Saturday, March 2, 2013


Operation Saturday Morning featured Jackie Chan, and now I want that closing theme as a ringtone. This has nothing at all to do with food.

The avocado was perfect. I had it as my breakfast with the 4th hard-boiled egg. The kids had Krunch.

Last night's supper, Tuna Melt, is all gone. No leftovers, except the portion of tuna salad that didn't fit on six slices of bread.

Cyb's Sketchy Tuna Salad Recipe
3 cans tuna, drained a little- more if they're packed in water, less if they're packed in oil*
3 hard-boiled eggs, or 4 maybe. 1 egg per can of tuna, plus one.
3 stalks celery, chopped smallish, or largeish, or more celery if you like a salad-y tuna salad
2 slices of onion, minced
salt & pepper -some, not too much. The amount you like
dill. -you know, some
parsley -some. As much as dill, or more, or less if you prefer dill.
mayonnaise or ranch dressing, enough to moisten and make it all stick together

You notice there is no pickle in this recipe. Yeah, do what you want. I don't like pickle in my tuna.

*Leaving the oil in means using less mayonnaise. Why take out and throw away something (fat) you want to put back in later? Plus the oil tastes tuna-y and doesn't have that weird mouthfeel.

That's it. Tuna Melts are simply slices of bread covered with tuna salad then topped with cheese. I have made them in my iron skillet on the stovetop, but they were much easier and far less burned last night because I put them in a stoneware baker in the oven. Pizza stone would also have worked, but because my pizza stone doesn't have edges, I find it hard to handle. Food falls off, which defeats the point of having cooked.

 I made 6 open-faced sandwiches. Wednesday requested cheddar cheese, and ate two sandwiches. Pugsley didn't care, so the rest had Swiss, which is my preference.Wednesday ate two, I had one, and Pugsley had three. I count that a successful meal. Since the tuna is the only thing I bought for that meal this week, this week's grocery purchases don't factor much into calculating the cost, but here's a go.

3 cans tuna      $3
3 boiled eggs    .50  (I buy eggs $4/3 dozen; ~.12 per egg; we'll say .50)*
celery             1 .80 (a whole...bunch? head? I didn't buy it. Mother said, "Take this." I did.)
onion              $2 (for a whole bag of yellow onions, and I used a portion of one of the halves in the fridge             ...know what? We're not gonna count the onion. Cuz if I'd been out of onion, I'd've used minced onion from the spice cabinet. We also won't count the mayo. I have no idea how long that jar has been in the fridge. I probably paid $2 at the Aldi for it in August. We don't use much mayo. You may have picked up that I kind of don't like it.)
bread                .60 ($1.30 for the whole loaf. 20 slices to a loaf; we used less than a third.)
cheese           1.80 (I used roughly half a block, but 2 sorts of cheese; we'll count a whole one.)

That's looking like $7.70 for dinner. About $1.29 per sandwich. Which throws the Five Dollar Foot Long from the category of Super Cheap Food! into Not That Reasonable, Really.

(Also, I have, as mentioned, some tuna salad left over. It's maybe two or three sandwiches worth of tuna salad. Is it now "free", since my calculations for Tuna Melt included ALL of the tuna salad?)

*Unlike the onion, egg is not optional to my tuna salad. Wednesday got out ingredients for me, and when I'd assembled stuff asked. "Where's the egg?" I told her the egg in tuna salad needed to be boiled. She said, "Well, how long does THAT take?" She was willing to wait the additional 10 or so minutes it would take to boil, cool and peel eggs in order to have it the way it "should" be. Where are the Ravenous MUST EAT NOW Teenagers I heard about when I was a young mother? Ideally, I'd've put in all 4 of the eggs I boiled, but I wanted the last one for my breakfast. Sure, I could've cooked another one. Shaddap.

One of the benefits of a food cost analysis experiment like this one is the inevitable reevaluation of what constitutes a good value and a responsible assignation of food dollars. When the kids and I did our $1/day experiment a few summers ago, $3 for 6 donuts stopped looking like a good deal.

It's been mentioned to me that I am fortunate enough to have found an absurdly cheap place to purchase food, one that isn't universally available. If I were a Good Researcher, I'd take my Meal Plans and Shopping Lists to the Giant, the Safeway, SuperWalMart and Food Lion, comparing my totals, averaging them, figuring out an approximate budget available to Most People. Because of Circumstances, I simply can't do so- every $3 I save is almost a gallon of fuel for the car, and yes it is That Bad, and has been for awhile. HOWEVER. What I can do is take my register receipts to other groceries and write down their prices on the items I purchased. I'll do Food Lion today.

I plan to add to the blog little gadgets and stuff, but this morning realized that fiddling with gadgets was NOT ACTUALLY WRITING.  It was using my time, and I wanted to write. So, gadgets later, when I don't mind spending the time fiddling instead of writing.

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