By: Catherine Roth
If I was to identify with one Disney Princess, it would definitely be Snow White. As a modern interpretation, I live with only three men (or as they say, “sure, we’re only boys”) instead of the traditional seven. However, just like my spirit-princess, I can’t resist a Red Delicious.
I was sitting at the kitchen table in my apartment a few nights ago, chronicling my receipts and stocklist, when one of my housemates (call this one Doc) asked what I was doing.
“I keep a list of all the meals I have prepared in the freezer,” I told Doc while inwardly realizing how identical to my mother I was becoming.
“That’s a little extreme,” Doc replied.
“I guess,” I allowed him, “but I like to make sure that I only have things I really need on my shopping list.”
This was the point when I discovered that Doc has never made a list before going to the grocery store. I polled the other housemates and discovered that Sneezy and Happy also have never, and never plan to write out a list before they enter the shops.
“How would I know what I want before I go to the shop and see it there?” Sneezy questioned me.
Now, I wouldn’t think to force Doc, Sneezy, and Happy to adopt my borderline obsessive grocery habits, but likewise, they won’t be able to pry my list from my cold, apple-induced, comatose fingers. I love cooking, but I also enjoy knowing all of the stats to my kitchen activities: Servings per recipe, cost per serving, and calorie counts.
I am aware that most people lean towards the grocery planning that Doc, Sneezy and Happy favour, but if you want a glimpse into Snow White and Her Obsessive Kitchen Lists, here we are.
One of my favourite splurge items is green pesto. A 280g jar costs €2.25 at Tesco, but I’ve decided that for me it is a small price for such bright green happiness. At €1 for 1kg (less than 10ȼ per 75g serving), I fix a lot of pasta, and I often find myself in a tomato-based rut.
I prepare my pasta by heating the pan with about a tablespoon of sunflower oil in the saucepan. This is where I relax a bit with my economic tally, because only a really crazy person would care that at €1.60 for a litre, a tablespoon costs about 2ȼ, right?
Anyway, I use a scale to weigh my pasta while the pan is heating and while I set water to boil in the electric kettle. Because I saw my former Italian housemate do it this way once when she made us pasta at 4am when we got back from a nightclub, I put the pasta in with the warming oil, and toss to coat while I wait for the water to boil. Once the water from the kettle is hot enough, I pour enough to cover the pasta.
The first thing that I do a little differently with this meal, is that I take one lemon, sliced in half (about 25ȼ, since I but my lemons in a €1 four pack) and squeeze the juice into the water with the pasta. I also throw the halves in with the water, because I saw someone do that on a food show once.
The lemon makes the pasta water go a bit milky-looking.
When the pasta is cooked, I scoop out most of the water and put it in a m. This is another bit of cooking advice I’ve gleaned from telly chefs (Sneezy is addicted to Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals, though he’s never tried to make one of those meals). I throw the pasta into the colander to drain and finally bring out the pesto.
I used a heaping tablespoon of pesto (about 30ȼ worth), which I put in the now empty saucepan. I add about 150ml of the reserved pasta water to the pesto, and let it simmer long enough for one Maroon 5 song and an ad break to play on the radio (about 7 minutes).
I add the pasta to the pan again, and stir to coat. Finally, because I am such a princess, I put the Pesto Pasta in a bowl to serve.
If I was rich, I would probably add some shredded chicken. If I didn’t have any of these ingredients in my stores, I would cost me €5.85 to stock up for this recipe. I keep pasta and sunflower oil in my pantry, and I tend to usually purchase fresh lemons or limes for the meals I like to cook. The green pesto is a more occasional purchase for me, and on jar will last through several weeks of use. This meal cost me a little less than €1 to prepare. According to the values I found on MyFitnessPal.com, runs about 540 calories.