How to Eat Big on a Budget
“Nine out of ten English chefs have their names on their chests. Who do they think they are? They're dreamers. They're jokes. Just ask yourself how many chefs in this country have Michelin stars and how many have their names on their jackets. We all wear blue aprons in my kitchen because we're all commis (a junior chef). We're all still learning.”
-Marco Pierre White- (the Chef who made Gordon Ramsay cry)
There is a reason for starting out with this quote. I am not an expert, I do not claim to know all & I am still learning. This “article”, if you want to call it that, will just share knowledge. You might think this, eating on a budget, is a simple topic but there are many things that go into this; so, I will start off on some of the simpler sections then go into more detail later in another post.
Before we start, you should find a radius you are willing to drive from either home or work to find great deals on food. For me I drive either 45 minutes to 1 hour to get great deals, this also because I live on a farm out in the middle of nowhere. Most of the time the drive will be worth the money saved on food!
Three things will be discussed to start off:
- Expiration Dates
- Storage: Freezing storage
- Use what is provided to you by the Grand Architect on land, in the sea & air
Next time we will discuss what is better; buying bulk or not, which is better?
In a lot of cases, these are BULL SHIT! The end…well not really…
When shopping on a budget you can find stores that sell food/snacks that are either on the date of “expiration”, a few days before of expiration or a day expired for CHEAP! A lot of grocery stores have a small selection area of these foods which can contain meat, bread, and canned goods BUT there are whole stores dedicated to these items. One store that I know of in Virginia is Smart Shopper (there are other locations nationwide). Look for places like this to find great deals.
“Except for infant formula, dates on food products are not required by any Federal law or regulation, although some states do have requirements for them. Most of the food dates consumers see are on perishable foods, that is, foods likely to quickly spoil, decay or become unsafe to eat if not kept refrigerated at 40° F or below or frozen at 0° F or below. Perishables include meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, fresh eggs, and fresh fruit and vegetables. Makers/packers of perishable food use food dates to help ensure that consumers buy or use their products while they are at what the maker/packer considers their best quality.” – FDA (Food and Drug Administration)
This selection from an FDA article should explain a lot, it is not that day the product goes bad, but it is the day when the seller says it is best to eat/drink. Meats and veg can be frozen, kept way past the expiration date and still be very good down the road. Some items can be used when it has been spoiled; the best example is dairy. Spoiled/sour milk can be used in baking, expanding the use of one food object. When eating on a budget this is crucial, using one food item as many ways possible. ALMOST anything cooked/baked/seared/roasted if properly stored can be stored in the freezer and can be used later.
Written by: Erik LaFontaine