Pomegranate Juice, $9.99; Truffle Oil, $25.99 …

Shopping for the most expensive possible dinner for two at Whole Foods.

By Noreen Malone  

With the economy still limping along, articles about eating cheaply, making dinner for less than $10, or fashioning a meal for seven out of Elmer’s glue, a single banana, and a pinch of nutmeg have proliferated. Even this very Slate column was temporarily given over to the art of coupon clipping. I’m no stranger to miserly grocery shopping. (Oatmeal for supper, anyone?) But I’m getting sick of reading such dutiful advice, and I don’t get a rush out of saving 20 cents (at least, not yet). So I thought I’d try something different—simulating what grocery-store visits might be like if I had unlimited money to throw around. You’ve heard of high-end food writers waxing poetic about la cucina povera? Well, here’s a low-end shopper trying out la cucina rico—seeing how the other half lives, if you will. I went to Whole Foods, that upscale paradise, and attempted to find the most expensive possible combination of groceries to create a dinner for two. Not a single penny was spent in pursuit of this particular fantasy. You’ve gotta spend money to make money, but not to make an imaginary dinner.

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