Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Food math

Yesterday I started doing some wedding-related math. Specifically, food math. One of the reasons I'll be cooking the vast majority of the food is because, well, it's me, and I can't NOT cook. But the other reason is to save money. It's far cheaper to cook my own food than to pay a caterer to do it for me, and I daresay my food will taste better, anyway. I don't have a choice at this point--we're eating beans every night, spending no money, and I've slashed all household expenditures to the bone, saving every penny for the wedding. I quit feeding quarters into the laundromat dryers and I'm drying clothes on racks in the living room, for God's sake, and I still fear we'll come up short.

So, food math. I started with dessert. An assortment of homemade cookies, brownies and fudge, supplemented by ice cream and sundae fixings at the wedding, and several pounds of bacon chocolate. Let's assume 75 people at the wedding, 75 people at the rehearsal dinner (although probably less), plus 15 people staying in the house for a week. Let's also assume 3 cookies (or whatever) per person, per day. That's a total of 600 cookies and brownies, leaving the bacon chocolate out of the equation.

Now let's assume 15 cookies (or whatever) per batch. That comes to a grand total of 47 sticks of butter and 5 dozen eggs. Plus flour, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, chocolate chips, etc., etc., etc.

Then I moved on to the bread. (Yes, I'm baking all the bread. I can make a loaf of bread for less than a quarter. Even at Sam's Club, the bread isn't that cheap.) 3 loaves of white sandwich bread for the kids, 4 loaves of bread for croutons, and baguettes for everything else. 15 people in the house for a week--toast, sandwiches, French toast--plus bread for 75 on Friday with the gumbo. I came to an estimate of 30 baguettes for the week. Flour, whole wheat flour, salt and yeast.

However, bought in bulk, the ingredients for 600 cookies and 30 baguettes come to about $150. It's entirely possible we'll end up spending more on booze than on food.

(Alcohol math: 75 people on Saturday, 75 people on Friday, undetermined number for Sunday brunch, plus 15 people in the house for a week: three cases of wine, one case of champagne, two cases of assorted beer--my brother-in-law-to-be is bringing nine gallons of homebrewed oatmeal stout, but we'll still need a little extra--plus giant bottles of gin, rum, bourbon, scotch, tequila and several giant bottles of vodka. Plus mixers--OJ, cranberry juice, tonic water, soda water, bitters, Coke, Diet Coke, triple sec, lemons, limes, blah blah blah--plus my own personal stash of the good stuff. Even if I spend only $10 per bottle on the wine and bubbly, factoring in 15% case discount, that's close to $1000 on booze.)

Isn't math fun?

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