I am not sure if you have noticed, but I am sure you had to, but food prices are outrageous. For vegetables like corn, I understand, it was a very bad dry season and by the end of the season, no matter how much rain fell, it would not be enough to recover all the crops that had died from drought. On top of that, we have gas prices at an all time high. Which means, the tractors that harvest the vegetables spend more on gas, the trucks that carry those vegetables, produce, meats, (even the frozen foods), etc. to the supermarkets cost more, and soon you will see yourself paying nearly double even for a less than prime choice of meat. Sure this packaging will feed two, and if you are single, will give you 2 servings, but I can’t walk out of a supermarket spending less than $15. Here is today’s supermarket receipt:
$6.00 Half Pound of Red Snapper Fish
$2.50 Radicchio Lettuce
$1.00 12oz Can Chicken Brooth
$1.00 Bottle of Seltzer
$1.00 1 Lemon, 2 Limes
$1.00 Jersey Tomato
And there you have it. Maybe this batch could serve 2 people, but even still, that is $7.50 per person. As it turns out, it got cold, cloudy and started to drizzle, so my dinner plans to grill were stifled. It then came down to pasta, Chinese or Italian takeout. I had not had a veal parmesan sandwich in like forever… literally cannot remember, so let’s just say it was 10 years ago. Chicken too dry, eggplant too deep fried and oily. And my fear here was that the veal would be dry and chewy. I was pleasantly surprised and happier that I was wrong that the veal was thin, tender and served with just the right amount of sauce, cheese and on a perfect baguette of Calandra’s bread. I was quite happy (for a change) with take out food. The menu price was $8.95, so when he told me $10 at pickup, I said no problem.
I guess my point here is, and has been my theme of other posts, there is no shame, financially, economically or culinarily ordering take out if its just for one or two. Chances are, its far cheaper, and you save the task of over-buying food and having to cook it, store it and maybe even toss it after a few days. I love to cook, and I know I spend a lot for that hobby/pleasure/luxury. So when I get a good meal or two from less than $15 from my favorite places, I have no regrets. Its still less than what I would have paid in the supermarket and the local merchant wins.
Now, I know I am due for a batch of meat sauce for spaghetti and other pasta… $10 will get me a dozen meatballs, sausage links, canned tomatoes, onions, parsley, cheese, bread crumbs, and while I can’t be sure of the cost, I am almost certain that after I make a batch of that and store it in containers enough for 2-3, it will last for months and it will be about $1 per serving. This is the only time I tend to win… when I freeze, although I don’t know how to break down electricity costs to keep something frozen, but I am sure its still cheaper.
Even at any cost, nothing can ever replace spaghetti and meatballs as Italian comfort food, and there is no price on that. But the fact that its as economical as rice & beans or mac & cheese, Its a good route to go, especially if its a Sunday afternoon.
I guess other options are farmer’s markets, but again, unless you are shopping for a family, the cost savings might not matter. I am all for Farmer’s markets, helping the smaller businesses and farms sell direct for lower price, higher profit, but let’s face it, me buying a couple of tomatoes and one cucumber at a time is not going to help them but larger families will. Its a tough situation, but we have cheaper options available, we just have to drive out a few miles more and ignore the price of gas.