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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Cooking For One Means Shopping For One

An important lesson on buying for one: It's not a good bargain if you can't use it. 

Example, it might cost $1 for a small little 1/2 cup container of pre-made bean dip you wanted to use as a topping on some dish. Now, ounce for ounce you could probably make bean dip more cheaply yourself... but you'd have to buy cream cheese, beans, sour cream, and cheese, and even if you make a full recipe, you are certain to have a lot of these ingredients leftover. Will you actually use them all before they expire? Plus you've now spent about $6 on ingredients, too. So even if your homemade bean dip would price out at 35¢ per half-cup, this might not be a worthy investment unless you will use a lot of it.

Another problem is when a large amount of some item looks like a bargain. Today I was facing this problem at the grocery when looking over a discounted 2-litre jug of milk that was on its sell-by date (and the label even clearly boasts, "Keeps for 7 days!" I think they don't have as much preservative in UK foods so everything goes bad faster, or is expected to.) While there were many recipes I could think of that would use milk... I just couldn't think of how I'd use that much in a week and be able to consume everything made from it. 

You'll notice this blog makes much use of frozen vegetables. That's because fresh veggies are difficult to use quickly enough, when only one person is eating them. Buying frozen, canned and dehydrated products helps extend shelf life and makes it more likely you're going to be able to use everything you buy, instead of wasting money on "great deals" that you have to throw out and  which ultimately are no bargain at all. 

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