It is the sign of the times when Wine Spectator (October 15, 2009) has an article about the best boxed wines as part of its issue devoted to wines under $20 and $10. The economy has some wine drinkers turning their noses up at the wine market for bottles $20 and up, whereas the $20 and under market is surging. Some growers have had a difficult time selling their varietal grapes so the quality of lower priced wines may increase, at least for the next couple of years.
People may be cutting back on more expensive wines, but wines that sell for less than $10 for a standard bottle have gained new popularity and have increased in quality. Box wines vary in size from 1-3 liters making boxes wines very affordable. I have tried a couple of different boxed wines and these aren’t the old jug wines of long ago, recyclable packing, and an airtight inner container in the box makes the wine stay fresh for a while, even if you have just one glass a day for a couple of weeks.
Could you eat well for $50 a week?
The challenge posed by some bloggers is to spend $50 a week per adult on good food. Is it possible? Coffee is included as part of the beverages but not alcoholic beverages.
Just considering the cost of food, my first response to eating well for $50 a week means that you must know how to cook and be creative. Otherwise the $50 will go rather quickly. Having a variety of foods to eat and shopping on sale is possible. Maybe because I know how to cook and like buying inexpensive wine to drink with dinner (less than $10 but higher than two-buck Chuck).
Many people will say that $50 is a lot. Actually $50 allows people to spend money on treats and not have all of the meals only cost $5 for a family of 4. Even ordering out could fit into this schema. For people who love food, foodies, spending $50 a week is a stretch and is probably a lot less than they would usually spend without a budget.
Everyone has a cheap meal that is filling that they like to make. This isn’t necessarily great food that you would eat all of the time. Unfortunately, some people are forced to feed a family on $100 a week for several people but may miss out on seasonal fruits and vegetables because they are too costly.
The premise of the experiment is to eat well. Not just eat. Detractors who say that the threshold is too high don’t really understand that quality food costs more. There is eating, and eating well. If you are looking for a filling meal you can often get that cheap. The question is what is the long term cost?
This will be something to revisit. Bypass the Time review of the concept, and just go to the site itself.
It may not happen often, but there are occasions when you are stuck with some food item that you don’t like. Let’s say you had a party and bought some mustard or other item for your guests. Then you are stuck with it. What to do?
Have you ever had a bottle of salad dressing, or condiment or wine that was perfectly good, just not to your tastes? Use it as a marinade. Even if you aren’t a mustard fan, condiments like mustard have low or no sodium and when mixed with other spices, adds zest to your meat without the regular mustard taste.
Have a bottle of wine at home that wasn’t tainted by the cork, you just didn’t like it? Use it for the beginnings or addition to a great marinade. In any recipe that requires vinegar, wine can be used, it helps tenderize the meat. At the high temperatures the alcohol burns off and you are left with flavor – even if you didn’t like the wine straight form the bottle, combined with other seasonings, you won’t notice it.
Sounds incredulous but it is true. Combining some ingredients you don’t like by themselves with ones you already like, will give your steak, chicken or even pasta sauce a new dimension.
There are times though when you cannot think of another way to use an item, such as an ice cream that you didn’t like. Toss it.
Berries aren’t very sweet? Add a little sugar to them, and either cut or slightly mash them. Let them sit and use them for a fruit topping for pancakes, waffles or even vanilla ice cream.
Think before you throw it away!
Here are a few interesting articles and websites.
I could have told you that since instead of junk mail, I have been getting pleas via snail and email from organizations I have never donated to, donated to in the past or never knew existed.
This is what happens when a quarter of your town is out of work overnight – they protest.
The number is still very high.
This is a listing for area restaurants that allow you to bring your own wine. Even if you order the least expensive glass on the menu, that can still be about half the price of your entree. The site lists corkage fees and lets you search by location. There are BYO sites for 10 US cites.
Fed up with the Recession?
Bad news… saving and cutting back may have been a fad for some. Spending less on everything isn’t flying with some people.
Short version: work, continue to save, start saving if you haven’t already. Also, did I mention you may have to work well into your 60s? You’ll have more money though.
HINT: The current president’s predecessor’s policies had a lot to do with it.
Home brewing is becoming more popular… Check out this video from Time.
I enjoy wine but I haven’t gotten to the point that I want to make my own for consumption. The wine I buy for daily consumption is relatively inexpensive. I do not see myself as a craftsman of fine wine and taking the time to make something I want to do. There are kits to make wine and you have to keep the wine in a temperature controlled area, in the dark, agitate the container. With the money that I could spend buying the kit, I could have gone to a wine ship, or even a grocery store and found a nice inexpensive bottle of wine to have.
Granted people like making their own things. There are things I make that others would never even consider. There is a cult status of making wine and beer. Depending on the ingredients you may not really save that much money, but it is something that you can say you did yourself and gives you a pastime.