Cost of Food

How To Cook
Foods Differ Greatly in Cost
One pound of rice costs much less than one pound of beefsteak. One cut of meat may cost less per pound than another. Twenty-five cents buys much less in weight of sweetbreads than of beefsteak.

Many factors other than difference in cost must, however, be taken into consideration when determining the value of foods.

Cost of Food in Relation to Nutritive Value
Foods differ in nutritive value per pound. One pound of dried split peas contains more than three times as much nutriment as one pound of fresh peas. The nutritive value of a pound of sweetbreads is much less than that of a pound of beefsteak.

Cost of Food in Relation to Refuse
Although one cut of meat may sell for more than another, the higher priced one may be cheaper because there is less waste. In most localities flank steak costs more per pound than shoulder steak; yet flank steak is the cheaper meat because it is all edible, while there is about one fifth waste in most shoulder steak. One pays for some refuse even when purchasing eggs.

Cost of Food in Relation to Season
Most foods are higher in price when out of season. Strawberries may cost seventy-five cents per quart in February and twenty-five cents in the spring or summer months. An unseasonable food is invariably expensive.

Cost of Food in Relation to Weight
Food labels often contain valuable information. The weight of the contents of a package, can, or bottle, and sometimes the composition of food appears on them.

Packages, bottles, and cans of equal size do not always contain the same quantity of foods. The shape or thickness of a container also affects the quantity of its contents. By examining labels and noting weight and composition, the price and quality of one brand of foods may be compared with another.

Household scales are useful in checking up the weight of foods, such as meats, fats, and vegetables. By weighing foods after they have been purchased, a housekeeper can determine if a dealer is giving her that for which she pays.

Lessening The Cost of Foods
There are many things, then, that the thrifty buyer should take into consideration when purchasing foods. It is one of the obligations of a woman who purchases and plans the foods for a family to be careful of expense. The following statement concerning thrift is both forceful and true:

"It is not beneath the dignity of any family to avoid useless expenditure no matter how generous its income, and the intelligent housekeeper should take as much pride in setting a good table, at a low price, as the manufacturer does in lessening the cost of production in his factory." United States Department of Agriculture

Calculation of the Cost of Food
In counting the cost of foods, it is necessary to know not only the price per pound, quart, dozen, or package, but the measurement in cupfuls of the given weight.

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  Cooking Notes 2006