$9.85

Sometimes, little things just hit you.

I stopped at Wal-Mart to buy a few ingredients for recipes I want to make for tonight’s and tomorrow night’s dinner. And to pick up some more asparagus — we roasted a bunch last night — delicious.

A quick aside.

Mike said, “I never thought I’d like asparagus. I never used to.”

This confirms my belief that every adult should try “hated” foods prepared by someone other than his/her mother. Nothing against mom’s cooking, but…times have changed, and so have ingredients and preparation methods.¬† If I hadn’t tried it, I’d still be convinced I hated Chinese food because when I was growing up, eating Chinese meant opening a can of La Choy chop suey on a Saturday night…gag me.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

I never left the produce aisle — six items, none of them organic:

  • an eggplant
  • a cauliflower
  • a red pepper (always outrageously priced — why?)
  • a cubanelle pepper (which she rang up as a jalapeno, 18 cents)
  • a bunch of asparagus (on sale)
  • a bunch of parsley

Bottom line: $9.85

No doubt it would have been more at another grocery store — I shop at Wal-Mart because it’s invariably cheaper.

Near the checkout in Wal-Mart is an in-store McDonald’s. Mike and I could have both eaten there for $9.85.

No, it wouldn’t have been as healthy. And it would only be one meal (I’ll have enough veggies left over from my recipes to add a side to another meal, plus leftovers from the meals themselves).

But the veggies are only part of my recipes — I’ll be adding many other items¬† from my pantry, all vegetarian except for some chicken breast that goes in tomorrow’s white chicken chili. (Tonight’s barley risotto is all veg.) So that adds cost.

I don’t wonder why people live on fast food — it’s cheap and filling. Or why they buy cheap processed — what would my $10 have bought in those aisles? Or why more people don’t buy organic. I’d love to — can’t afford it.

Maybe we have so many obese people in the U.S. because it’s so expensive to eat healthy. Mike and I spent about $400 on food in March — not counting our Friday night dinner-and-a-couple-beers at the local bar, usually around $25. And not counting Mike’s daily lunches out — around $6 a day. I’ve been trying to build up our pantry, so have been stocking up on staples.

So, for both of us, it’s running about $20 a day to eat.

Doesn’t that sound like a lot? For just two of us? And I’m not an extravagant shopper — I usually buy store brands, use coupons, and leave the expensive items on the shelf. (I’ve been buying “healthier” eggs because I think I should, and lamenting they cost at least $1 a dozen more than “regular” eggs.)

I dunno. No great insights forthcoming. No solutions. Just something I’m thinking about as I sit here, not making any money, worried about the future.

All sorrows are less with bread.
~ Miguel de Cervantes