I rather thought you were feeling as disgruntled and dissatisfied with the political scene as I am when I read your blog yesterday, Kay. I feel like I am listening to a very broken record (and that I am sounding like one). And we agree that cooking for one is a royal pain in the you-know-where. Thank god for who ever invented freezers.
The Olympics are over and I am so glad. It has been some years since I enjoyed sports programs. Now they mostly irritate as they preempt my shows, the few I have left since the 'reality' game shows have taken over television. Hardly a week goes by that we don't see an advertisement for another half dozen. If we are lucky they are on channels we don't watch but all too often they push out something that was much more interesting. Of course, over the last two weeks almost all of our favorite shows have been in rerun mode because none of the producers wanted to compete with the Olympics. I really do hate having a plethora of non-choices.
Well, it is now a nice sunny Monday morning. We haven't had any more snow since early Saturday, Lois. And the temps are supposed to get into the low 50s by the weekend. I do hope so. I have mountains of snow on top of all my garden containers and we take our lives in our hands when ever we have to go out because of the mountain that the crews scooped out of the parking areas and off the streets.
I find it very interesting how the mainstream media has picked up on the Republican attitudes toward the budget and their blocking of the infrastructure and unemployment extension bills. One nice bit of info that came out of that indicates that Kentucky Senator Bunning is not planning to run for reelection. Now if they can only get someone more moderate elected in his place. What I resent most about these guys is that they gave George II everything he wanted including the TARP and two wars that were entirely off the books financially. I really find it hard to stomach their past support of bankers bad decisions and unconscionable risks taken with other people's money giving them financial motivation to continue their bad behavior and yet they get on their hind legs to protest unemployment extensions because that 'encourages the unemployed to remain unemployed.'
I have been thinking about your comment, Lois, about your grocery bill. It doesn't surprise me nor does it seem out of line in any way. Our grocery bills have declined steadily over the last ten years as our situation has changed. At first I was working and attending school. I tried to carry lunches but what I could carry depended on specific conditions at work. Sometimes I didn't have access to a microwave so heatable meals whether prepared from scratch at home or purchased off the shelf at our local supermarket were not practical. I also absolutely hate to carry sandwiches--the bread always got soggy and the lettuce, if any, was always wilted. I am afraid cheap has never trumped aesthetics for me. During those few stretches of time when I could heat up a meal at work our grocery bills were about where yours are because we purchased a number of prepared meals for lunches. However, they were always unsatisfactory either in taste or quantity. Since I became unemployed two and a half years ago we have stayed mostly at home for meals and we both can cook. Mom does most of the cooking but it is nothing I didn't do myself during the nearly two years I lived by my self between my divorce and when we decided to set up house keeping. Most of the changes we have made to what we buy were not made solely from cost concerns but, rather, from multiple reasons. We stopped buying dry cereal when the amount decreased while the cost increased and none of the remaining options were palatable, usually because the manufacturers add way too much sugar. We find we haven't missed them. We buy very few prepared foods any more. No cake mixes or even prepared cakes from the bakery at the super market. No mac and cheese mixes. And when we see a sale on something we use we get the most we can easily store. Also when we buy meats we repackage it into more easily managed pieces. Pork and beef roasts usually come in 4 or 5+lb packages. They are cut into 4 or 5 packages of about one lb each. We can prepare them as roasts or cube them for soups. Each package will last us between 2 and 3 days when fixed. Sometimes we will slice part of the roast for sandwiches or dice it for salads. To give you an example of what it is we do--Mom has a mac and cheese w/ham cubes ready for baking a little later. She fixed it up from scratch and the ham is left over from a small ham roast that had originally been part of a full ham when we bought it. We will have that as a side dish with salmon patties that had originally been made up in a larger batch with the left over frozen for later. We will have a green veggie with it and any that we don't eat will be fixed with the remaining mac and cheese and hamburgers tomorrow. The hamburger was ground here at home from some older roasts.
We do have a major advantage--we are both retired. But then neither of us have found the so-called labor saving packaged foods all that labor saving. Our system works well for us but it won't necessarily work for everyone. One thing the cost cutting gurus have touted that we find doesn't work for us is using coupons. We have found very few coupons for the things we buy and we really don't want to buy what coupons advertise just to use the coupons.
The Times On-Line has an interesting article that puts 'green ambitions' and a robust continuation of our consumer culture in question. Actually, Mom and I had some questions about the rosy predictions and assumptions of many of our political and financial leaders and they resolved around this very question. As usual, none of them are really thinking about what would happen if the demand for high tech toys really expanded, especially things like fully electric cars. The raw materials are both rare and, like oil, in some very unstable areas.