There are thousands of cooking blogs -- each week, we bring you highlights from the best. This week, we've got dirt cheap dinners on the brain.
The locavore's biggest beast (other than the whole heritage hog marinating in the bathtub) is the argument that it is too expensive to feed one's family with 100% local ingredients. So we've got all eyes and ears tuned to Cate, a mother, English professor and blogger who's risen to the challenge. Sickened by excessive receipts and waste in the fridge, she embarked upon an adventure in restraint: One Hundred A Week (groceries and meals for a family of four on $100 per week).
Writing with a deft grace of the smartest of cooks, Cate resolved to document her quest to halve her family grocery budget under three distinct precepts:
1) Good food can and should be thrifty.
2) Supporting small, local farms is just as important as, and must go hand-in-hand with, thrift.
3) Take up a more hands-on kitchen -- and of course to keep up with the project in at least one blog post per week.
In one of the funniest 'About' sections we've encountered on a blog, she describes herself as a recipe: "Fold in a snowstorm, books (the paper and ink variety), a small childhood on a Great Lake, NPR, the city of three rivers, tomato-basil soup, Polish hard-headedness, and all the continents, save Antarctica." That's the tone in a nutshell.
One Hundred A Week is the antithesis of a glitzy blog -- it's about the simple, basic joy of eating frugally and the beauty of homemade. The photos are homey, as are the recipes. In wonderfully witty posts, the life of a family unfolds, for whom breakfast is muffins baked the night before, clementines are preserved in house, and the frozen aisle, when approached with smart finesse, has its merits. Fed up at the price of their artisan bread addiction, they bake their own. Häagen-Dazs pricey and unsustainable? They churn out perfect peppermint ice cream. And why not raise some chickens, while they're at it?
When it comes to making change in our broken food system, nothing is more important than supporting local producers and the notion of DIY -- this family takes on agribusiness one loaf of a bread at a time.