My blogging friend Noelle has started something wonderful - the Anti Walmart Challenge. Not that I'm against Wal Mart...I haven't ever really shopped at one since they have been drummed out of Ann Arbor every time they propose to build one around here, but I really take issue with their commercials. If you watch any TV at all, you’ve probably seen one of Wal Mart’s recent ads that feature a mom bragging about how she can feed her family on food from Wal Mart on less than $2 a serving. One of the ads is at breakfast time, and the products featured are a sugary yogurt targeted at kids, toaster pastry, and some soy milk. Why soy milk when she's feeding them the neon colored yogurt? The other ad takes place at dinnertime and the meal consists of frozen garlic bread, bagged salad, bottled Wal Mart brand salad dressing and spaghetti. What Noelle has proposed is for food bloggers to post about how cooking from scratch can save money. I really like this idea....plus she is going to donate $2 for every post she gets to Gleaners Food Bank, which helps feed the hungry in the Detroit area. Detroiters really need the help right now...many people out of work, many families are struggling to put food on the table.
I decided to go right for the Walmart jugular and start with spaghetti. Yes, it might take a little less forethought to just use a jar of Walmart sauce and a bag of salad and a bottle of Walmart salad dressing and some frozen garlic bread. With a little forethought, this meal can be made by a working person after a long work day. First, in the morning, get a head start by making my crockpot spaghetti sauce with 4 lbs of ground beef and an additional can of tomato puree. The good news here is that it makes enough for 4 meals, so the rest can be frozen for another 3 days worth of meals. This results in homemade spaghetti that actually has meat in it for $1.17 per serving. Note that I didn't sale shop for these prices - this is just what happened to turn up at Busch's this week. $1.99 per pound isn't a great price for ground beef....you can sometimes get it for $.99 cents/lb in a 5 lb tube which would even make this price even better. I am sure Walmart sells it that way...check it out. Then, serve the spaghetti with home made garlic bread made from a grocery store baguette for $.21 per serving. This price could even be reduced more by baking a frozen bread dough loaf instead of using a baguette from the bakery. Lastly, a salad made from half head of iceberg lettuce, a quarter head of red cabbage and 2 grated carrots, and my son's salad dressing for $.52 per serving.
Without even trying hard, my meal is $1.90 per serving. The hardest part about this venture was tallying up the costs - it certainly wasn't cooking it!