Quest for the Most Basic Ingredients

Over the past years I’ve been influenced how we as individuals and cultures interact with food by writers such as Michael Pollan and Mark Schatzker. I also have had an obsession with watching cooking shows beginning with Yan Can Cook when I was in elementary school. I could and probably should also write an entire other post on diets and the body positive movement (since I like to procrastinate you should at least read Lindy West’s memoir and Kelsey Miller’s Anti-Diet Project).

These influences have led me to my current project to buy the Most Basic Ingredients(MBI) possible. Often I document for myself these types of goals, but why not share this experiment with the world? Why do I call it MBI? Well I work in tech and there is an obsession with building Minimum Viable Products(MVP) in some circles. A MVP is the most basic thing you can build as a product and put out into the market place, my MBI is intended as a counterpoint to that. The most basic piece you can purchase to make food. In a world of heavily processed food as an individual I’m simply trying to get back to the basics. What is at the root of what I am eating? Not the fastest way, not even the easiest way, the most basic way.

It bears mentioning that I come from a place of a lot of privilege. I have a good job, I work remotely and I don’t have any dependents. I can afford to do some experimentation, I have the time to do it and by working from home I can do multi-step processes that require you to check-in over the course of the day.

So to start here is what I bought tonight at the local grocery.



  • Dozen eggs
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 bottle of kombucha
  • Cane sugar
  • Half & Half
  • Gallon glass jar
  • Box of black tea (not pictured, since I forgot and had to run back)

Cost: $41.23 (the jar was $15.00 so that was a big of a splurge)

I think I’ve done pretty well on the raw ingredients. In this case I consider the sugar raw (despite some refining) and classify the half & half about the same. My least raw item under my unscientific classification is the kombucha. Though the goal with some of these ingredients is to start making my own. I hope to continue sharing what I do with these sorts of purchases as I document my path to MBI. At the very least I hope to be drinking some MBI kombucha in the next month or so.


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