August 17, 2007

Three Dollar Burger

With everything CSA, I'm trying to keep track of the cost, firmly believing that this food is no more expensive than processed alternatives. But I may be facing some evidence to the contrary with the meat I just bought. Oh, sure, it's true cost is fully reflected in the price rather than hidden in transportation and farm subsidies and environmental degradation, but that reflection felt like a bright glare this morning when I saw 5.38 lbs, $21.52 labeled on my chicken. Yes, a $21 chicken. Don't tell my husband.

I'm waiting, though, because I feel like these prices need a better context. How many meals will they make? Will we eat out less? Will we feel more satisfied with less? I suspect that we'll have roughly 8 meals out of the meat, that's roughly $12 per meal for a family of 4. Considering that I discovered that one of the flank steaks is labeled as a cut of petite fillet (what do I know about cuts of meat?), I guess that's not horrible. But this chicken is no $8 Rocky.

Tonight we had hamburgers, and I will say this, they were most definitely worth it. Worth it especially, because since I knew these animals were not eating by-products of other animals, I felt confident that they could be cooked barely medium-rare. I like my meat bloody.

The texture was better too. Firmer, but not heavy. No gritty mealiness, none. I don't really eat fast food burgers except on road trips in the middle of nowhere, but they were a million miles in terms of texture and flavor from those flat, mealy, gray patties. They also surpassed the grass-fed hamburger of unknown origin I'd been buying at Trader Joe's. And I didn't have to drive to Emeryville.

The flavor, alone was strong and a touch gamey. But on a bun from Grand Bakery with bread and butter pickles, heirloom tomatoes and mayonnaise, they tasted pretty damn good.


Kelly Mahoney said...

My mom used to marvel in the cost per meal, so I understand why you want to wait to use the product to see how it turns out. It does seem like an expensive chicken, but I'm sure the flavor is superior. The key, I suppose, is to use every bit of the chicken, perhaps using whatever leftovers to make broth that you can freeze and use later on, or using any scraps of meat for sandwiches. And a $3 isn't bad at all! Carl's Jr. advertises the $6 burger and it's horrible.

Miche said...

You know, boneless, skinless chicken breast at Safeway goes for $5.49/lb. (I just looked it up). So, to pay less than that for a beautiful whole chicken that you will use more than once (stock) and that you know was raised with minimal affect on the environment is amazing!!

I was just reading that at Babbo, they make their chicken stock from the feet ;)