How Do They Do It?

Struggling with my self-imposed food budget diet, I’m amazed at New York Magazine’s $20 meals. Granted that the $20 is per serving, but I can’t help but feel a little cheated. What is the total amount spent? What basics were a given – butter, oil, eggs, flour? Where did they shop? How many servings did their total purchases make? My $25 this week barely bought the makings for four dishes, not including some things that I already had and are starting to run out of – oil, lemon, pasta, couscous. I’ve made this stretch over seven meals (and counting!), so my average per serving is not so bad, it may end up being $2.50 per meal in the end.

What suffers most on the piety diet-y is variety, which is the most incredible thing about the high-low showdown’s bounty. When you’re limited to ingredients, you’re limited to options. Another lesson learned in the cheap challenge is that labor makes all the difference. Such is the reality of my evenings.

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