What many people out there might not know is that the kitchen in our house, which was built in the early 1940s and is otherwise very charming and spacious, is about the size of a very small walk-in closet. There are 4 very small cupboards, requiring us to keep most of our gadgets and pots in the basement, and the counter space comprises about 2 square feet—enough room for one plate or one pot, with the stove and edge of the sink serving as auxiliary work surfaces. As you can imagine, this prompts much teeth-gnashing on my part, as well as constant dishwashing diligence. Sometimes, due to circumstances beyond our control, the latter does not get done, as was the case this weekend. Therefore, this may not be the most inexpensive meal we eat this week, but it’s certainly the quickest and easiest. It doesn’t take but 20 minutes from start to finish—and I mean “start” as in taking the package of bacon out of the freezer, not putting food in a pan. Any pasta shape or type of greens are suitable, and you could even swap out the bacon for Italian sausage and balsamic vinegar for a few splashes of white wine if that’s what you have on hand.
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• All-purpose flour: $8.05/400 oz. = 2 cents/oz., 10 cents/cup
• Apples: 78 cents/lb. (about 40 cents per apple)
• Arborio rice: $1.85/lb.
• Bacon: $2.75/lb. = 17 cents/oz.
• Beans (black): 99 cents/lb.
• Beans (navy): $1.08/lb.
• Butter (unsalted): $2 for 4 sticks: 6 cents/T
• Buttermilk: $1.49/quart = 37 cents/cup
• Canola oil: $8.99/160 oz. = 6 cents/oz. or 3 cents/T
• Carrots: 50 cents/lb., 15 carrots/lb. = 3 cents/carrot
• Celery: 99 cents/10 stalks: 9 cents/stalk
• Chicken (and beef) broth base: $6.89/16 oz. = 43 cents/oz., 21.5 cents/T, 7 cents/tsp (1 tsp = 8 oz.)
• Chickpeas: $1.49/lb. = 9 cents/oz.
• Farro: $1.69/lb. = 11 cents/oz.
• Garlic: 25 cents/head, 12 cloves: 2 cents/clove
• Half & half: $2.39/quart = 60 cents/cup
• Lemongrass: 53 cents/6 stalks: 9 cents/stalk
• Milk: $1.99/gallon = 16 cents/cup
• Oats: 25 cents/lb., 1 oz./half cup = 2 cents per 1/2 cup
• Olive oil: $22.79/203 oz. = 11 cents/oz. or 5.5 cents/T
• Onions: 49 cents/lb. (about 25 cents per large onion)
• Parmesan: $2.50/8 oz., 31 cents/oz.
• Pine nuts: $15.32/lb., about $1.30 for 2 T
• Porcini (dried): $4.03/oz.
• Quinoa: $4.29/lb.
• Shallots: 99 cents/lb. (about 87 cents for 1 very large shallot)
• Shiitake (dried): 51 cents/oz.
• Salt (kosher): $1.25/48 oz. = 3 cents/oz.
• Sugar (granulated): 52 cents/lb., 23 cents/cup