Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Shabbos meal for 10 for only $49.20 ?

 As America celebrates the national Holiday of Thanksgiving, and family's will join together in the traditional Thanksgiving dinner.The American Farm Bureau Federation estimates the meal will cost $49.20 for a family of 10, up $5.73 from last year.That estimate includes a 16-pound turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, bread rolls and butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk -- but not wine or beer. Turkey itself is 22 percent more expensive, due in part to growing demand from China for American turkey parts. It's all a far cry from the original Thanksgiving in 1621 when Pilgrim settlers from England sat down with native Americans for a three-day feast in modern-day Massachusetts to thank God for bountiful harvests in the New World.
As frum Yidden with kosher food prices plus large mishpachos  $ 49.20 wouldn't cover the basic Shabbos  meal for even 3 people. This just brings out the point when looking at average expenses and challenges we face as Yidden, comparing our expenses with the national average just does not factor in.



  2. Why wouldn't $49.20 cover Shabbos meals for three or even 13 people? Come on over -- I'll bet I can make Shabbos for 10-15 people for that amount.

    Yael in Silver Spring but soon of Tokyo (again)

  3. here are the basics with no extras:

    1 bottle of wine or grape juice for kiddush
    2 Challos
    gefilta fish
    chicken soup
    chicken with potatoe kugel

    add on salad, Chrain, humus, soup nuts, pickles, dips side dishes,soda etc.. all for under $50?????

  4. It all depends on how you define "basics". Here is an admittedly much more basic shabbos dinner for 10, for $45.20. This sounds pretty lean compared to the earlier list, but for some of us (for me, for example) this is actually quite a spread. I spend less than $49.20 for food and household supplies in a week.

    Grape juice (4 oz): $0.20 (This is at the best price in my area, $3 / 64 oz at pesach and such. I buy a lot of bottles at these times and use them over the whole year. I'm told that in bigger communities, you can get it much cheaper than that.)

    Everyone drinks water at the meal.

    2 challos: $3.50 for yeast, flour, water, salt, to make your own.

    Chicken: $28.50 (3 chickens for 10 people, at $9.50 / chicken. Note that you can get a much better price than this if you stock up during sales and freeze the chickens until you need them. Also, you can save the chicken carcasses and make soup later in the week, so you get some extra mileage for your $28.50.)

    Potatoes: $3 / 5 lbs. Roast them with a little salt, pepper, and oil.

    Side: $6 / 2 heads of cauliflower. Roasted, again.

    Dessert: $4 / 2 lbs of grapes.

  5. I have a family of 6, two of them teenage boys, who like to eat. Our weekly food budget is about $120 a week, yes we keep strictly kosher, and I could lower it if I had to (don't always have time to take advantage of the best sales).
    1--You don't need a whole bottle of wine (expensive) or even grape juice (less expensive, but still) for kiddush. Pour a cup, say your kiddush, give everyone a bit, take off the table.
    2--Soda?!? First of all, if you want to serve your family that junk, feel free; I do not. We make lemonade--a cup of lemon juice, a cup of sugar in a pitcher of water. Total cost under 50 cents.
    3--Have gefilte fish if you must, or buy a can of salmon and make salmon cakes/croquettes for first course. A can of salmon an be had for $1.99 on sale and will easily make 8 patties.
    4--Challot--make your own. 1 egg, 4 cups of flour, water, a bit of oil, yeast, total cost maybe $1, maybe less.
    5--Chicken soup--get chicken bones at $1 a pound (3 lb should do it), add some veggies, cook up a pot that may last 2 weeks. And take the bits of meat off the bones when cooked and make fried rice (makes a whole other meal for next to nothing) or chicken salad or chicken croquettes. Or serve the bits of chicken in the soup.
    6--Matza balls will be $2-3 made from scratch, unless you stocked up on matza meal after Passover at $1 a box, in which case they will cost a few cents. Egg noodles have gone up in price, I think about $2 a package. We also use some other soup fillings, but I think they may be unique to my family. They are cheap.
    7--Chicken is indeed expensive, but things seem the least expensive of the cuts, and a $10 package suffices for our family. Boneless chicken cutlets can be cut thin and made into shnitzel for less, I think (I usually get huge packages and divide and freeze, so it's hard to estimate). I do shop local sales for chicken and fill the freezer whenever I get a good deal.
    8--Potatoes are $3 for 5 lb on a bad day, less on a good day. Eggs are 10-15 cents each. So let's say $3 for potato kugel. I serve rosted potatoes, so not sure how many you'd need for a kugel. Make rice for another side dish, or some other grain for under $1. Or make a carrot kugel or onion kugel or squash kugel if that's what's cheap that week.
    9--Dessert--home-med brownies or blondies or chocolate cake, or zucchini bread or banana bread (not from a mix, usually made with produce from a reduced rack). Cost--$1-3, depending on what I am making.
    10--Humus--make your own. Even if you use canned chickpeas, It will cost about $3 for a lot of humus.
    11--Salad--lettuce, tomatoes, cukes, radishes, whatever--I usually get from reduced bin and made do with what's available, maybe $5 if you get from regular rack, but select items on sale that week. Pickles are a treat.
    Grand total--definitely under $50, and can be much less if you shop carefully.
    I live in NY, so prices reflect that. However, I work full time, so prices reflect that too (could be lower if I had time to shop more carefully).