Monday, May 9, 2011

My Week of (Mostly) Food Blogging Begins

Well, everyone, I have done my grocery shopping this week. According to Mumma Troll's guidelines, I can spend the equivalent of one British pound per day, per person on food for the next seven days. That roughly translates, for me, to U.S. $11.50 for the entire week. Oh yikes. My receipt is at the left.

While I think I did pretty well, it's unclear whether I'll have enough food to feed myself two meals per day the entire week (I'm not even factoring breakfast into the equation!). I also point out that I've spent more than the requisite $11.50, but plan on freezing about half of the package of chicken thighs for next week, bringing down my total expenditure this week to the correct amount.

However, I giveth and I taketh away. Since I still have some food and staples in my refrigerator, I'll be using the following staples even though I didn't purchase them this week:

milk           2 small summer squash
eggs         some Yukon gold potatoes
butter        2 sweet potatoes
bread        sugar

While I've managed in the past to feed myself on about $3.00 per day (just barely!), this was inconceivably impossible. I wanted to purchase items that were somewhat nutritious, yet would go a long way. I had no desire to eat ramen noodles 7 days straight (although, a recent issue of Food & Wine provided quick meal suggestions using the dreaded stuff - I did not take it up on the suggestion). 

I know there are poor people in the U.S. (let alone in the developing world) who every day go into the grocery store and make the exact same types of decisions I did when purchasing these items. I was sorely disappointed in the complete lack of fresh fruit I was able to squeeze into my daily dollar allotment; I barely got any fresh vegetables (but I was determined).

If I were smarter about the greenery growing around me, I might be able to forage for salad greens. However, I am neither that intelligent when it comes to plants, nor that confident in my urban green foraging abilities - I'm relegated to the wildflower-picking-variety of foraging.

I'll be back tomorrow with the dinner recipe from tonight. I'll let you know how it (and the rest of the food day) goes. Wish me luck.

This embarrassment of riches from a local bakery
will be but a pipe dream this week.


  1. Well done for giving the challenge a go! I suppose it is much harder feeding a 1 person household cheaply. This could just end up being an exercise into who can loose the most amount of weight by the end of the week,lol.xx

  2. That's a tough challenge to undergo but you are right, it is a reality. Now try shopping for a gluten/wheat/dairy free person. I can tell you that I can't eat for that budget you are allowing yourself. Even if I didn't find all the special gluten-free foods, I could never meet that budget on just fruit and veggies. It's a shame that eating healthy is more expensive.

  3. Thanks for posting about your adventure. I'll check out Mama Troll's blog to find out more. It's a fun and interesting challenge to try to see how little we can spend and still have a reasonably nutritious diet. I'm sure you already know this, but if you do like things like beans and brown rice, you can eat quite a lot for very little. Keep us posted, please!

  4. Oh this is an interesting challenge.

    I suspect it would be easier if you were buying for a month at a time rather than a week at a time. If you bought whole bird (turkey or chicken), it's much less expensive than the boneless/skinless bits that are so easy to work with. But that's a lot of meat for one person in a week.

    We roast a whole turkey every 4-6 weeks for two people. It's generally 25 lbs for about $2 per pound. $50 blows your weekly budget out of the water. But when you freeze it, make sandwiches, enchiladas, soup... it becomes very economical.

    I agree with KatieMcKinna... 10 lbs of dried beans sells for about $6 around here. That's way less than the canned version.

  5. I hear your complaint regarding the high price of fresh produce! I have been a regular customer at our local fresh produce market, AKA Haymarket in Boston. I am amazed at how far my dollars go, and even better, how we have adapted to the sweetness of fresh fruit and have foregone candy and other grocery store empty calories! I am in love with spinach sauteed with olive oil and garlic. We eat turkey burgers infused with spinach and feta and a spinach/ ravioli lasagna. I wonder how we would do if we tried doing your challenge? Thanks for blogging about this, it is doable, even if it goes against the consumer culture.

  6. I love the line, "I giveth and I taketh away"!

    This reminds me of my not-so-distant student days. Sad to say there wasn't a lot of produce in my diet (lots of canned and frozen foods instead) - the only times i had fresh was when I was lucky enough to snag something between when 'the guy with the gun' went around and store closing. Then I got very good deals :)