Door Knocker Dinners

A Social Experiment for One Continued

Years ago on the Food Network was a show called Door Knocker Dinners. The gist was Gordon Elliot would show up at your door unannounced with a chef in tow. The chef’s challenge was to make a multi-course dinner for you and your family using only what could be found in your fridge and pantry. Every so often I have to resort to this technique. Maybe I forgot to defrost something, maybe I didn’t have a chance to go to the store, maybe because I had been eating Pasta E Fagioli leftovers for so long I didn’t realize I had eaten all of it. So, I had a couple interesting meals this week. The disappointing one was the wilted spinach salad with leftover turkey. Nutritious? Yes. Delicious? No. The turkey had been in the freezer so long it was dry. And, I’m not a big fan of turkey in the first place. Which is why it had been in the freezer so long. But, when you’re watching your food budget you don’t have the luxury of feeding failed cooking experiments to the dog.

Speaking of cooking and eating.

I’ve been working out the best way to post my food diary. I don’t want to distract from the goal of this series – to document what it takes for a person to eat healthy on only $126 a month. But, you my readers need to know what I am actually eating and spending. Also, healthy can mean different things to different people. Vegetarian? Omnivorian? Gluten free? Organic? Farm to table? GMO free? Only $126 a month rules out some of these options. Living in a food desert will rule out most of these options. For the sake of this experiment I am going to define healthy as food that is processed as little as possible and includes food from all of the food groups: grain, dairy, meat, fruits and vegetables. Meals should have variety and be pleasurable to eat even if they are not extravagant.  Whenever I post my food diary I will be keeping it as minimalist as possible; no name brands, for the most part ingredient lists rather than recipes. There are a lot of great sources for money saving recipes other than this blog. If I have a recipe I really like and have a link to it (such as Pasta e Fagioli) I will post it. My grocery receipts I am editing out personal items and other items that would not be covered by SNAP benefits (toilet paper, cleaning supplies, etc.). I will not be editing out any food stuffs. I want to be transparent as possible in regards to food purchases and consumption.

We’re almost two weeks into this experiment (11 days to be exact). The biggest challenge I have had so far is with my long commute in the evening it is tempting to stop and get drive through – especially on late nights with errands to run. Some evenings I haven’t been able to begin meal prep until 7:30 at night. Being tempted and giving into temptation are two separate things. So far, so good. Click on the link for my food diary.

Food Diary – SEO




2 thoughts on “Door Knocker Dinners

  1. I’ve been thinking a lot about this even though I’m on the road. Lots of self-examination. Even though I said I was delaying my involvement until back in my kitchen, I find I’m changing my travel behaviors. Bought a box of “picnic food” to work from so it is processed. GF Bread, almond butter, boxes of soup (small lasts 2 meals, large only if settled in one place for several days), apples, bananas, strawberries, cereal, coconut milk. These aren’t terribly economical but healthier than fast food and more economical than restaurants. Realizing that these would not work in $126 per month. My initial picnic box was $56. Expected to last 10 days or so and I’m also picking up other food along the way.

    Years ago the Kitsap County Extension Service assembled a packet of low budget recipes for low income households. 1967-70? I wonder whether that service still exists.

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