Tuesday, April 26, 2016

$5 Recipes, My Ass

     It happens to the best of us. We run out funds towards the end of the month. The grocery budget takes a hit to take care of an unusually high electric bill or car payments. To make your dollar stretch, you look up a recipe that's ingredients only cost a few dollars. FIVE DOLLARS? FOR A WHOLE MEAL? What a find! The recipe looks delicious, has a high rating, and the food to dollar ratio is mouth-watering. You get your grocery list compiled and head to the store.
     But when you get there, you find that you can't simply buy ONE carrot, or THREE eggs, or 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg! I mean, where is the customer service? Not really.
     Of course, I don't speak for every $5 recipe or the like. But a lot of these recipes depend on the cook already having an available supply if they don't have a farmers market to waltz into. If ONLY I had a farmers market to waltz in whilst I pick produce.
     For people like me, who get so completely broke they have no idea how it happened, aka irresponsible, or other people who are just on a tight income, these recipes are completely deceptive. I'm no extreme couponer or spread sheet wizard, but how do these cooks go through their pantry and quantify every drop of soy sauce into a dollar amount? How can you tell me this recipe with seventeen ingredients costs under $5?
     I'm not saying it's impossible, in fact, it's very commendable. If you can sit down and plan out an entire months worth of recipes, correlating ingredients, calculating the cost of each recipe into the amount of each ingredient, God speed and good luck! I wish I were more like you.
     However, food staples aren't exactly bountiful at the end of the month so you're kind of tapping an empty keg. A lot of these recipes assume you have a lot of ingredients on hand. So if you don't have an crushed red pepper in the first place, good luck trying to convince the Stop N' Shop manager to sell you $0.34 worth.

     I must say that this recipe in particular is priceless, Pasta Carbonara with Leeks & Sun-Dried Tomatoes. It's looks scrumptious, of course. The author of this recipe must live on a pig farm because they can find 3/4 lbs. of THICK CUT BACON, not just the shitty breakfast kind, THICK CUT BACON for less than $5. Nevermind the rest of the ingredients in this mini-Martha Stewart meal that combined with bacon should only cost $5, where in America are you going to find THICK CUT BACON for under $5? This is real question that needs to be answered if it can indeed be confirmed.
     Here's another classic, Shrimp and Spaghetti Squash! I'd LOVE to know what gutter they dredged out an entire pound of shrimp for under $5. It can't be done! Even if you found a magic coupon, you'd still have a spaghetti squash to buy as well as parsley and at least two lemons. Once again, Kroger is not going to let you buy two sprigs of parsley out of a bunch. This isn't some antiquated, cheery outlook on cooking from before the recession. These recipes were posted last year! In the same economic climate that you and I live in. So what's the secret?
     Is Allen Greenspan writing these recipes?
     Is there a special market I'm not privy to?
     Does Dollar General sell meat now?
     How can they, in good conscious, tell people that a recipe costs $5 to make when they clearly haven't stepped into a grocery store since the 1980s?
     In conclusion, my fair people, I call bullshit on most $5 recipes. But of course, the rule of three compels me to give you YET another example of why most $5 recipes are unrealistic. This Pretzel Tuna Melt seems doable until you get down to the $0.15 you'll be spending on mayonnaise. So once again, you'd have to already have this items. Mayo might not be as rare as some other ingredients. Perhaps as an alternative, they should suggest you grab a mayo packet from the deli. Regardless, they're not going to let you buy one stalk of celery. However, you could save the side portions of celery from your next hot wings venture. I will say that the slice of tomato was absolutely NOT mentioned in the ingredients list and only serves to aggravate me. I also choose this recipe because tuna melts gross me out.
    Some of these recipes look tasty, but I can't get past the ridiculous gimmick. I feel violated and bamboozled. The majority of these recipes cost much more to make than advertised. Frankly, I don't have energy to waste on LIARS! LIARS! All of them are LIARS and CHARLATANS!! Ahem.