Ok, my first meal attempt that actually meets my two-dollar per-person budget criteria (see previous two posts, “Food: It’s Complicated“, and “Not With Your Mouth Full“). I’ll add a little detail about the ingredients for this one—
– 1/3 cup steel-cut, organic oats. From the Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op, from their bulk food department. I bring my own container, a Mason jar, and when it gets empty I go refill it. Zero-trash, zero-recycling… The oats were on sale this week for $1.19 lb, but I think sale prices are fair game for my effort here. Cost of oats– $ .15
– 1 Teaspoon local, raw honey from Singing Cedars Apiary in Orwell, VT. Raw honey is really good for you… $.06
– 1 egg, fried. These eggs came from a friend in Lincoln who raises a variety of livestock and vegetables. Her chickens lead idyllic farm lives, and they’re fed organic feed. She charges $4 a dozen for the eggs, which works out to $.33 for the one egg. We all reuse our cardboard egg cartons, and trade them back and forth, so no trash or recycling is created here, either.
– .2 ounces organic olive oil to fry the egg, bought in the bulk department of the Co-op, another case of filling-the-Mason-jar. $.08. No trash, no recycling.
– salt and pepper $.02
– one cup of organic, Fair-Trade, Nilgiri Blue Mountain tea, brewed from .1 oz. loose-leaf tea from the Co-op. Some of the best tea in the world, for only $.11 a cup. The tea is sold from bulk serve-yourself jars, and I bring my own container—zero-trash, zero-recycling.
…and a cloth napkin. (My wife’s idea. Though, we compost all the paper napkins we use.)
Ok, so it’s just slightly over a dollar– $1.12. But that’s cheap, and oatmeal is a “superfood” (and so is tea, for that matter). Cheap, organic, healthy, all the major food-groups, Fair-Trade, trash-free, virtually recyclable-free, and within my (somewhat arbitrary) budget. Ka-ching—meal #1 for my list.
And while we’re at it—the 39-cent, even cheaper, even healthier, even more sustainable breakfast—
– Sauteed asparagus. Perennial, popping up in the garden daily, and will soon be coming in so fast in the 30-foot bed that I’ll be giving it away. Lots of food for not much work; the joy of permalculture systems. Cost—free.
– 2 eggs, scrambled in my cast iron skillet (I have to throw in the skillet part—cast iron lasts forever, and imparts no strange chemicals into your food; I love my skillets). We’re down to two older hens, but they still pop out eggs from time to time. It’s probably time to get some chicks and start a new flock…). I’m not sure what it costs to feed to birds, but it can’t be too much (they free-range for some of their food). Ten cents an egg?
– .2 ounces organic olive oil to fry up the asparagus and eggs, $.08.
– hickory nuts. From the trees in the yard and woods; the kids and I gathered them up by the bucket-full last fall. Free, perennial, carbon-sequestering, decoupled, AND a super-food. The perfect ingredient. I’m going to plant more but they don’t bear until they’re about 40 years old. Hmmmm; I may or may not be around then… my kids or grandkids might be, though.
– $.11 cup of tea, same as above.
So, some good progress. Now I just need to come up with about 50 more meals…