A post of mine, about how I feed my family on $300 a month, has been getting a lot of attention lately. It was featured on Forbes.com and Lifehacker. Very flattering. Especially considering how dry that post was. Especially considering that I thought this was pretty much how everyone eats. Shows what I know.
Most of the feedback I’ve received has been positive. I ignore that, of course.
Instead, I choose to focus on those that have left really insightful comments like:
“I’d like to see more fresh fruits and vegetables in this menu”.
Uh, yeah. ME TOO.
“This is so unhealthy, you’d be better off eating at McDonald’s.”
Really? Can I, please? After fifteen years, I’m SO over cooking.
Other people have commented that they would never be able to follow our menu because they require much more meat, or seafood, or less carbs, or less pesticides, or something. I HEAR YOU. I’d love more meat, more seafood (please, God, let me come back as a shark) and organic/free-range/grass-fed vegetables! I mean, seriously, I’d substitute lobster for pasta any day. Unfortunately, I have a very limited budget, a very large family, and a major aversion to being arrested for shoplifting.
My menu was never intended to be an example of “best-practices” in nutrition. It is simply an example of how I feed my family on the budget I have.
However, I thought it might be fun to live, if only virtually, in a world where money was no object. So, here’s how I’d feed my family on $300 A DAY.
A couple notes before I get down to the nitty-gritty:
- I can’t provide any actual recipes, because my cook, Vera, is in charge of all that. The kitchen is simply where I get my coffee. My fair-trade, organic, rainforest-protected coffee, sweetened with organically grown raw sugar and organic cream from local, grass-fed, happy cows.
- I also can’t provide any real prices. The places I shop have a strict “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. If you need to know how much it costs, you shouldn’t be shopping there.
- I know this menu looks pretty bare. That’s because we eat out (Zagat approved, only!) a lot and pick up many meals from the Whole Foods buffet when we are in a hurry. After all, sometimes you don’t know what you’re in the mood for until you see it, and we can’t overburden poor Vera, what, with all the running from Farmer’s market to Co-op to Fresh-catch seafood to Dean and Delucca’s she has to do.
So, without further ado:
Breakfast: Fresh bagel from the local Jewish bakery, topped with lox, cream cheese from the dairy down the road, capers and tomatoes – both purchased at the local farmer’s market. Raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries artfully displayed around a broiled half grapefruit.
Lunch: Sushi, of course. Perhaps a rainbow roll with with salmon, tuna, yellowtail, and brown rice. A salad of locally grown baby greens, heirloom tomatoes, avocado, artichoke hearts, various exotic mushrooms, and pine nuts.
Dinner: An appetizer of whole artichokes with dipping sauce; kale salad with mandarin oranges, red onion (none for the kids, please) toasted sliced almonds, and roasted beets; steamed Maine lobster – flown in, if possible, asparagus, and roasted butternut squash with a drizzle of real maple syrup.
Dessert: Anything Boo Gordon makes – especially that Lemon-coconut cake, served with decaf coffee and Bailey’s Irish Cream.
Breakfast: Frittata with asparagus, spinach, uncured bacon, and a sprinkling of gouda; banana, mango and greek yogurt smoothie.
Lunch: Steak fajitas with grass fed beef, organic bell peppers, and whole wheat tortillas; side of sautéed zucchini and squash (imported extra virgin olive oil only, please) and non-GMO corn.
Dinner: Veal Marsala; broiled heirloom tomatoes stuffed with risotto, mushrooms and orange bell peppers.
Dessert: none, even we aren’t that gluttonous.
Breakfast: Belgian whole-wheat waffles with low-fat, organic sour cream, fresh berries, and real maple syrup; fresh made vegetarian sausage.
Lunch: Bed of organic spring greens topped with grilled salmon, blanched green beans, and feta cheese.
Dinner: An appetizer of oysters on the half shell, steamed shrimp for the children; beef tenderloin, sweet potato wedges and medley of whole green beans and wax beans steamed with fresh herbs.
Dessert: Creme brûlée.
Breakfast: Green Goddess smoothie; multi-grain toast with part-skim ricotta, broiled peaches, and local honey.
Lunch: Lobster bisque; salad of spring greens with more heirloom tomatoes and a sprinkling of blue cheese.
Dinner: Grilled mahi-mahi; roasted root vegetables, broccolini.
Seriously? There are so many lovely restaurants to try…
Perhaps we’ll begin at The Westin by breakfasting on this $1,000 bagel:
For lunch, how about some Indian? We’ll pop over to London, hit the Bombay Brasserie, and pick up an order of this Samundari Khazana. At $3,200, it’s a bit of a splurge, but we’ve saved so much by eating at home this week.
The most expensive curry contains Devon crab, white truffle, Beluga caviar, gold leaf, a Scottish lobster coated in gold, four abalones and four quail eggs.
Finally, for dinner, let’s slum a little and go for ramen. Yes, yes, we’re killing our diet but we’ll begin our cleanse Monday. I’ve heard there’s little spot in Tokyo where we can pick up a bowl for just $110.
Alas, I hear my todschoolers waking upstairs. It’s time to return the real world. I’m going to wander into my kitchen and make yet another pot of oatmeal, no it’s not even steel-cut. But it does include raisins, brown sugar, cinnamon and all my love and best intentions. My kids eat it up.