Author Topic: $40/month to feed one person?  (Read 15455 times)

Offline The Professor

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$40/month to feed one person?
« on: July 12, 2009, 03:08:45 AM »
I've seen/read several references to people being able to provide enough food for support for $40 a day. . .but I can't seem to find out how.

Any suggestions?


Offline cartpusher

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Re: $40/month to feed one person?
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2009, 04:18:26 AM »
I think the $40/ month budget looks like this....

Oatmeal made with water for breakfast.
Lunch - peanut butter sandwich.
Dinner- rice and beans, maybe some home made corn tortillas

nothing else.

Offline Klapton

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Re: $40/month to feed one person?
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2009, 05:59:05 AM »
I think the $40/ month budget looks like this....

Oatmeal made with water for breakfast.
Lunch - peanut butter sandwich.
Dinner- rice and beans, maybe some home made corn tortillas

nothing else.

Change the peanut butter sandwich to Ramen noodles, and you've got it.  Peanut butter (and bread, if you buy it rather than bake it) ain't cheap.

Offline summer98

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Re: $40/month to feed one person?
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2009, 07:16:17 AM »
Oatmeal, rice, beans, peanut butter and flour for bread would still come out to only about $20 for me. But that's a starvation diet; you need vegetables, fruit, etc.
Are you looking at generally eating on $40 a month, or using $40 to come up with a month's food storage? Either way, the answers are pretty much the same: rice, beans, noodles/grains, fats, fruit and vegetables for vitamins and fiber.

I can feed 30 people for 10 bucks, so I've some experience with stretching dollars.  :)

Offline cartpusher

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Re: $40/month to feed one person?
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2009, 10:22:16 AM »
what's the menu for 30 people on $10?

Offline The Professor

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Re: $40/month to feed one person?
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2009, 11:41:59 AM »
Oatmeal, rice, beans, peanut butter and flour for bread would still come out to only about $20 for me. But that's a starvation diet; you need vegetables, fruit, etc.
Are you looking at generally eating on $40 a month, or using $40 to come up with a month's food storage? Either way, the answers are pretty much the same: rice, beans, noodles/grains, fats, fruit and vegetables for vitamins and fiber.

I can feed 30 people for 10 bucks, so I've some experience with stretching dollars.  :)

Well, we've gotten to the point in our preps where we are totally prepared for our 3-day, 2-week, 1 month and 3-month plans.  We feel 99.997% comfortable with dealing with just about any situations that can last up to 3 months for 7 people.

Now, we're trying to move into the 1 year phase and, to be honest, it's a bit daunting.  The primary issue we're facing is consumables. 

And that means food (primarily).

I have now heard the $40/month subsistence diet and the price intrigued me.  I figured I'd consider this as a basis from which to expand.

I figured a lot of rice, beans and flour.  But, if I could find a basis, even a starvation diet, from which to expand, then, perhaps $80 or even $100 a month would be workable.

So, what I was looking for was an answer to the question of: Can I feed one person for one month on $40.

Since I kept coming across this (once on the Podcast and once as a reference in another book (but no explanation)) particular number, I figured that someone, somewhere had already established a menu or list.

Professor

Offline nimzy88

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Re: $40/month to feed one person?
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2009, 11:45:36 AM »
This is my first post, but I like to believe being a current college student I have pretty good experience in this field. After paying my rent and utilities (electric bills are a killer in Las Vegas), trying to pay down loans and cc bills, then filling up my truck with gas, I have roughly $40-50 for the month for food. I do eat quiet a bit of ramen, I like the ones that come in the cups even if they are more ($1.20 for 6) they make it easy for lunches on campus. Then dinner consists of chefboyardee, though the wally world brand tastes just as good (a personal favorite is beefaroni) and maybe an apple. Breakfast consists of either 2 packets of instant oatmeal, i like to get the different variety backs with "fruit" in them. Otherwise eggs are fairly cheap and I will fry a couple of those up with some toast.
I also make sure to take a multi-vitamin in the morning cause I know in need to get more vitamins. Peanut butter and jelly are also a staple around cause I can eat them anytime day or night. If I have the cash I also like big boxes of frozen blueberry waffles, I spread some peanut butter on them and its a meal to go.
My girlfriends mom works at a Heinz plant so once in awhile I get spoiled and she sends me a box of tuna (heinz own starkist) or other soups or whatever she gets free that week at work.
The best days are though when I can donate blood, I did that last week and the school organization gave me a free chipotle burrito.

Offline “Mark”

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Re: $40/month to feed one person?
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2009, 11:48:35 AM »
One of the cheapest forms of vegetables are the big bags of frozen veggies. You can buy a week's worth for a couple bucks. I've had to do that before.

Offline summer98

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Re: $40/month to feed one person?
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2009, 12:10:47 PM »
what's the menu for 30 people on $10?

Think casseroles, soups and stews, sphegetti, that kind of thing. We don't have a lot of funding at my job so we have to make everything stretch. (I work at a communal living center.) We buy in bulk, on sale, etc. You can often get a pound of noodels for 50 cents at the dollar store and sauce for $1 for a big can. 1 can will cover 2-3 pounds of noodles. It's not the way I eat, but it is doable.

Offline summer98

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Re: $40/month to feed one person?
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2009, 12:14:53 PM »

Now, we're trying to move into the 1 year phase and, to be honest, it's a bit daunting.  The primary issue we're facing is consumables. 

And that means food (primarily).

I have now heard the $40/month subsistence diet and the price intrigued me.  I figured I'd consider this as a basis from which to expand.

I figured a lot of rice, beans and flour.  But, if I could find a basis, even a starvation diet, from which to expand, then, perhaps $80 or even $100 a month would be workable.

So, what I was looking for was an answer to the question of: Can I feed one person for one month on $40.
Yes, but it won't be the best diet. Like Nimzy, I did it while in college. Don't store whole wheat flour without taking extraordinary measures -O2 absorbers, the whole deal. The oil in it goes rancid fast. White flour lasts forever but has no nutrition.
I'm spending abot $50 a month on our food storage, but I'm slowly building up a good stockpile of good food that will last a while.

Offline fngrlickingood

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Re: $40/month to feed one person?
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2009, 06:32:29 PM »
This is my first post, but I like to believe being a current college student I have pretty good experience in this field.


Thanks for sharing Nimzy88! You certaintly know how to eat decently on a very small budget!

Offline fngrlickingood

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Re: $40/month to feed one person?
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2009, 06:37:16 PM »
I assume most people on this board already know this but you can save a ton of money by shopping at cannerys or even WinCo type stores over the regular grocery stores like Safeway, QFC, and Raley's. I switched from shopping at Safeway all the time to WinCo Foods and saved a couple hundred on groceries in a month. Pair this with eating a lot of noodles, canned sauces, breads, etc. and $40 a month is doable.

Offline ANARCHYisnotCHAOS

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Re: $40/month to feed one person?
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2009, 03:11:04 PM »
This is my first post, but I like to believe being a current college student I have pretty good experience in this field. After paying my rent and utilities (electric bills are a killer in Las Vegas), trying to pay down loans and cc bills, then filling up my truck with gas, I have roughly $40-50 for the month for food. I do eat quiet a bit of ramen, I like the ones that come in the cups even if they are more ($1.20 for 6) they make it easy for lunches on campus. Then dinner consists of chefboyardee, though the wally world brand tastes just as good (a personal favorite is beefaroni) and maybe an apple. Breakfast consists of either 2 packets of instant oatmeal, i like to get the different variety backs with "fruit" in them. Otherwise eggs are fairly cheap and I will fry a couple of those up with some toast.
I also make sure to take a multi-vitamin in the morning cause I know in need to get more vitamins. Peanut butter and jelly are also a staple around cause I can eat them anytime day or night. If I have the cash I also like big boxes of frozen blueberry waffles, I spread some peanut butter on them and its a meal to go.
My girlfriends mom works at a Heinz plant so once in awhile I get spoiled and she sends me a box of tuna (heinz own starkist) or other soups or whatever she gets free that week at work.
The best days are though when I can donate blood, I did that last week and the school organization gave me a free chipotle burrito.


........That is seriously the most hardcore thing I have ever read. Hats off to you! :)

Offline TXChikk

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Re: $40/month to feed one person?
« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2009, 06:05:16 PM »
I definitely survived on $40/month in college too. As mentioned in a few posts spaghetti was a primary part as well as tuna. Obviously meat consumption was at a minimum but I'm not too hard to please so leftovers were/are no big deal. In fact I intentionally cook large meals to freeze when I'm sick of the same thing after 4 days so that goes a long way to keeping under $40. Since I slowly amassed a free freezer and meat on sale my monthly grocery bill is still very low, less than $70 I would guess. Some months its really very little because I eat from my stores. Since I live alone and don't have to deal with finicky eating habits of others budget is easy. I live cheap so it boils down to a matter of taste and what you are willing to give up. It is quite easy to spend $20 on just fruit & vegetables that won't stretch a week much less a month so my garden this year greatly offset that cost minus the fruit.

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Re: $40/month to feed one person?
« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2009, 06:33:16 PM »
I used to live on $75 a month when I was in college, too, but that was back in the late 1980s when you could have a steak a week on $75/month.  Hats off to you Nimzy for finding a way to do it with groceries costing four times as much as they did when I was in school.

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Re: $40/month to feed one person?
« Reply #15 on: October 31, 2009, 06:45:52 PM »
When my husband and I were first married and he went back to college full time, we often would buy a pound of meat and split it into four sections for four days of meals.  I look back on those  days with alot of fondness.

Offline bubtech

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Re: $40/month to feed one person?
« Reply #16 on: October 31, 2009, 07:07:06 PM »
Family of 4... 2 adults, a 4.5yo and a 2.5 yo
We live on somewhere between $400-$600 per month for groceries. (I do blow ~$30 a week on lunches and breakfast but I could do it with leftovers just the same) It does involve scrimping a bit but not much, we don't want for much.
B

Offline theadob

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Re: $40/month to feed one person?
« Reply #17 on: November 01, 2009, 07:54:35 PM »
Here's a link to feeding a family of 4 to 6 for $45 a week.  I havent tried it though  Its a varied menu.

http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/40dollarmenu.htm

Offline fngrlickingood

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Re: $40/month to feed one person?
« Reply #18 on: November 01, 2009, 08:00:16 PM »
Here's a link to feeding a family of 4 to 6 for $45 a week.  I havent tried it though  Its a varied menu.
http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/40dollarmenu.htm

Thanks for sharing theadob, what a great site!

Offline Nophix

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Re: $40/month to feed one person?
« Reply #19 on: November 03, 2009, 09:36:30 AM »
We have a family of 4 (me, my wife, and a 5yo and 3 yo).

We can get by on about $300/month. We do a lot of casseroles, some stews, and spagetti. Also, things like tacos and such are cheap and easy.

I also have to get my work food out of that, and I live in a truck a few days a week. Basically, I buy a big bag of cereal, half gallon of milk, and a few canned goods, and I'm set for nearly 2 weeks.

The biggest thing is to really watch the sales, and buy in bulk when you can.We're actually getting better at it, and the bill is continually shrinking. Our current project is the expense and food tracking Jack talked about in one of the recent episodes, so we can trim that down, too.

Offline bristgus

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Re: $40/month to feed one person?
« Reply #20 on: November 15, 2009, 11:26:25 PM »
It's actually much, MUCH easier than you think.

1. Use coupons, and double/triple them up if you can. Some stores will take manufacturer's coupons and double/triple their value. Combine that with the items being on sale and bam, borderline giveaways. Just today I had a "buy 2 cans of soup get $1 off". They were on sale "buy one get one free" for $2.29. Doubled up the coupon: two cans o' soup for $.29. Now if I asked my neighbors if they could spare some of their coupons, I could go through the same process twice more (there's a limit to 3 doubling coupons per customer), making it six cans for $.87. Bring the wife, she can get in her own line, 12 cans of soup for $1.74, still less than the non-sale price of $2.29

2. Save the coupons, and use them on sale items at the store, small to big savings

3. Only buy meat on sale. We have boneless chicken breasts at a regular price of $4.29 per lb, but it moves so drastically down to $1.49 every other month. When it hits that, we load up on chicken, package them by individual breasts and stock up the freezer. It'll last until the next time there's some crazy sale.

The wife-to-be and I have gotten the grocery bills down to around $125 per month, so that gets us down to around 62 per person. That's still with some luxury items thrown in and comfort food purchased that wasn't on sale. It's just a matter of stepping back and breaking down the cost of what you eat.

Oh yeah, and if you learn to make your own pasta and throw some Ragu on it, $40 will last a year!

Offline Hraz

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Re: $40/month to feed one person?
« Reply #21 on: December 25, 2009, 10:13:48 PM »
I used to have a friend in college that was a vegetarian and super cheap. He would eat a can vegetable soup for one meal, spaghetti with Parmesan cheese for another and a banana with a slice of cheese from a big block. He was also a classic mooch. When we would order pizza, he would stand there looking so pathetic, someone would always offer him a slice. I remember he had 10,000 in the bank when I had a 100.

Offline jlsellers

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Re: $40/month to feed one person?
« Reply #22 on: March 04, 2010, 09:54:53 AM »
I'm so glad you posted these ideas! I'm going to check out that hillbilly website. My biggest budget challenge is the money spent on food, so this is perfect for me. I am definitely a fan of the frozen fruits and veggies, and also soups and beans, rice, lentils, oats, potatoes, etc. It is challenging to be used to easy box food and convert to scratch cooking, but I'm getting better little by little.

One of my favorite cheap recipes is Mazidra, or lentils, rice and onions...basically you cook lentils and rice seprately, add some thyme and oregano, salt and pepper to the lentils, and then saute some onions, so you have rice, lentils, and sauteed onion rings on top! Yum!

Also, herbs have great nutritional punch...for example, you can make slippery elm gruel and raspberry leaf tea for those days you don't feel so well. For the slippery elm gruel I boil a cup of water and stir in a teaspoon of powdered slippery elm, a sprinkle of stevia and cinnamon and it tastes sort of like malt-o-meal. Alternate between that and the raspberry tea and you nourish yourself pretty well on sick days. I tried this once and I felt stronger the day after I was sick than before I got sick!

Offline Cool Blue

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Re: $40/month to feed one person?
« Reply #23 on: March 04, 2010, 06:04:13 PM »
I used to have a friend in college that was a vegetarian and super cheap. He would eat a can vegetable soup for one meal, spaghetti with Parmesan cheese for another and a banana with a slice of cheese from a big block. He was also a classic mooch. When we would order pizza, he would stand there looking so pathetic, someone would always offer him a slice. I remember he had 10,000 in the bank when I had a 100.

vegetarians are dicks.

kidding!

When I was in college my protein ration was a pack of chicken wieners; one a day.  They used to be a buck a pack.

Offline tamo42

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Re: $40/month to feed one person?
« Reply #24 on: March 04, 2010, 06:37:12 PM »
I'd be very interested to see an very cheap monthly food bill that didn't include massive amounts of empty grains and processed carbs.

Offline Lunk

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Re: $40/month to feed one person?
« Reply #25 on: March 09, 2010, 11:37:07 PM »
When I first started out on my own I used to live on $20 bucks a week. Including sodas and candy. That was in 2000-2001. Now my wife and I are at about $70 a week and we eat quite well. The biggest thing you can do to learn to stretch your food dollar is learn to cook. I am a professional chef by trade and cooking from scratch is just what one does to save money in the restaurant industry.

Learn to re-use foods for other meals.

As an example one of my standard bachelor meals was a chicken. I would buy a chicken, roast it, de-bone it, have a chicken breast with rice and sauteed veggies for day 1 for dinner. That same day I would take all the veggie scraps) peals etc. and place them in a pot with the carcass to make stock. that would get strained and put in the fridge before I went to bed. I would also pick over the carcass for extra meat and would usually get 2 cups more that had stuck to the bone that would just fall off once the collagen had broken down.

On day 2 I could have chicken salad.
On day 3 it would be making a pot of chicken soup with lentils or beans and rice.
Same on day 4.
Day 5 I would make a roux and thicken the leftover soup and make a pot pie or casserole with it.
That would usually cary me through the end of the week.

The same sort of setup can be done quite well with say 7 bone roast, Boston butt, turkey, chuck steak/roast (another name for 7 bone) round steak, burger etc.

I would buy 1 protean for the week just stretch it with vegetarian protean choices. I have to admit that eating lunch free at work made a difference at the time :) but now that I can actually afford to buy more I still do many of the same things just more variety. I'll prep say 2 proteins for the week and freeze the majority of both and just thaw as needed. This is actually quite handy as my wife and I work different schedules and I can not cook for her on a daily basis.


Offline jlsellers

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Re: $40/month to feed one person?
« Reply #26 on: March 10, 2010, 10:44:47 AM »
I love your multi-use chicken idea. I think I will try that next week after I go grocery shopping again. Do you have any tips/recipes you feel like sharing?

Offline Lunk

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Re: $40/month to feed one person?
« Reply #27 on: March 10, 2010, 12:21:34 PM »
I love your multi-use chicken idea. I think I will try that next week after I go grocery shopping again. Do you have any tips/recipes you feel like sharing?
Actually I can come up with quite allot.  :D
Give me a chance to get some thoughts together and I'll try to give a decent rundown tonight after work.

Offline Lunk

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Re: $40/month to feed one person?
« Reply #28 on: March 11, 2010, 01:40:01 AM »
Ok, so I put together an outline before work and thought about what I could cover that would make the most sense to people who are not professional cooks.

   For starters the most important thing I can talk about for cooking well is have a SHARP KNIFE! The style, shape, size does not matter. All that matters is that it is as close to razer sharp as you can get it. A sharp knife is a safe knife. A dull knife you have to apply force to get it to go though things and it can bind and when you apply to much force it can slip and cut you.



Shop the sales.
   As an example, if a whole chicken is $0.59 per pound and a cut up frier is $0.99 or $1.19 buy the whole chicken and section it yourself. Once you get good at it it will take you less than 2 min to section a chicken and hopefully less than 5 to de-bone it.

Martin Yan blowing everyone away:  Martin Yan carves chicken in 18 secs.

   You can use the carcass for stock making. Get a cookbook that tells you how to make stock. I prefer the Joy of Cooking.  I can usually pick another half pound of meat off the bones after they have been boiled down for stock. The cooking breaks down the collagen making the remainder of the meat fall off the bone.

   You should throw all your Mirepoix scraps (onion skins, carrot peelings, and celery ends minus the leaves) into a bowl in the freezer if you intend to make stock regularly. Then you just pull them out and dump them into the stock pot frozen, cook them for flavor then when you pick over the bones you can throw them into your compost bin. In that way they will have given there all.


   Buy large primal roasts when they are on sale or if you have a restaurant supply (Smart and Final, Cash and Carry) or a Costco etc get them in the cryovac whole from the meet packer.

   You can buy a 8-10lb boneless pork loin for under $2.50 a lb and cut pork chops, loin roast, cubed pork for soup/stew, stir fry strips, and/or grind it for ground pork/home made sausage.

   Another good pork choice is pork shoulder. Bone in or bone out, either way works well. It is also known as Boston Butt or just Pork Butt.  It is a very fatty cut of pork with allot of connective tissue. It is excellent for stewing, smoking or BBQ. Two of my favorite applications for Pork Butt is Char Siu and pulled pork. 

   Char Siu is a Chinese BBQ pork that you may well know as the sliced pork tenderloin served as an appetizer with hot mustard and sesame seeds at the start of your meal at a Chinese restaurant.  Believe me that was not it's original application.  It was originally used to season and tenderize tough cuts of meat like the butt before grilling over an open flame.  You should be able to find a good recipe for it online but in general it consists of Oyster Sauce, Hoisin sauce, Soy sauce, sugar, honey, garlic, ginger, and 5 spice powder. Marinate for 3-5 days and grill.

   For pulled pork it is quite easy, you make a slurry of liquid smoke and salt and rub it all over the butt. Wrap twice in plastic wrap, then wrap twice in foil. Alternating both layers.  Place in a pan and fill to ¾ with water and put in a 350 degree oven for 6-7 hours. You will need to refill the water every hour or so. Chill wrapped to retain the moisture and the following day you can shred with your hands for BBQ pork, Cuban Sandwiches, etc.

The average wight of a bone out Pork Butt is about 8lb so you can use it for several different meals simultaneously.  Make a pork stew, throw some in marinade for the end of the week etc.

   Beef top round roast is another good one to use. You can cut it for roasts, pot roast, stew, stir fry, steaks, and jerky.  The thing to keep in mind for some of these applications is that other than the cap of fat on top it is a very lean cut of beef. It is also the roast that “London Broil” is cut from. The average weight of a primal top round is about 12lb.

   Beef 7 bone roast or beef Chuck are the basically the same cuts as the Pork butt. They also can be used in all of the same ways and additionally is the common choice for Yankee Pot Roast. For  pot roast the bone in variety will be better due to the extra connective tissue around the bone and the marrow in the bone.

   When putting together a menu plan, and I do suggest trying to make at least a basic menu plan. Pick accompaniments that compliment the nutrition of the primary protean choice.  Serve some kind of plant protean with every meal you can to try to stretch the budget. If you like Southwest style cooking, learn to make pinto beans or re-fried beans from scratch.  You can reserve some Bacon grease if you eat Bacon in a container in the freezer for flavoring in these meals. Lard is typical but I like the hint of smokiness that Bacon grease brings to the dish.

   Also, if you drink alcohol consider using it in your cooking. I love to add 2 or 3 ounces of brandy to pot roast. It gives it just a little bit extra something that if you cook for others they will notice but will not be able to put there finger on what it is.  Dark beer also works well with pork roasts or stew, red or white wine with almost anything, and of course whiskey with BBQ.

   As for vegetables, I prefer Kale in soup because it keeps its texture, I like to stir-fry with just regular green cabbage for economic reasons.  Carrots have the highest sugar content of any vegetable outside of sugar beets. Onions and garlic go in everything (at least in my kitchen). Just pick what is fresh and cheap, it will vary with the seasons.

   For seasonings, I like to use influences from all over, it wakes up your palate and surprises guests. I use cinnamon with beef quite often, but only because I can't get my wife to ear lamb. Spend some time reading Asian cook books. They have some quite good seasoning profiles that are not anything like the western pallet.  If you are so inclined, think about what you will do for seasonings if the world commerce falls apart. I've spent quite a bit of time thinking about this subject and am going to start planting spices and herbs for personal use in the near future. Laurel (bay leaf) is a nice tree that can be grown and the leaves can be dried for use. The only spices I do not believe I can grow for myself are cinnamon and pepper. Altho several species of chile peppers will do to substitute for the pepper.

I hope this is at least mildly useful, if anyone has any other questions feel free to ask. I will help as best I can. ;D

Offline tamo42

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Re: $40/month to feed one person?
« Reply #29 on: March 11, 2010, 09:43:21 AM »
+1 great post