Thursday, July 28, 2011

Cheap Food

Some people complain constantly about the cost of food.  Sure, sometimes weather factors make the prices of some foods go up a lot, but the choices available to the modern American are remarkably broad, IF one is willing to do a bit of work and cooking.  One can be a lazy bum and whine for a prepared food to pop into the toaster oven or microwave, or one can get off one's butt, use one's hands and fix something cheaply.

Here's a recipe for Johnny Cakes, a very simple, energy filled side dish for a couple fried eggs.  "Johnny Cakes" is the slang name for a food of the common pioneer family in Rhode Island and other New England colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries.  See  - that box pictured is the same as the one from where this recipe came, except I cut the salt in half and used olive oil instead of grease/lard.  I've adjusted it to make the serving size suitable for one man.

Johnny Cakes

1/2 cup corn meal (white or yellow)
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
3/4 cups boiling water
2 Tbl. olive oil

Preheat a large skillet to medium high (380F for electric fry pans).  Mix dry ingredients well in small/medium bowl.  Add olive oil to skillet to heat.  Then add boiling water to mixed dry ingredients and mix thoroughly; it will be thick.

Drop mixture onto skillet in one (heaping) tablespoon sized lumps.  Do not touch or turn for six (6) minutes*.  At six (6) minutes, turn over & cook for about five minutes.  This will yield 4-5 golden brown Johnny Cakes.

*The recipe on the box says this, but mine stick a little (I am not using a Teflon skillet), so I lift them a bit midway - yes, I'm fussing.

Calories are about 240 plus the olive oil absorbed, making them about 480 total, or perhaps 120 calories per Johnny Cake, about the same as a slice of bread.

Yellow corn meal from Quaker Oats works fine.  A 24 oz. container cost $1.69 at the supermarket last time I bought it; that package will provide about enough for 10 meals per above.  The cost of the corn meal is thus less than 20 cents.  Good enough olive oil for this use costs about $10 for 1.5 liters at Costco, thus 2 Tbl. costs about 20 cents, too. [There are about 50 servings with size 2 Tbl (= 1/8 c) in 1.5 liters.]  Add in 10 cents for the energy used in cooking.

Cost - about 50 cents.

You can store the corn meal in the refrigerator indefinitely in a sealed container. 

This morning I will make this recipe to have with a couple fried eggs (over medium).

PS:  It occurred to me this recipe gives about 500 calories for 50 cents, thus providing 10 calories for each penny.  Thus a 2500 calorie per day energy requirement for a human being costs $2.50 using it.  One would have to add to that for protein (milk, eggs, cheap cuts of meats, etc.), fruits & vegetables (apples, oranges, cabbage, etc.), but you can see that the cost to feed people can easily be less than $5/day.

Word of the Day

"Pleonasm" - noun [$10] T. S. Eliot
Pleonasm means the use of more words than are needed to give the sense (e. g. 'see with one's eye's).
Sentence:  I remember using a pleonasm as a young boy in arguments with my brothers:  "You stupid idiot!"


Spin-em said...

rented a canoe at State park supper time... water like glass..on way home farm fresh corn...40 cents an ear....USA USA USA

Bunkerman said...

good deal !!

Spin-em said...

Bunk dont kknow if ur trip is during Perseid meteor shower but it is a sight to see...1000's of em...and where ur going...should be ubfreakin real

Bunkerman said...

I'll have to check on that; we will be on the lakes 14th to 19th.

Spin-em said...

dig $120/month....nanc calls up this morning asks nicely if the had any deals going on $40/month now geesh

Spin-em said...
This comment has been removed by the author.