Wednesday, 9 May 2007

I'm in yr kitchen, eating yr foods

image As well my cats might be in my kitchen, eating my foods, after doing a shop for the month last week. I've been meaning to write a follow-up post ever since, but things kept getting in the way, not least of which was a little tumble I had on a patch of wet floor. Oh, nothing broken, but my dignity and derriere got bruised. That made it a bit uncomfortable to spend much time sat at the computer. And, as ever, living alone, nobody to bring me tea and sympathy. Sad

For those who've arrived half way through the story, what I've done this month is to actually make a menu, which is something I've never done before. 

Executing the plan: problems we have identified

image In general terms, the shopping went well, I think. A problem you will not have in "civilization", but I do suffer here, is the availability of items. For once - I don't expect this to be repeated - I did get everything I planned to get, even though I had to "make do" with a couple of frozen items, where I would much rather have had fresh.

The next "problem" is that I should have scheduled myself to eat something instant or junk food on the day I had lugged all the shopping home. After doing that, I was too tired to cook. The answer to that, I suspect, is to shop at a store that delivers, or grocery shop online and certainly to shop again BEFORE you run out of food and the ready meals that you prepared the previous month.

The next hardest part has been "shoehorning" all the made dishes into a small freezer. To get some of the items in, I've had to put them in freezer bags, instead of plastic boxes so they take up less space. I didn't really want to do that as much, because, obviously, the boxes can be reused and the bags can't, creating waste and not being as "green" as I would aim for.

Did I manage to save money?

Here, I can really only talk in costs relative to what I might normally spend on a month's shopping without such a strict plan, since we all live in different parts of the world with differing costs of living. Food here in the Canary Islands, is not that expensive, I don't think - say, compared to UK prices. Well, unless you buy expensive, imported goods, but I don't often. There was an article in our local press the other day that said Tenerife had one of the lowest "shopping basket" costs in the islands. Properly "translated" (i.e. with the "spin" removed) that really means, compared to the rest of Spain, it's expensive! :

Keeping to a low budget was an issue and I am happy to say that I feel I was successful in this aim. After deducting the vast amount of cat and dog food, odds and ends not on the list (who put those chocolate things in my basket?) and non-food items, (like bathroom tissue in bulk because we seem to eat that too in this house), bearing in mind I did start with a few items in the cupboard, I spent only around €35 (£24 / $47) on the remaining ingredients for 30 main meals. My average cost, per portion, is roughly £1 / €1.5 / $2.

In relative terms, I estimate that by planning and cooking, you can eat for a whole month on the cost of a week's worth of ready meals and convenience foods. You'd probably spend an equivalent amount in 2-3 days if your idea of "cooking for one" is ordering pizza to be delivered!

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