$7 a Day??

Via Glenn Reynolds, things like eating on $7 a day articles really get me going. There are five of us here. That would be $245 a week! Luxury! Riches! We can afford about $100 a week

, for somewhat tortured values of “afford.” Call it maybe $3 a day, then, for a person. So lucky that three of them are kids, though they’ve become a challenge to afford to feed despite their size and bodily non-fussiness about what they’ll turn into fuel and additional mass and height.

What that means is not cauliflower, not much Trader Joe’s (though that’s a good place for allergy friendly food, a part of the challenge of eating cheap I won’t even get into here)

, not a lot of fresh food, and devotion of more time than might otherwise be the case.

It means you buy certain things in bulk, which costs up front but extends your stocks later. It means less variety than might be the case. It means paying attention to sales or who has what at everyday best prices , but balancing that against gas and time required to go farther rather than nearer for a given thing or three.

You want inexpensive? Rice. Dry pinto beans. Flour. Store brand old-fashioned oatmeal. Dry lentils and peas. Generic goods from the store with the best unit price, based in part on what it is and how well it will feed the kids. Cheap meat. Cheap pasta. Cheap sandwich bread. Lots of sandwiches. Tuna as somewhat of a luxury, for variety.

It means you sweat over the price of cheese, but cheese is a staple, an ingredient in or centerpiece of so many meals, you can’t do without readily. Cheap means a pot of chili made with dry pinto beans and beef that was on sale for $1.99/lb. Cheap means burritos made with flour tortillas you made yourself for a fraction of the store bought cost, refried beans you made yourself, rice, maybe some corn, the cheapest meat you could get, some cheese, and sour cream at the best price you can find. Now, in reality convenience wins much of the time, even here, so it’s canned refried beans most of the time, and even store bought tortillas, though homemade are better (whereas I’ve never made refried beans as good as our favorite store brand). Burritos are a good cheap eat, as they are filling and can stretch meat and cheese further than some dishes. Pasta stretches food, too.

Yes, some of this is not as good for you as other things, but the lower you can go on some items, the more you can afford healthier items and treats.

There are some surprises. Making your own bread doesn’t save all that much. It’s just yummier. Potatoes are relatively expensive. A batch of mashed potatoes takes 5 lbs and will leave only a little left over. It’s the allergy boy’s favorite food in the world, but is mostly supplanted by rice.

It’s hard when you need to buy spices, but those are necessary for making the food tasty and interesting, and represent a low cost per meal in the long run. When we got food stamps for a year, it felt like we were swimming in grocery money. The kids were smaller, and I couldn’t use the entire $400-odd in a month, even splurging. While I buy all the 99 cent spices I can, some aren’t available that way, and food stamps made that easier. Then they sort of jerked us around and kept us off of them, which has been tough at times, and gotten worse as our income fluctuated back down. We probably qualify for a couple hundred a month, and I’m waiting to hear on our latest attempt to bother applying. Having any self-employment income means you may almost as well not bother. But I digress.

The point is, $7 a day may not be up to the standards people of means are used to, but it’s actually a substantial amount of grocery money. Thus I find these challenges amusing, or even disturbing, because they seem so unserious compared to the reality out here.

Foodie Quiz – Sounds About Right


You Are a Part-time Foodie

Food is definitely something you get excited about. You love to eat!
And while each meal you have may not be extremely special , you try to spice things up a bit.

You aren’t a very picky eater, and you’re always looking to expand what you like.
You are willing to give almost anything a go, and you’re quite the creative cook.

Shopping Stereotype

An appropriate Blogthings quiz for this place!


Your Shopping Stereotype is Economical

Cheap. Thrifty. Frugal. These are all word that you can (and likely do) use to describe your shopping style.
Why pay top dollar when you can get a bargain? You love to save money

, and you’re really quite good at it too.

You’re most likely to be found shopping in discount stores, but you also know how to rock the clearance rack at top end places.
People are always complementing you on your finds, and they can’t believe how cheaply you get everything.

Sorry Parsley, Sage and Thyme

Amazingly appropriate, considering the quantity of rosemary I use.

You Are Rosemary

You are stable and grounded. You may take a slow, steady approach to live, but you’re a survivor.
You are an intellectual and very rational. You can see things from a logical, detached viewpoint.

You are successful but not particularly ambitious. You have a way of letting success come to you.
You tend to be a bit understated and modest. You let your accomplishments speak for themselves.

Blog Quiz Appropriate to a Food Blog

You Are Pinot Gris

More hip than most, you spot trends before they even really get started.
If something is new and unique, you know about it… and you’ve probably tried it.
You have a good number of projects, interests, and relationships – but they are all fleeting.
, you can’t help but seek variety.

Deep down you are: A true flirt

Your partying style: Exclusive. You only party with people you’ve personally selected.

Your company is enjoyed best with: A big bowl of pasta

Wines would be one of my weaknesses in being a real chef. The knowledge? It is minimal.

Tomato Soup

Sadie today decided that grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup sounded good for lunch, and she was right. That inspires a preference question for the readers.

The rare times we ate (Campbell’s) tomato soup when I was a kid, it was made with milk. I just assumed that was how it was done. In fact, milk is the alternate if you want a creamy result rather than the way it turns out with water.

We usually make ours half water and half milk, for an in-between compromise that’s also good.

How about you; milk, water, both, or it’s making you queasy even thinking about the concept of tomato soup?

Mmm… Butter

Take this test at Tickle

Your celebrity chef match is Julia Child

Butter, anyone? She may look down upon anyone who sacrifices fat for diet, but Julia Child is the grand dame of French cooking — for butter or for worse. Like Julia, you tend to enjoy the rewards of classic cooking and traditional life.

Maybe you don’t whip up lobster thermidor on a nightly basis, but when you do ramp up for a special meal — entertaining friends, for example — you tend to pull out all the stops. Experience has proven that “from scratch” does tend to make a difference, so if time allows, we’d guess you like to spoil your guests with everything from fresh fish to homemade pie. That’s not to say you’re not up for some shortcuts in the kitchen. It’s just that when it comes down to it, you like to do things right, and don’t mind taking the time to make sure that happens.

Who’s Your Celebrity Chef Match?
Brought to you by Tickle

Via Emeril