For a foodie, thrift is all well and good, but the primary concern usually is quality. After all, there is something of the sybarite in a true food lover and, as nice as it may be to save a buck or two, the most important thing is that food be delicious and enjoyable.
Even so, there is something interesting about trying to eat for only pennies a day. Jeffrey Steingarten tried it in The Man Who Ate Everything
, where he spent a chapter exploring subsistence cooking, even going so far as to try MFK Fisher's recipe for "Sludge," a ground beef-based Depression era meatloaf. For that matter, urban locavores and "freegans
" have explored the wonders of harvesting free, if somewhat wilted, produce from backlots and dumpsters.
Even so, attempts at extremely low-cost eating have usually been characterized by an impressive lack of culinary savoir faire. For example, in One Dollar Diet Project
, a blog in which two California high school teachers documented their month-long attempt to eat for only $1 a day, the focus was on subsistence living, with oatmeal and PB & J's occupying center stage.
With that in mind, Rebecca Currie's attempt at thrift, documented in her blog
, Less Is Enough, is particularly interesting. Normally a frugal shopper (she spends an average of $80 a month at the grocery store), Currie has only spent an average of $1 per day on food for the last few weeks.
is interesting reading, and it demonstrates that a $1 a day diet doesn't necessarily have to translate into uninspired or unhealthy food choices. Over the last sixteen days, Currie has prepared a broad selection
of meals, including pasta with spinach and marinara, chicken fried rice, and black beans with rice and jalapeno. While her diet has skewed heavily toward high-protein legumes, whole grains, and eggs, it has also displayed a reasonable amount of flavor, a tendency toward fresh, healthy ingredients, and a pretty impressive amount of flavor. In short, while it may not be an ideal diet for everyone, Currie has shown that most of us probably have a lot of room to reduce our food expenditures!