The First Seven Dinners / by David Bernabo

A new experiment. I am tracking all of my food costs for foods that are used for dinner. So, granola and  yogurt are not currently tracked, unless the yogurt was purchased with the intention of being used in a dish. I have to keep some sanity. To track this, I set up two tables, one called FOODCOST and another called MEAL. FOODCOST lists several fields that identify each iteration of a food:


For example, I bought two carrots for $1.40 at Whole Foods on 2/27/2015. For this entry, FOOD_IT_CD = CARROT_1, SOURCE = WF, and COST_PER_VOL = $0.70. 

On 03/07/2015, I bought 22 carrots for $3.00 in the Strip District. This is a giant difference in price.  For this entry, FOOD_IT_CD = CARROT_2, SOURCE = STRIP, and COST_PER_VOL = $0.13. I've also started using 4-6 carrots per dish to get through them. 

The MEAL table lists each meal with a MEAL_CD, which is a unique number that will allow me to tally costs per distinct meal. FOOD_IT_CD is the key that will allow me to cross-reference the meal ingredients to the FOODCOST table. QUANTITY will allow me to bounce against the FOODCOST field, COST_PER_VOL, to identify the specific cost associated with the amount used on the ingredient. A MEAL_DT exists so that I can trend certain ingredients by month, by season, etc.. (Not quite sure how I am going to estimate the individual ingredient cost for the Penn's Corner CSA. Bag of food cost is $25/week. I will probably ballpark it on quantity of the items. Feel free to share any ideas.)

In the coming months, this blog will house the usual "hey, I'm do this and that" and some reviews, including an interview with Mariage Blanc. Information on the FOOD SYSTEMS documentary will also be around and probably overtake certain months. But you will also see updates that trend my food purchases and dinner selections.

While I gear up on R and find some non-work-owned programs for database querying, I'll leave you with images and ingredients for the first seven logged dinners. 

Meal_001: Frozen sole and roasted green beans, shaved onion, chard, and dehydrated shaved onion.

Meal_002: Short Ribs from Butcher on Butler, sous-vide'd for 24-hours, purple yam (baked and fried), onion, carrot, mushroom, garlic. Green salad from yesterday with lemon and goat cheese.

Meal_003: Frozen tilapia, green beans, roasted dried mustard, kale, red onion, nori, garlic, pine nuts.

Meal_004: Frozen tilapia, cauliflower, sushi rice, nori, parsley, lemon, broccoli, onion.

Meal_005: roasted carrot, a puree of carrot, onion, garlic, red wine vinegar, and beef stock, onion, pea sprouts, lemon, baby bella mushroom, green beans, long squash, goat cheese.

Meal_006: Short Ribs from Butcher on Butler, sous-vide'd for 24-hours, a puree of carrot, onion, garlic, red wine vinegar, and beef stock, baby bella mushroom, carrot, long squash, red wine, pea sprouts, goat cheese. (This one was the winner. Probably, the best thing I have every made.)

Meal_007: Falafel from Salem's, carrot, pea sprouts, carmelized onion, walnuts,  goat cheese, chips made from dried fungus, and a sauce made with yogurt, oil from sundried tomatoes, sumac, cumin, cinnamon, and caraway seed.