word for it!

  2. Ok, why am I not learning from you?
    If you knew how much $ I spent on groceries this week, you would smack me!
    I went to Trader Joe's, my regular market and an Hispanic market for great cheap produce and beans, when I got home, I realized how much I spent and I couldn't believe it!
    I am going to be more careful from now on.
    You are my inspiration!

  3. Ah, salmon patties. Grew up eating them. I still eat them. I managed, after about 10 years, to win over my husband too.

    Love the blog!