The New York Times does Dollar Store

Courtsey of Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

What every human seeks is companionship, the feeling that among all the billions of people on this planet of ours there is at least one person that can see you for who you are and shares common beliefs.

I am not alone.

The New York Times journalist, Henry Alford, has ventured into the world of 99 cent store dining. His aim was to create a meal a night using only ingredients from the dollar store and then end this experiment with a dinner party for some poor souls …. or friends as we like to call them.

Alford found that the dollar stores didn’t have any butter, good olive oil, flour, fresh vegetables. So far so British pound shop. But it seems that American stores have refrigerated sections. Oh the luxury! So Alford made a chicken dish one night (I’ve sampled canned meat but I think I would have to draw the line at 99p chicken…) and made soup with frozen peas (yum) and broccoli.

I was interested to know whether the journalists dinner party was of the same, ahem, calibre as my own dinner. As soon as I read that his first course was an antipasto tray consisting of pepperoncini, olives, artichoke hearts, salami and Brie, I knew the answer. Finding artichoke hearts in my pound shop would be like finding a Christmas tree in the Sahara desert. This course was followed by chilled pear soup with a star anise floating on the top for decoration. STAR ANISE?! Artichoke hearts?! What sort of pound shop was this? The gourmet Upper East Side pound shop? A pound shop in Brunei? My pound shop is in an area of London called Holloway. It would be hard enough to find those ingredients in a local Holloway shop let alone in the pound shop.

To continue to read from Alfords menu would depress me. You can read the results for yourself here.

Suffice to say his pecan dessert looked very pretty and tasty though perhaps it lacked the ‘creativity’ of my dinner party cakes. At least thats what I like to tell myself.

4 Responses

  1. At my dollar store, occasionally I do find “gourmet” items, but that’s the exception—not the rule. I think it’s because he lives in NYC, and there’s tons of competition there, so maybe the inventory is a bit more diverse.

  2. I have to let you know this, because I find it hysterical. I know you’ve been doing this for quite some time. My boyfriend just recently started going on somewhat of a ‘dollar store diet’. Almost all his food is from the dollar store. It reminded me of you.

    You are inspiring others to save money and enjoy the dollar store!! 😉

    You know, maybe you should try another dollar store meal … with a new recipe and all. 😉


    not sure if you’ve seen that – a similar article like the one you read, but not quite AS insane and unbelievable.

  4. Hey dollar store adventures! How’s your boyfriend’s dollar store diet going? Tell him he has my sympathy!

    You never know I still might try a new recipe. In the meantime have started another blog as I’m getting married:

    A pound shop dress I wonder?!

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