There is rarely a moment in the Litherland household when someone is not thinking about food. Dad Andy Litherland is constantly thinking cuisine while he oversees the kitchens of the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead. His 13-year-old triplets, Kevin, Mick and Jay, are all competitive swimmers, and classic examples of eating machines, going through more than five gallons of milk each week. When mom Chizuko isn't chauffeuring them to swim practice, she's thinking ahead to the next meal.
Feeding a hungry family is even more of a challenge on a budget. But it's one the Litherlands tackle by buying in bulk (their favorite store is Costco), using inexpensive cuts of meats and forgoing prepackaged foods. Their goal is to keep the weekly food budget in the $175 to $200 range, with dinners for five coming in at around $25.
Along with bulk buying, the Litherlands shop for food bargains at Trader Joe's and the Super H Asian market. They spice up their dishes with herbs from a small kitchen garden and come up with dishes based on seasonal availability. "For instance, roasted roma tomatoes are a wonderful side dish that will get cheaper as the summer goes along," Andy Litherland said.
Chef Litherland also delights in presenting meals with panache, serving them on heated cast-iron trays and arranging side dishes for each diner in small white bowls. He gets help from the entire family in his Alpharetta kitchen, where the boys pitch in to make pot stickers or whip cream for dessert toppings. A typical meal takes about an hour to prepare, Litherland said, "but it's gone in about a minute and a half."
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