The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean is predicting a 40% unemployment rate in Barbados in December 2020. To survive, many may need to learn how to make money stretch.
Every evening, I eat a delightfully healthy, nutritious, and well satisfying meal with my family. I cook this meal myself, and each forkful brings me immense pleasure. At the end of the meal, my taste-buds were well-activated and my belly is full.
While some fine dining (big-plate small-food) restaurants may charge me over $100 per meal to artificially activate my taste-buds, my home-dinner normally costs $1.20 per plate, and does the same thing naturally. Yes, one dollar and twenty cents. Let me show you how.
First, I stopped eating the corpses of dead animals few years ago; neither fish, fowl, nor beast of the field. This saves me about $75 each month per plate. If four persons in a household eat meat, then that costs about $300 per month per plate on meat alone. I get my proteins from lentil peas. The ingredients follow.
I buy one bag of Camellia lentil peas for $4.62 including VAT. The ‘local’ brands, which are a lot cheaper, simply package imported peas, but do not state the source. That is against the laws of Barbados. I complained to the authorities, but no one seems to care.
I buy a 2-lb bag of Uncle Ben’s whole grain (brown) rice for $12.39. Again, the ‘local’ brands are a lot cheaper, but I do not support lawbreakers. Is the source country using child, enslaved, or prison labour? I care about such matters.
I buy a can of non-genetically modified (Non GMO) corn for $3.50. I can purchase genetically modified corn for less, but I care about what I eat. I buy Premium Bajan Seasoning with no Monosodium glutamate (MSG) for $4.99. If I can find Went Work’s seasoning, I but that instead. I also buy ginger ($0.85), garlic ($0.39), two medium sized onions ($0.96), and four large carrots ($3.85).
So, here is the recipe, which takes less than 30 minutes to prepare. I pour the bag of lentils and half of the bag of rice in a container, and rinse them. Then I put the rinsed contents in a large pot, with the same volume of water.
While the peas and rice are soaking, I cut up the two onions (in fine pieces), one-third of the ginger (large so they can be removed later), and two cloves of garlic (fine), and add them to the pot. I also put in a tablespoon of the seasoning, a teaspoon of sea-salt, and a sprinkle of ground cayenne pepper.
I then turn on the heat to high, and stir the mixture until all of the ingredients are mixed. Once the water starts boiling, I turn it to low, cover the pot while leaving a small gap, and let it simmer for 15 minutes (I use a timer).
While it is simmering, I cut up two large carrots (1/2 lb), and rinse the carrots and the can of corn. After 15 minutes of simmering, a little water should be in the bottom of the pot. I mix in the carrots and the corn and let it simmer for two minutes before turning off the heat. What is not eaten is portioned in containers and frozen for later use.
The cost of the high-priced ingredients used in the pot was $18. The pot holds 15 plates of food. Therefore, each plate costs $1.20. If I bought the cheapest rice, peas, corn, and seasoning, then each plate would cost about $0.85.
I can enhance each plate with one third of a chopped apple, so that each fork-full has a piece. That brings the total cost to $1.40 (or $1.05 using the cheaper foods). So, what do I do with the savings I make for eating in this manner? I buy meats for my family.
Merry Christmas everyone.