Food for all

Posted by on Oct 6, 2011 | 0 comments

Not my chicken, but not far off the mark (photo: Wikimedia)

I took the $5 challenge. I didn’t do it on purpose, and I didn’t tell my guests that I’d done it. It just happened while I wasn’t paying attention–and it made me realize that it needs to happen more often.

Slow Food USA launched this campaign as a way to show folks how easy it is to feed others a nutritious meal, based on real foods, at around the cost of a fast-food “value” meal. A lot of folks said it couldn’t be done–but this year on September 17th, 30,000 people learned otherwise. And that doesn’t even count the five folks who came to an inexpensive 3-course dinner at my house the next day.

September 17th was just a start, however. Since then, others have begun pledging to host meals on October 24th for Food Day. The White House has picked up on it and will be cooking its own cheap meals on November 29th. Folks have been logging their dinners here.

Here was my meal, simple but very tasty. I’ve given the best estimates I can of price based on the quantities and the initial cost of the product. The total cost of the meal was $29.57, or $4.92 per person. (I’m actually cheating a little, because I’m not including wine, which would definitely have tipped it over, and some really fantastic cheese from the Hudson Valley that one of my guests brought. Does that make me a bad person?)

Tomato-basil risotto

  • $2 arborio rice
  • $.19 olive oil
  • $.25 yellow onion
  • $3 sweet local cherry tomatoes
  • $.47 white wine (a generous splash)
  • $.25 basil (from the box on my windowsill–priceless)
  • $.08 broth (my own veggie broth made from leftovers; this is an estimate based on bouillon)
  • $.50 butter
  • $3 Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (both in the risotto itself and in a dish for sprinkling)
  • Total cost: $9.74

Rosemary-garlic roasted chicken

  • $14.98 organic free-range chicken
  • $.25 rosemary (once again, from my windowsill; estimate based on dried herb)
  • $.25 garlic
  • $.19 olive oil
  • $.02 salt
  • Total cost: $15.69
  • $.80 all-purpose flour (Hecker’s)
  • $.08 yeast (Red Star, from a 2-lb. package)
  • $.02 salt
  • Total cost: $.88

Walnut gelato

  • $2 walnuts
  • $.97 whole milk
  • $.27 sugar
  • Total cost: $3.24