This was in my drafts folder from a few weeks ago.
Here’s a reasonable 29.00 food challenge.
First of all, I think we can all agree that feeding even one person for 29.00 for a week would be difficult. I didn’t read the Gywneth article. All I know is the headline and the puzzling large number of limes in the picture. The point is, I don’t know how many people that 29.00 was supposed to feed for a week.
How many of us could actually do that? All you would need is one night of the following:
Me: Do you feel like cooking tonight? Because I don’t feel like cooking.
Randy: I’m not fucking cooking. Nope. No way.
Me: I’ll get onions on half. Do you want pepperoni or sausage?
Then the whole week’s budget would be blown.
Today is Friday and I got to leave work a little early today. I had to do manual labor for three long days during our beginning of the season sale. I still smell like chlorine. My week was so far out of my normal routine that I am completely out of sorts. Out of sorts is where I go when my anxiety runs wild. My plan was to come home, read Tina Fey’s book and then take a nap. Instead, I laid in bed watched TV and thought about Gwyneth Paltrow and her grocery challenge thingy.
First of all, there is no damn way we could get away with spending only 29.00 all week on groceries. However, I probably have enough underused groceries already that we could get away with using nearly acceptably aged food and supplement with no more than 29.00 in new groceries.
Because when you are ridiculously exhausted and when your anxiety levels are at Def Con 2, it’s a good idea to shake up your already frayed routine.
That’s cool, though, it’s my iffy decisions that make the most interesting stories.
I did a quick inventory and found I have the following items:
I would take pictures and post them here, but I’m pretty sure if any of you saw the state of my refrigerator, no one would ever read anything I wrote ever again based on general principle.
3 lemons that are neither shriveled or slimy. I probably have two days before that happens.
Celery that is about 5 minutes from being rubbery.
A fuck ton of unidentified spices in a plastic storage box.
Then a cabinet of food that is heavy on tuna, kidney beans, green beans and pasta and at least one can of coconut milk and a can of salmon.
I have some chicken mixture for enchiladas in the freezer. (that may or may not be freezer burned).
I have corn in the freezer. (that may or may not be freezer burned).
Let’s just go ahead and assume that all the freezer contents may or may not be freezer burned.
There is also spaghetti sauce, some jalapenos, some poorly chosen frozen dinners and about 6 packages of what I assume is meat of some sort that is wrapped in foil. Pretty sure it’s mostly chicken.
Okay, that isn’t an exhaustive list, but we hit the highlights.
The rest of this post will be written over the weekend. We’ll see how it goes.
My family was ambivalent about my 29.00 food challenge. By ambivalent, I mean they hated the idea.
Randy: Beer doesn’t count. Beer is an entertainment expense, not a grocery expense.
Teen boy: Can I just have cash to buy my own food? I’m not eating ‘expired surprise’.
I agreed that beer was an entertainment expense which only made the challenge slightly more acceptable to Randy. The teen boy won’t speak of it and made plans to hang out with friends during the dinner hour.
We decided we wouldn’t shop until Sunday morning and make due with thawing mystery dinner from the freezer.
I found some chicken enchilada mixture that I know Randy likes. I’d put it in a casserole dish with some shredded cheese and Randy could dump habanero powder on it and he’d be fine. I found some chili for me and decided chili spaghetti sounded perfect.
Only it wasn’t chili.
It was meatballs that Randy made from some article on Pinterest that claimed they were the best meatballs in all of history or some shit like that. They weren’t.
I love bacon. I could eat bacon in nearly anything as long as it’s not cold like ice cream or popsicles. If someone told me that bacon could ruin a meatball, I’d tell them they were crazy.
His meatballs tasted like salt balls dipped in salt and served with salt sauce. Randy liked them, though, so we froze the leftovers.
I decided to bite the bullet and give the salty mcsalterson balls a second chance.
They were not edible.
But, no fear, all was not lost, my pasta had not been sullied by the salt balls of death. I had a jar of spaghetti sauce that only expired in December. How bad could it be? Relatively speaking, it had only barely expired. Besides, it was from my favorite Cajun restaurant in Covington, Ky. Dee Felice cafe wouldn’t let me down.
Turns out, that 4 months expired is long enough to make the sauce inedible.
I had a bagel with butter and honey for dinner Saturday night.
I only spent 26.72 on groceries. Randy smirked when I added a box of brownie mix to the cart, but it was on sale for 1.19 and I felt it was actually my best choice.
We bought enough eggs to make Cool Hand Luke shake his head. We bought sour cream and celery and potatoes. We bought onions and English cheese and milk. Randy insisted on getting buttermilk because he wanted to grill out the hamburger we thawed and decided to make onion rings to go with them.
We spent the day Sunday hard boiling eggs and frying bacon and making tuna salad for my lunch. We chopped and grilled and baked enough food to take us through Wednesday. The days after Wednesday? Well, The freezer is still 3/4 stuffed. And there’s always that box of organic mac and cheese in the cabinet.
Besides, there is still a lot of food that is very nearly stale but not quite bad from last week’s shopping trip. The reason so many things end up languishing is the new groceries ending up getting behind some plastic container that has either creamy chicken and rice or chicken pot pie filling that we made when the little blue Christmas tree was still in the front window.
Which isn’t as gross as it seems because I didn’t take that tree out of the window until the end of February.
Maybe next time we take our 29.00 grocery challenge, the first step to the plan should be to clean out the fridge.
Whether we follow through on this very poorly thought out plan, I did prove to myself that with the help of my underused and neglected groceries that we could actually get away with spending 100.00 less on groceries for the week.
As we cleaned up the mess from cooking all day on Sunday, I was reminded of the one and only poem I’ve ever written:
Ode To A Vegetable
So, what do you think? Think you can use your neglected groceries and get by on 29.00 for a week?
I say whoever is successful gets to buy some new shoes.