Sunday, January 8, 2012

Grocery store musings

I'm standing in the grocery store muttering to myself about the cost of seaweed.

Translation: I'm holding the only brand of sushi nori at my local grocery store and am realizing that rolling nori with my students is going to be an expensive undertaking. I have already decided to bring from home rice vinegar, tamari and sesame seeds – the recipe uses so little of each of these. And I am donating the sushi rice – we have a ginormous bag of it at home that we are unlikely to finish in this lifetime unless we start rolling a lot, and I mean A LOT, more nori. I still have to buy cucumber and avocado. And would it be too much to include a small package of smoked salmon in this culinary adventure?

The problem with this yearlong project is I have no idea what is a reasonable amount to spend on each recipe. Between the Tari Shattuck grant money and money fundraised for class activities last year, I have about $250 to spend this year on ingredients. If push comes to shove I can also use some of my classroom budget money from the consumables line item. (Could we get any more consumable than food ingredients?) At some point I set a goal to try and keep recipes under $10 although in retrospect I am not sure where this number came from. Some recipes have been so inexpensive that it seems like I should be able to splurge on the occasional dish using specialty ingredients. But there's no road map here; I am just guessing and hoping that I'll have enough money to last me the year.

Clarity comes as I finish my shopping. One point of cooking with my students during this U.S. Geography unit is to help make connections between their stomachs and our vast country. To do that, I have to bring the world to them. Now that we've marched our way across the U.S. to the Pacific coast, it's going to cost a bit more to bring foods of the region back to them. We'll be making California Rolls on Thursday. I'm pretty sure it'll be worth the cost.

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