The Price Is Right

There are things you do because they feel right & they may make no sense & they may make no money & it may be the real reason we are here: to love each other & to eat each other’s cooking & say it was good.

-Brian Andreas

I just increased my grocery budget by $50 dollars. To $650 a month.

I took all of your advice to heart, each and every word.  I checked out some coupon web sites and I will for sure be making a meal plan every two weeks and posting it on my refrigerator.  We shop at the cheapest grocery store in town and we don’t eat a lot of processed food.  I’m going to make my own Lara bars.  We always eat the leftovers.  We go to the farmer’s market, and we don’t buy the fancy brands most of the time and we almost never eat out and when we do we go to Wendy’s.

but.  But. Cooking is one of my great life loves. It always has been and always will be, and it is as much a part of me as my brown hair and my tin ear.  I can’t dance or carry a tune, I have a terrible sense of direction and to be honest I’m not great at telling time.  I have a hard time remembering my left from my right.

But I am a great cook, and I love food.  I love to read about food and talk about food and look at pictures of food. I love to figure out what to serve with what and I love sauces and desserts and garnishes and almost every part of the pig.  Food fascinates me, the swirl and the splash and the smell, the history and the culture and the worlds all caught up in something as simple as a family meal.  It’s simple.  For me, dinner is like falling in love, five nights a week.

I’m not going to be able to feed my family on $60 a week. I’m just not.  I am so proud of anyone who can, but I am not going to stop buying overpriced ingredients and I am going to continue to experiment with fancy dinners and overpriced cuts of meat and it will always be something that really matters to me – trying to feed as much delicious food to as many friends as I can fit in my dining room.  And I’m ok with that.  I don’t think you can put a price on that.  When I think of happiness, I think of a hot kitchen and a full glass of wine and a big hungry family and a menu as long as your arm, on a day when all of the picky eaters decide to keep their mouths shut and just give the polenta a chance.

And so I think we’ll always spend more on food than the average family.  It’s a part of who I am and a part of what I love.  And that is a trade off I can live with.  I will never own a $2000 dollar bike or an eighty inch television or a $350 phone, and I will always be a fan of saving $2 dollars on a jar of peanut butter, and I for certain wish food was cheaper.  But I will probably also have saffron in my pantry and truffle butter in the fridge, and that’s cool. I like it like that. That’s one of the real reasons I am here, to cook for you.  And to hear you say it was good.

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15 Responses

  1. GREAT post. Also, I’d like to come over for dinner.

  2. AMEN. I can live without an iphone. but standing rib roast with root veggies? I think not.

  3. Mmm, I want more of those ingredients in my kitchen. The sprog is WICKED PICKY and I am gently working him into better food. It hasn’t been easy but he is finally coming around. HOORAY for real food.

  4. Oh, this is good.

    A. and I used to be able to stick to $55/week for groceries. Now we are lucky if we can get by for $85/week. It is hard, but we are trying to manage.

    Meal planning, panning on using leftovers, etc. really does help. You can do it!

  5. Oh wow! When’s dinner? Sounds delish!

    I think you know what you’re doing. I feel the same way. I don’t need gizmos and gadgets and I envy you your talent with food. I love EATING good food. I just wish I was better at preparing it. I just don’t have that innate love for that part of it…but I totally think it’s an art and I am jealous of your ability! :)

    So since I can’t cook it, can I at least come have dinner some time? I’m not so bad with desserts…maybe I can bring something.

  6. Awesome. I became a little bit obsessed this year with saving money and always kinda felt like a failure fwhen I spent way more than some of these money-saving maverick moms that post their savings online. But I’ve come to terms with the fact that I may not have the lowest grocery budget every week, but we eat well and we pay our bills and we have fun. What could be better? Good for you for not sacrificing what you love!

  7. If you’re going to spend your money on one top of the line thing, make sure it’s your spices.

  8. so, um…what are we having for dinner??

    i love cooking for other people, too, knowing that they’ll enjoy something that i made just for them :)

  9. I’d love to see some of your recipes. I’m just getting into cooking. And I’m not very good…

  10. Food and the Kitchen is the epicenter of our home. There is NOTHING more important then enjoying eating (to us) but like you we don’t have crazy expensive hobbies and do not eat out all that much – so I can justify the cost.

    I also hate prepared foods – especially since I learned how to make some awesome soups from scratch.

  11. I’m going to just start redirecting my blog to yours. Out of my head, please.

    I am not a fancy cook, but I love love love good food, and cooking is like magic. Alchemy. Unbelievable to me that it works.

    Can I have that chicken recipe you mentioned, with the mango salsa and coconut rice? thanks.

  12. EXCELLENT! And yum.

    I love seeing the change in tone in your post as well. You just seem a bit happier or perhaps allowing yourself to believe you are on the path to being happier? Regardless, I am just happy for you.

  13. Somethings are just not WORTH not having. I feel the same way about food. I will budget EVERY.SINGLE.OTHER.THING but I’m not going to NOT buy rosemary for my roast chicken…I’m just NOT going to give up that fragrant bundle.

  14. I am the same way. I love to cook and I cook almost every night of the week, sometimes more than once a day. I made a budget for my food of around $200 and I just know that it’s more like $300 or more and I’m really ok with that. My kids and I have a fantastic variety of all sorts of food, cheap and expensive, and I wouldn’t change it at all.

  15. I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels that way! I’m sorry to say that (more frequently than I’d like) I buy some spice or ingredient that I KNOW I will never use in any other recipe simply because I found some recipe I am longing to try. My poor family rarely gets the same thing twice because I’m constantly trying new recipes.

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