food & drink: A simple, frugal meal from the Ypsilanti Food Co-op
So let me introduce you to a place where you can actually find a wholesome, nutritious meal — including dessert! — for a whopping $4.87 including tax.
When I go on my long evening walks, I often stop by the co-op just to see what goodies might be available that day. In addition to the standard groceries, you can find a variety of sandwiches and prepared foods. There are also luscious baked goods (breads, scones, cupcakes and such) prepared by the River Street Bakery, which is owned by the co-op and strategically located right next door.
I sometimes challenge myself to see if I can find anything there for less than $1. Health food stores have a reputation for being expensive, after all, with organic and fair trade and specialty products, so this project amuses me.
Once I found a basket with free samples of granola bars, and another time I bought a cucumber and limes on sale. The primo specimen, though, was a day-old baguette that had been sprinkled with assorted seeds (poppy, sesame) and was exquisite sliced and spread with butter!
But, as per usual, I digress. Back to the task at hand!
I doubt that it's possible to buy a supper for less than $1, but finding a good meal to bring home for less than $5 was quite a stellar accomplishment!
An eight-ounce cup of soup at the co-op costs just $2.97. I passed over the vegetarian chili in favor of a rich and creamy Potato Leek Pea Soup, intrigued by the addition of peas when I normally make my own version with just the first two ingredients. Soups, which vary each day, come with a slice of whole grain bread, a lovely complement and supplement.
And then I was seduced (as always) by the freshly baked treats. Mocha cupcakes, lemon-ginger scones, brownies... but each of these was out of the price range, and would have pushed me over the Frugal Floozie Friday limit.
A treat that's good for you! And it cost only $1.72.
The soup was very flavorful and perfectly seasoned, with hints of the peas shining through. And the cookie was sweet and spicy, with a tendency to fall apart without any eggs to bind it. But since I tend to break my food into pieces anyway, this was simply a cookie that someone must have baked just for me!
My light supper was ideal sustenance on a wretchedly summer-like day — hot soup to combat excessive air conditioning, which I loathe but don't get to control, though it was still light enough to be perfect for the season. The cookie was the essential sweet treat to finish the meal.
It's surprising just how far that $5 bill can go, isn't it? And how well you can eat for such a small amount.
Ypsilanti Food Co-Op
312 N. River St.
Ypsilanti, Michigan 48198
has won or placed in more than 60 cooking contests and writes about her adventures in the kitchen. She was thrilled to have her post about Scottish Oatmeal Shortbread named as one of the daily "Best of the Blogs" by the prestigious Food News Journal.
Go visit Mary's blog — Food Floozie — on which she enthuses and effuses over all things food-related. Her newest feature is Frugal Floozie Friday, seeking fun and food for $5 or less ... really! Feel free to email her with questions or comments or suggestions: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The phrase "You Should Only Be Happy" (written in Hebrew on the stone pictured at the top of this post) comes from Deuteronomy 16:15 and is a wish for all her readers as they cook along with her ... may you always be happy here.