Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The $25 Food Project: One Man, Seven Days, 21 Meals

This is the Husband-Elect.

(With Han Solo’s head.)

Over the next week, every single meal he consumes will come from our kitchen. If all goes well, it will cost under $25, total.

He is six-feet-tall, 205 pounds, and in his mid-30s. According to WebMD and a few other sites, he requires around 2600 calories each day. According to the USDA, it’s a little over 3000. I’m going to shoot for somewhere in the middle.

I’m doing this for two reasons:
  1. I’m used to feeding myself, and it ain’t no thang. But being a stunning, brilliant, muscular dude, Husband-Elect’s needs are very different. Once we have a better idea of what he requires in a given week, it’ll help us eat for the rest of our lives.
  2. Writing this blog, I tend to go on all like, “Why don’t people just EAT HEALTHIER? It’s so much CHEAPER and EASIER than they think and blah blah blah presumptivecakes.” With this experiment, I’m (hopefully) putting my money where my keypad is.
As part of the experiment, I’ll post at the end of every day. Husband-Elect will chime in occasionally, as he is erudite and good at words and stuff. Beyond our comments, these entries will include:
  • The content of each meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks).
  • The cost of each meal.
  • The time it took to prepare each meal. (And maybe for the dishes? I haven’t decided yet.)
  • The nutritional aspects of each meal. This will definitely include calories, fat, and fiber, which is what we usually list after recipes at CHG. Other than that, I’m not sure.
  • Miscellaneous shopping and prep notes.
Next Wednesday, we’ll do a final tally of cost, time, and nutrition, as well as recipes, a shopping list, and a breakdown of what we learned. It’s gonna be a good time.

Of course, like everyone, we have benefits and drawbacks related to our income, location, space, transportation, etc. The biggest ones are as follows:

  • He’s not a picky eater, except for bottled raspberry dressing. Boy, he hates that.
  • He was a vegetarian for six years in his early-to-mid twenties, and has no problems with beans, produce, or weird soy products. (We’re still going to incorporate meat, though.)
  • We’re both water and occasional coffee drinkers, meaning I don’t have to buy soda or juice.
  • There are two decent supermarkets within a half-mile of my place, and they’re both running pretty sweet sales this week. ($1.49 for 5 lbs potatoes, $0.66 for pasta, etc.)
  • I’m using my pantry, which is well stocked with herbs, spices, vinegars, and oils.
  • We share a small Brooklyn apartment with another couple and their barky little dog. Storage and prep space are extremely minimal.
  • Husband-Elect likes beer. I have no idea how to include this, and it made him tear up a little.
  • I walk to my grocery stores, so I only buy what I can carry. That makes bulk purchases fairly difficult, unless I'm feeling cavalier about my vertebrae.
  • It’s February, which means most fresh produce is out of the picture. I’ll be leaning pretty heavily on frozen veggies.
  • We do not have a dishwasher. Tragic.
  • In the midst of all this, I hafta come up with two new recipes for CHG and Serious Eats. Yoinks.
So far, I can tell you this: it’s Day 1, and I’m already in trouble. I figure we have about $3.55 per day to work with, and I’m going to end up around $4, with nowhere near as many calories as he needs. But more on that later this evening.

Readers, any tips? Have you ever tried anything like this? I’ve done my shopping, but need all the help I can get.


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