Saturday, 6 September 2014

How I Calculate Ingredient Costs for Recipes

The flavours in question.
A friend of mine sent me a quick note about how she thought it was funny that I put $0.35 for olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper for my Spinach and Tomato Pasta Recipe.  "How did you get $0.35" she asked.

Well, I'm going to give her, and you, much more of an answer than she expected.

How Did I Come Up With That Number?

Olive Oil
A one litre bottle of olive oil on sale here goes for $2.97.  I figured that a 26er is 750 ml and would have 26 shots of olive oil in it.  A 1L bottle then would have like.. 30/35 shots?  Rough math of $3/bottle, divided by 30 shots, so $0.10 per shot, multiply by two because I put in more than usual...ya that's about $0.20.

A bag of 5 heads of garlic goes for $0.99 here.  Half a head of garlic therefore costs $0.10.

Salt and Pepper
I didn't really care enough to figure this one out.  So, $0.05.

That's Not A Very Exact Number

Meh.  There may come a time when I come across a recipe I really want to break down.  Maybe I'll pull out my food scale, compare regular price to sale prices, list coupons.  Who knows, maybe I'll start doing exactly that for my next recipe.  But I haven't felt like it yet.  The point was supposed to be that's it's cheap.  It is.

Besides, if I had used a very exact number I would have got replies from people saying that where they live it costs $XXX!  Or that where they shop it costs $XXX!  Or that if they wanted to go out and buy the ingredients they'd have to buy the whole container, so they can't make that for $XXX!

I Can't Get That For That Price

Well.  I can.

How Do You Get That For That Price?

I shop almost exclusively at a discount grocery store.  It's the closest one and if you really check your produce out before putting it into your cart the store usually meets my expectations.

I won't buy many pantry items full price.  If I have to I'm seriously upset for the rest of the day.  When the something is on for my stock up price, I buy enough to cover us until the next sale or until the stuff would expire.  See that fancy pepper in the picture?  I bought that at a fancy store on a walk through a more expensive part of town.  I can't remember what I paid because I won't pay it again, but that one kinda hurt.

I use coupons sometimes too.  If I've got them with me and I know I'd like the item, it's already on sale, and it's actually a good price with the coupon.

I used to keep a pretty detailed price book and travel around to multiple stores.  But that was because the cheap store was further away and I had to pass all the rest to get there.  Now I just skip the others and can usually tell when a deal is a real deal.

Anything Else?

Yup!  I was throwing out receipts from my purse and saw that I paid $0.43 for two roma tomatoes.  So, my off the cuff calculations were off.  I knew the tomatoes were on at $0.99/lb, but I just guessed how much a tomato weighed.  I'm going to take this response that has gone to far a step farther and will update the recipe with more accurate numbers.

Also, my actual response was "the answer ofcourse is scientic precision!"

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