We've just finished day two of our Penny-Wise Eat Local Challenge effort, and I’m feeling pretty confident. You see, the way we eat every day lends itself easily to this experiment. I almost always cook more than we need for a single meal. It’s my usual practice to eat the leftovers from dinner for the next day’s lunch. It's nice--I get to have a nice hot (okay, reheated) meal without interrupting the flow of my workday or having to buy something extra.
So after today’s breakfast of locally milled grits with a dab of chevre and a cup of coffee (which came in at less than $2.00 for two servings--no wonder grits are such a staple in the south!), my fiancé and I had a ready-made lunch waiting for us. We dug into what was left of the pupusas and curtido that our friend Stew made for me yesterday. The leftovers cost approximately $3.50.
Believe it or not, dinner was leftover-y, too. And I'm proud of it, because it demonstrates the concept of “meat thrift” that I believe in strongly. I feel that it’s important, out of respect to the animal and out of plain old common sense, to get the maximum benefit out of every cut of meat--not eating too much expensive protein at one sitting, saving leftovers for stir-fries or sandwiches, and making broth, soup, or gravy out of all the odds and ends.
The main protein for our dinner was half a pound of leftover Mexican-style chicken breast sausage that had been part of my pupusas meal with Stew yesterday. I served it alongside homegrown turnips, tossed with a bit of homemade bacon and braised in pork broth (from my freezer, made from the bones of some now-forgotten pork roast we ate a while back) in a manner similar to the Turnip Casserole recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Volume 1. (I use that recipe all the time, by the way. If you don't think you like turnips, you might want to give it a whack.) To finish it off, I rustled up a few Georgia greenhouse cherry tomatoes and a nub of homegrown onion, and made them into a little relish.
So let’s see--$1.25 for the sausage (it was on sale), $2 for the turnips, about $.50 for the bit of bacon (this in particular is hard to judge, since we make bacon in large bone-in slabs, but this is a nice generous estimate), and maybe $1.50 for the little tomato-onion relish. The pork broth was a freebie, wouldn’t you say? Not many people make broth out of pork bones, but I'm thinking maybe they should.
$10.75 for two people for one day is pretty awesome, I think. There will be days when we splurge a lot more, but on the other hand, this modest menu was definitely not deprivation.
Jamie S. lives in rural Georgia and writes 10 Signs Like This, a blog that's part gardening journal, part cookbook, part sustainable lifestyle, and part short attention span.