Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day 8 - Value Eating on 01/27/10

Over the last couple of days I received comments indicating that my “Value Eating” can easily be misinterpreted as “discount diet”. So before calculating today’s expenses, I want to stress that this project is not focused on how to eat well on a tight budget. Rather the opposite, it is about keeping track of how much indulging in artisan, sustainable, local, farm fresh foods actually costs.

And today was the best example for that: I had a craving for a nice fish fillet, pan-fried in olive oil, with some freshly sautéed kale. Getting the kale was easy, thanks to the really nice organic grocery coop I have around the corner. Fish was less so. I mean, you would think with all the water in front of our doorstep, there should be some fresh fish available. Wrong! I walked an hour from my fairly central Chicago home to get to a fishmonger, but it was worth every step. Such a great selection of fresh fish, carefully selected for sustainable fishing methods. Of course, a nice glass of white wine makes the experience even more wonderful, so I got a bottle of Pinot Gris from a small biodynamic vineyard in Alsace: Domaine Martin Schaetzel. And cause all that walking had worked up an appetite, I got a small serving of smoked salmon spread as an appetizer. Food cost for this very delicious meal (for which I made a point to clearing my table of all papers and work and setting it nicely with the little stuff I have available after my thrift shop spree):
¼ organic artisan baguette 75c, salmon spread 1.75$, ½ organic onion 40c, 0.7lb organic kale 1.50$, 3 tbsp olive oil for fish and kale: 75c, fish fillet: 4.5$, salt & pepper: 4c, 1 glass Pinot Gris (2cl): 4$ = 13.69$

Other food expenses for the day: Fabio’s & Nicoletta’s Polenta from The Scrumptious Pantry (80c) for brunch with ½ cup Kilgus milk (15c) and ½ pear & apple each (50c) = 1.45$

Late evening unwinder: organic roisbusch tea with chai spices, I boiled 15c of loose tea in a pot of water that lasted me about four cups.

Total food cost for today: 15.29$

Another very interesting comment from a reader (thank you, Natalie) was that the food budget share on available income for an average American family is between 9-14%, considering 50% at home consumption and 50%”away” (which we assume includes school lunches and the afternoon triple-moccha-pumpkin-americano-with-low-fat-whipped- cream), whereas based on last weeks expenditures I was on a 18% food share (if I were a four person household with average income). That seems to be quiet a sharp difference – it will be very interesting to see how numbers develop over the 90 days! As a learning from this comment, starting from today I will now also include “away” costs if I occur any (like restaurant meals, I doubt though I will make the 50% mark cause I prefer to take homemade sandwiches with me rather than stopping at some place for lunch)

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