What is the Brownie Point and Cost Calculation thingy?

Early into this blog’s life, I added two features that I thought would help inform readers from the discerning home chef to the skeptical restaurant-smitten foodie: the bold-happy Cost Calculator and Health Factor. Time equals money, and when cooking, you’ve just spent both. So with every recipe, I add the cost of the ingredients I’ve purchased at various groceries and markets usually in my neighborhood in Brooklyn, and display the math. I probably make mistakes every now and then, and I often guesstimate heavily; so please, if you’ll allow me, I now disclaim. (But I can tell you that I’ve saved a pretty penny from not eating out so far.)


A recipe’s Health Factor rating is determined by a scale of 1 to 10 “brownie” points: 1 being the most healthy, and 10 being the least. (I apologize if that’s confused anyone in the past.) A completely biased and unscientific model, the health factor rating takes into account a recipe’s nutritional value, amount of fat/cholesterol/sugar/sodium, and, if the recipe is supposed to be for a complete meal, its overall nutritional balance.

Then in 2008, I added the Green Factor to every recipe post. Measured in maple leaf images, the green factor rating takes into consideration the environmental impact of the dish’s ingredients. The more maple leaves, the more local, sustainably grown, humanely raised, waste-conscious and overall environmentally friendly they are.

Some fun facts:

  • No recipe on this blog has ever received the coveted 1 brownie point to date. There are many skeptics who say it cannot be done. However, I still believe.
  • Five recipes have received a fabulous 2 brownie point rating: Josh Koury’s Pumpkin Soup, Chicken and Asparagus Stir-Fry, Karol Lu’s Champion Vegetarian Chili, Potluck Pad Thai, and Super Crunchy Nutty 2-Step Granola
  • The most brownie points ever affixed to an entry was for a recipe that wasn’t even mine, a molten chocolate cake recipe I demonstrated from the Ghirardelli website. Though it wasn’t necessary, I gave the buttery, sugary, yolky cake 11 brownie points. (That perhaps goes to show I don’t bake much on this site.)
  • Though my wallet may have bulged, my weight has remained relatively the same for the past two years of not eating out, as it has remained since high school. (Imaginary double chin syndrome notwithstanding.)
  • The most expensive recipe in the archives is the one for Salmon Cakes, largely because it makes 8-10 cakes since I made it for a fundraiser brunch party.
  • The least expensive recipe seems to be Chickpea Leek Soup, which totaled a whopping $2.02 for 4 servings.

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