Half Scottish, Half Japanese. Tempura Mars bar?

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I began writing this blog in October 2010 as a new father documenting food in his family. Before I knew it, I was in the final of MasterChef 2012. Now cooking is no longer just a hobby.

Monday 7 May 2012

Live Below The Line Part 2

In my previous blog (Part 1), I outlined the shopping list for Live Below The Line and what I planned to do with it. One of the major advantages of taking this challenge with a friend is that you can pool the £5 budgets and get more variety into the food. When I first agreed to the challenge, I assumed that our diet would be exclusively vegetarian, but our biggest extravagance this week is a chicken.

Chicken is generally cheaper than other meat (often worryingly cheap) and I'm sure we all eat far too much of it. But this particular blog isn't about the ethics of eating chicken or meat. There are many other people who research and write on this topic far better than me. This blog is about Live Below The Line, a campaign to raise awareness about the 1.4 billion people in the world that live on less than £1 a day.

The reason that the chicken is an extravagance is that it occupies 40% of our weekly budget, so I have been very conscious about getting the most out of it. On the way home from Scotland, we stopped at Westmorland Farm Shop in Cumbria and bought a local chicken for £4.00 exactly. It weighed in at just under 1.4kg (i.e. £3 per kilo).

By jointing the chicken myself, I reckon I have managed to get 12 portions out of it (that's about 30p per portion), before including the portions of soup that I will make from the stock. Admittedly, the portions are not particularly generous.

2x 170g chicken breast fillets
2x 30g chicken breast mini-fillets
2x 150g chicken thighs
2x 100g chicken drumsticks
2x 80g chicken wings
1 chicken carcass, about 400g

I compared how much this would cost if the supermarket did the butchery for you.

2 chicken breasts, £6.16 for 400g
2 chicken thighs, £1.43 for 300g
2 chicken legs, £0.85 for 200g
2 chicken wings, £0.65 for 160g
Chicken stock, £2.69 for 500g

That works out at almost £12 per kilo, butchered, compared to the £3 per kilo for the whole chicken. The most expensive cut is the breast, which at more than £15 per kilo, is more expensive than some cuts of beef!

I'll save some of the details of what I did with the chicken for a subsequent blog. 

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