Author Topic: Food budgets  (Read 3175 times)

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Food budgets
« Reply #50 on: January 03, 2021, 08:08:30 pm »
..Ironically, I suspect it costs a lot more because we buy actual ingredients rather than ready-made stuff ...
I tend to agree with you, but what a strange world we live in, when cooking your own recipes at home costs you more than buying industrially processed food. I once checked that the price of flour, eggs, butter and sugar was actually higher than the price of a ready made cake.

Some of that's because the ingredients we'd buy in a supermarket are more expensive for a reason.  Mr Kipling isn't buying free-range eggs in expensively-printed boxes of 6 from Sainsbury's.  And fresh ingredients have more expensive supply chains than processed food with a long shelf life.

The other thing that's easy to overlook from a middle class perspective is the cost of the energy:  Bake a cake at home, and you'll easily burn through a kWh or two.  An industrial oven can bake dozens of cakes with the same amount of energy. Cooking a curry or similar from scratch in a pan uses much more energy than heating a ready meal equivalent up in the microwave.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Food budgets
« Reply #51 on: January 03, 2021, 08:30:16 pm »
I bought a 2.5kg bag of white potatoes for 39p, from Sainsbury's, just before Christmas.

I wonder how much this 'bargain' will cost to store and cook...

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Food budgets
« Reply #52 on: January 03, 2021, 08:39:18 pm »
I bought a 2.5kg bag of white potatoes for 39p, from Sainsbury's, just before Christmas.

I bought one of those TAAW.  So far it's been lasting reasonably well (ie. escaped detection by the local wildlife) dangling in the outhouse with the spiders and gardening tools.  (Not the one with the landlord's shitty cooker, strategic meths reserve and assorted Useful Bits Of Wood, as I failed to make clear to barakta before she picked a fight with its very stiff bolt in search of spuds.)

Fearing for their shelf life, I did at least remember to bung a couple of the larger ones in the oven along with whatever I was already cooking the other day, which barakta later re-heated for lunch.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Wowbagger

  • Sylph
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Food budgets
« Reply #53 on: January 03, 2021, 08:40:25 pm »
I finalised a WR order this morning and was surprised how little it was - about £80 for two of us for the week. Then I realised that I had forgotten to put fresh fruit in so have done a Riverford order and that came to another £31. They are expensive...

There was no booze in there.
Bach without a doubt.

Wowbagger

  • Sylph
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Food budgets
« Reply #54 on: January 03, 2021, 08:41:17 pm »
There are certain cheap items that we don't need to buy at the moment, because I grew them in the summer. Taters & onions.
Bach without a doubt.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Food budgets
« Reply #55 on: January 03, 2021, 08:42:55 pm »
I'm not sure growing food ever counts as cheap, as it involves Gardening, which is expensive both in terms of time that could otherwise be spent riding one's bicycle and risk of stupid injuries.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Wowbagger

  • Sylph
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Food budgets
« Reply #56 on: January 03, 2021, 08:45:14 pm »
The good thing about gardening, when it's your own garden, is that you can do a very little bit every so often. A few 5 to 10 minuteses add up. I would never consider going for a 5 minute bike ride unless it was to the chemist's or something, but they are delivering all our stuff now.
Bach without a doubt.

Re: Food budgets
« Reply #57 on: January 03, 2021, 09:55:23 pm »
I keep a spreadsheet, broken down into categories.

I’ve tried doing that - or at least using apps like Quicken - but I don’t have the self discipline to keep it up for more than a few weeks at a time. Probably should make more effort. I know it would be beneficial.
I control and record  my spending by using a separate account, currently a pre-paid debit card, I top it up each month to £25 x Sundays in the month.  Only used for food and household shopping (When I need cash it comes out of this account) and I don't use anything else for this shopping. I've never run out, though have sometimes had to economise in the last week, which can be an interesting challenge in itself. It doesn't offer the sort of breakdown that could be used for any meaningful analysis, I'm not looking for that.  This is how I've managed my spending for the last four years, which is when I last had a regular income, like any budgeting it's just getting into a habit. 

Re: Food budgets
« Reply #58 on: January 03, 2021, 09:58:22 pm »
On a per item basis, it's impossible to compare costs. Hence thinking of it from a "How much to feed a person for a week" point of view...

J
I get that pack sizes can be different, but doesn't all supermarket food have a unit cost you can compare?

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Food budgets
« Reply #59 on: January 03, 2021, 10:09:01 pm »
I get that pack sizes can be different, but doesn't all supermarket food have a unit cost you can compare?

Yes, but I can't buy the same things in .UK as I can in .NL. I don't buy the same things here as I did in the UK. Sure I can compare a few basics, like a 500ml bottle of milk. But because I didn't buy potatoes by the 2.5kg bag in .UK, I can't compare easily with the way I did. I buy 2.5kg from the Dutch supermarket, and then bin some because they don't keep. A loaf of bread as I buy it here, is very different to how I bought it in .uk. Direct comparison is hard.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Food budgets
« Reply #60 on: January 04, 2021, 10:07:52 am »
I'm not sure growing food ever counts as cheap, as it involves Gardening, which is expensive both in terms of time that could otherwise be spent riding one's bicycle and risk of stupid injuries.

I occasionally grow things – it's a lot of effort for not a lot of meals and I'm sure the cost of that effort, the watering, and epic battle against slugs doesn't make it cost-effective as anything other than a hobby unless I scale up and sign an armistice with the slugs.

I do understand that manufactured stuff is cheaper for the reasons mentioned. If I want to make a pie, a task I am capable of, then you've obtained all the ingredients, cooked the filling, made the pastry, combine and cooked the final produce. That might put it on par with a premium pie at £4.50, but let's face it, you can get one that features Nobby the Dearly Departed Horse for about £1.25.

I usually make pizzas at the weekend – the dough is pretty cheap, though I'm sure my flour is free-range. But toppings mount up. A jar of pesto*, olives, some veg matter, maybe meat, cheese. I've no added up the cost, but I'm sure it's a fair amount more than a cheap supermarket pizza. Titchy little bags of ingredients like pine nuts will set you back the better part of a fiver (yeah, you can buy in bulk, but unless you're a squirrel, who eats that many pine nuts).

The cheaper to make your own stuff mostly only seems to apply to an endless diet of pasta and tomato sauce or constant potato surprises. Which tends to be why it's advocated by people with Agas for people who don't have Agas.

*I've mostly given up making it unless I can get decent basil, the stuff in British shops appears to taste of practically nothing and thus not worth the minimal effort.
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Re: Food budgets
« Reply #61 on: January 04, 2021, 10:26:04 am »
My great uncle emigrated to the Netherlands from Hong Kong, and ran a Chinese restaurant there. They always thought the Dutch are strange about food, especially how much they love fried rice. They seem to live on stuff on bread. Herring and onion on bread, gouda and ham on bread, hundreds and thousands on bread. Still they seem to do well on it, as they're the tallest people in the world.

I've always found the various big mac indexes as the best way to compare rough food prices across the developed world. Essentially how long it takes to earn a big mac in each country working at the average wage. From this, the food cost in the Netherlands does seem higher.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/275235/big-mac-worldwide-cities-working-time/

Re: Food budgets
« Reply #62 on: January 05, 2021, 09:46:51 am »
We're somewhere around £80-90/wk on average for two adults and two young children.

citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: Food budgets
« Reply #63 on: January 05, 2021, 10:31:13 am »
They always thought the Dutch are strange about food, especially how much they love fried rice.

Who doesn't love fried rice?
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Food budgets
« Reply #64 on: January 05, 2021, 10:48:30 am »
My parents, who don't eat rice (or pasta). Too foreign. My first taste of Chinese or Indian food wasn't till I was at university.

I've presumed, with no evidence beyond anecdote, that the Dutch love of rice comes from their once-upon-a-time far-eastern possessions. The Indonesians like their nasi goreng as much as I do.
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TimC

  • Old blerk sometimes onabike.
Re: Food budgets
« Reply #65 on: January 05, 2021, 11:02:27 am »
Nasi Goreng was one of the few concessions to foody cultural appropriation the RAF made in the 1970s, when I joined. It was suspiciously like left-over rice from the curry the night before (the sole other furrin food), including odd bits of whatever meat was sprinkled in the curry, with a fried egg over it to hide the evidence. It was years before I realised rice didn't have to be crunchy.

citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: Food budgets
« Reply #66 on: January 05, 2021, 11:12:18 am »
Sounds a lot like what I make! Whenever we have rice with our evening meal, I tend to cook far more than is necessary just for the excuse to have fried rice for lunch the following day. I wouldn't call what I make in any way authentic nasi goreng but it's often a rough approximation - it's usually just an assembly of whatever we have available. Uncle Roger would be horrified.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Food budgets
« Reply #67 on: January 05, 2021, 11:17:26 am »
In my experience, that is the authentic Indonesian approach.
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citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: Food budgets
« Reply #68 on: January 05, 2021, 11:26:29 am »
In my experience, that is the authentic Indonesian approach.

Yes, you're probably right. I was thinking more in terms of the ingredients used than the method.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Food budgets
« Reply #69 on: January 05, 2021, 11:50:53 am »
I think generally, at least in the more rustic roadside places, they throw everything in the pan and hope for the best. The only non-standard ingredient is the fermented shrimp paste which I had to get from the Chinese supermarket – sambal and ketjap manis condiments are available in any supermarket these days.
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citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: Food budgets
« Reply #70 on: January 05, 2021, 11:53:10 am »
HP sauce is a good substitute though.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Food budgets
« Reply #71 on: January 05, 2021, 11:59:48 am »
Not sure about that, sir.

I think my jar of shrimp paste is about five years old, I hope it doesn't have a use-by.
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Re: Food budgets
« Reply #72 on: January 06, 2021, 12:17:50 pm »
Not sure about that, sir.

I think my jar of shrimp paste is about five years old, I hope it doesn't have a use-by.

I bought a block of dried shrimp paste 10 years ago. The expiry date is July 2016. Still using it, still adds that authentic flavor to my nasi goreng.

(And to answer the original question: about 70 euros per week on groceries. It would be higher if I ate meat, I guess.)

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Food budgets
« Reply #73 on: January 06, 2021, 12:26:08 pm »
I was mulling over individual meal costs earlier. They vary quite a lot. I made a fish curry on Sunday night, which involved cod, salmon, king prawns, curry spices, tamarind, coconut milk, plus pilau rice (basmati, peas, pilau spices, and turmeric). Totting that up, I think £8-9/pp. Plus some ready-made starters. I'd say about £10/pp.

I think that's probably the most expensive meal I usually make because the fish costs the better part of £15. It'd probably be cheaper if I got the fish from a fishmonger, but hey ho, the supermarkets killed that.

Inauthentic Hainanese chicken thing the other night – whole chicken, ginger, turmeric, garlic, rice, some stir-fried spring greens. The chicken was £10 (though I'll get another meal out of the legs in some fried rice tonight), but let's call it £7/pp.

Last night, duck curry – duck legs were £4 for two. Garlic, ginger, onions, some spices, chilli pepper, rice. Probably about £5/pp (and the best meal I ate this week).

Tonight will be cheap as it'll be whatever veg needs eating, rice, leftover chicken, and egg. I'm breaking with the lore of the Asbestos Palace and moving pie night to tomorrow in case those chicken legs reanimate.

That doesn't include the cooking costs, the duck curry had to sit on the hob for two hours (next time I'll try the slow cooker), the chicken an hour-and-a-half in the oven.

Generally, it'd be cheaper to eat cheap pub food in £5.99 deals. I don't really buy ready meals so I'm not sure how it compares. Meat makes up much of the cost.

Not sure what the rest of this weeks £200 grocery bill went on though.
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ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Food budgets
« Reply #74 on: January 06, 2021, 12:33:53 pm »
Not sure about that, sir.

I think my jar of shrimp paste is about five years old, I hope it doesn't have a use-by.

I bought a block of dried shrimp paste 10 years ago. The expiry date is July 2016. Still using it, still adds that authentic flavor to my nasi goreng.

(And to answer the original question: about 70 euros per week on groceries. It would be higher if I ate meat, I guess.)

April 2018. I figure it was off to start with. Mind you, I used this theory once for yoghurt and demonstrated by shovelling a spoonful into my mouth. There's off and there's off. It was off. I spoffed foul yoghurt everywhere. My wife made a very adult comment, the sort you'd usually accredit to me about spitting and swallowing.

Anyway, you don't actually taste the fermented shrimp paste in nasi goreng (we call it nasty orangutan), it just adds that umami. I also throw in my signature sprinkle of MSG. Only 9.5kg of that to go before I restock.
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