Could we change our attitude, we should not only see life differently, but life itself would come to be different. ~ Katherine Mansfield

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The cost of guilt-free chicken.

I roasted my first chicken this week. I’ll pause a moment for applause. It really was delicious, and at a cost of $18 it should have been!

Yes, we actually spent $18.19 for a sustainably raised, humanely handled, 4-pound whole chicken. Let me explain.

Last weekend Gabe and I packed the boys up and made a quick trek to a fabulous indoor farmers market (check it out Denverites: to spend quite a bit of money on what initially appeared to be not much food. Looking into our basket, I started to fall prey to the idea that we could no longer afford to buy organic and eat well.

And yet…

The initial meal from our chicken consisted of said chicken being seasoned with salt, pepper, olive oil, garlic, fresh rosemary and thyme. The rosemary cost $3, and the other ingredients I had on hand. I added some carrots, potatoes and mushrooms (totaling roughly $7). So far we are at $28.19. I’m going to round up to $30 just in case I missed anything. And a braver woman would have been able to do something with the heart, liver and surprisingly long and phallic neck, but I removed all of these while gagging and wishing I’d bought chicken breasts instead.

Meal #1 – delightful roast chicken and vegetables eaten by me, Gabe and Jude. $30.

The next day Gabe ate the chicken for a sizeable snack, and we were also able to do dinner that night by adding salad ($4) and a baguette ($3). Meal #2 only $7.

For the coup de grĂ¢ce, I boiled the carcass with the leftover vegetables while adding some additional salt, bay leaves, garlic and sage – all on hand in the pantry. I ended up with 5 cups of delicious stock. A 4-cup box of organic chicken stock costs $3.50, so I actually made $4.38!

So, that $18 chicken and $19 in accompaniments actually averaged $18.50 a meal for two meals, and grossed us a free snack and 5 cups of chicken stock. That’s cheap. Burgers and fries for the three of use usually costs about $15. We can easily drop $20 at Chipotle, and if Gabe and I go out to dinner it never costs less than $20 a plate. And, this meal had no additives, no heartburn, and some nice karmic appeal for the chicken that lived a good life…before we ate her. Thanks chicken.