Have you noticed that food websites and blogs generally don’t give information on how much their recipes cost to make? Often they pay attention to how long a recipe takes to prepare, but I’ve only found one other site, Broke Ass Gourmet (an awesome and fun resource for home cooks), that provides cost data for its recipes.
I find it particularly strange that recipe cost information is so hard to find on-line, given that restaurant reviews often rank by cost and sometimes provide the average cost of a meal. Recipe costs matter for home cooks, especially if you are trying to save money cooking. Though home cooked meals are generally less expensive than going out, you can still spend a bundle on an expensive recipe. It is difficult and time-consuming for readers to figure out recipe costs on their own. So, I’m going to try to provide cost estimates for each recipe posted on this site.
There are regional variations in the cost of food and the costs may change over time after a recipe/cost calculation is posted. Still, it is helpful to have a ballpark idea for how much a particular recipe costs to make before you decide if it is worth the effort and cost.
I’ve started this cost information experiment with a chart at the end of the banana bread/muffin recipe. My chart-making skills leave something to be desired and this is still a work in progress. Let me know whether the format works, how it could be improved and whether there is other information that should be included.
Back in my newlywed days (early Pleistocene according to my kids), I once sent my husband out with a shopping list that included radicchio. Neither of us knew what radicchio was, what it looked like, or what it cost – I simply copied the ingredients from a gourmet recipe I wanted to try. Several hours later, he arrived back at the house, triumphant after an expedition that ended at a gourmet food store where I had mostly window shopped because the prices were so high. His grocery bag contained a rather puny vegetable that looked like a red cabbage, but cost about $10.
I know it's hard to believe or remember if you're old enough, but in the days before the internet and cell phones, it wasn’t easy to research and consult on such important matters. I can’t recall what the recipe was, but I do recall thinking that if I’d known that radicchio would cost about as much as all the other dinner ingredients combined, I would have skipped it or found another recipe.
I’d like to save you from such unpleasant surprises, or at least get you in the habit of considering ingredient and recipe costs as you learn how to make home cooking work for you.