I am often considered by my colleagues and friends to be well outside the mainstream. I'm okay with that. I like to consider what I do to be thinking outside the box. When I walk into my school's conference room for lunch, I more often than not will be carrying a grilled New York strip steak and a baked potato. Some of my colleagues (the ones who are not my friends) look at me like I'm crazy or a spendthrift ("Who are you, Howard Hughes? Bill Gates?" followed by raucous, yet one-sided laughter), but the economics of my lunch are rather simple.
School lunches are outrageously expensive for what they are and moreover for what they taste like. As a teacher, I'd have to pay $3.25 per day for a school lunch. A couple of weeks ago, I bought an entire New York strip for $3.99 per pound. I had the guy at the meat counter cut it up into eight-ounce steaks, and when I got home I sealed each one up in its own freezer bag at a cost of $0.20 each and dropped it into the freezer. I bought a 10-pound bag of Yukon Gold potatoes for $4.00, which yields me 20 potatoes at a cost of $0.20 each. Throughout the morning, my steak thaws in my lunch bag. At 11:05 I use my garage sale George Foreman grill to cook up my steak while the potato bakes in the microwave. In five minutes, I have a healthily grilled New York strip steak and a plain but tasty baked potato, which costs me a grand total of $2.40.
And the best part of it is, my lunch is always outside the box.