Discredit- Collateral Damage from Business Meetings AND the return of my anti fast food challenge

The other day I had meeting, which was incidentally totally unrelated to food. My clients suggested meeting at the Lincoln Park Whole Foods. This may seem like a strange place to conduct business, but if you’ve been there you know that the place has everything but a bowling alley. They have features ranging from test kitchens and sushi bars to wine bars and massage parlors. It borders on bizarre, honestly.

In any case, after my hour long meeting with a lovely French man who distributes wine in Chicago and his wife, I paid the price of doing business…. and by that I mean I beelined for the Kombucha section, making (approximately 80) stops on the way, picking up everything from Spanish anchovies to produce I could have gotten at half the price at Stanley’s. I’m not sure what it is about Whole Foods, but they have my number and they won’t stop pressing redial.

For the record, the price of doing business at a Whole Foods is $289. 30…

… which makes me miss the days when I couldn’t get out of Whole Foods for under $80

Speaking of overpaying for one’s obsessions, this brings me full circle to a stance I threatened to take many weeks ago. After reading an article in the NY Times on the very issue, I’ve decided to put my money where my mouth is and cook two meals a day for the same cost as eating at [insert chain fast food restaurant here]. Since I understand that not everyone has the luxury of farmers’ markets and high end chains (not to mention it doesn’t serve my own purposes to buy expensive food whilst trying to prove a point on thrift) I will buy my groceries for the week at Target. A caviat: I will be going to a Target that offers fresh food; many have this feature now. I figure they have items one might find at Walmart, Kmart or whatever other discount establishment we are up to our eyeballs in ’round here.

Finally, the terms of my personal challenge:

If you follow the link I provided above, you’ll see that author Mark Bittman (a personal idol of mine) estimates the price of a meal for a family of 4 at McDonald’s at between $23 and $28. I’m happy to use his math, and to show some good faith, I’ll take on the challenge for $20, which means that I can spend $10 per meal for two. For those of you following along, that means I have $20 per day… giving me $140 for the week.

So let the challenge begin… and trust me if I hadn’t lost my favorite minimalist Mark Bittman’s cookbook to an unmarked box in my storage unit during the moving process, I would be thrilled to pay homage to him by using some of his recipes along the way.

Perhaps a visit to my storage unit is in order before the official launch of this challenge.


7 thoughts on “Discredit- Collateral Damage from Business Meetings AND the return of my anti fast food challenge

  1. okay, here’s what I don’t get…If $25 is the average tab for a family to eat at Wack Arnold’s, you can easily feed them for less with something better. Not like I don’t go the fast food route often, just saying that there are people out there who only do that and not only does it get old, it’s just awful to do on a consistent basis.

  2. Right! I’m sure you could also prove that you could get healthier take out options for the same price as the greasier/less healthy chains…. but what really got to me was this insistence that it’s someone else’s fault that people are turning to fast food as opposed to using fresh ingredients to cook for themselves. For instance that we must eat at McDonald’s twice a day because we can’t afford to buy groceries and prepare our own food.

    With certain exceptions, like families with single parents working extremely long hours who just can’t muster up the energy to cook every night, I’m trying to prove (with suggestions of meals that are simple and can be prepared without much fuss) that if I can cook two meals a day bearing in mind the luxury I have of not having to work long hours and raise children… that it is possible to buy groceries and prepare at least one meal a day for less than it costs to go to a fast food chain for every meal.

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