‎"...a little 'trouty', but quite good" ~ Eve Kendall, North By Northwest

Saturday, November 1, 2008

home ec

Was that class Home Ec (short for Economics) or Home Mak (short for Making)? I had one Home Ec/Mac teacher show us how to give ourselves manicures in middle school (eat your jello!), so maybe there were two different courses. I also learned that if you close the door to the oven with the broiler on, the window might explode. Don't ask.

A couple weeks ago I had the super genius idea of tracking my efforts to spend $100/week on food (for the house, not just me), and reporting my revelations here. But then I forgot to keep track of what I spent and then the week I was really, really going to start, Chris bought the groceries and threw in some items like caviar and fois gras.

By the time I had organized myself and had been following my weekly menus for a couple weeks, I came to the realization that documenting these efforts online is ridiculous. Honestly, who's going to want to read that? I wouldn't.

$100 a week for a family of five breaks down to about $1 per person per meal. It sounded like a reasonable amount to spend until I figured that out. One dollar per person, per meal. Today I made the red beans and rice from Kristin's blog Going Country. It was about $10 in groceries (hello, organic sausage made from formerly happy free range chickens!) but it made about three gallons of red beans. Even the way we eat (we're pigs), that's three dinners AT LEAST. Thank you, Kristin! It was delicious.

So with all the time I'm saving NOT typing up my grocery lists, I'm hanging out on Facebook. I don't know what to do on Facebook, so mostly I just watch as the feed tells me what my friends are up to. Both of my friends. There's a lot of downtime.

Then I figured out how to stalk people from my high school and college and increased my number of friends exponentially. I did not contact the guy who spent all of high school in his basement playing dungeons and dragons. He used to bring meticulously painted figures of dungeon masters to school. Not contacting him was probably a mistake. He's probably the CEO of a small country by now. Dungeon Masters are good like that.

I also did not contact the woman I didn't know from a different year (I was getting desperate) who is wearing a leather lace-up number in her profile picture. Note to self: no lace up leather thingies after 40.

But I did find one of my best friends from elementary school who I lost track of when she went on the rodeo circuit. Really! At least, I think that's what she did. How would I know? She admitted to having me as a facebook friend but hasn't given me the goods on rodeo life yet. I am standing by.

When I update my status on facebook I try to sound all glamorous and smart. I do not mention that I am going through the grocery store with a slide rule, analyzing cost-benefit ratio. You do that with a slide rule, right? Abacus?

Are you going around with a slide rule these days? Are you taking measures to straighten out the economy within your own walls? I'm not implying that your own economics are failing, just that it makes me feel ever so slightly less helpless if I can take control of what is actually within my control. Be the change, as they say ("they" being, you know, Ghandi).

Tips? Tricks?


Pen and Ink Calligraphy said...

My biggest strategy for controlling the grocery spending is to make a list and stick to it. I try to stock up on sale stuff, and make stuff from scratch (which I'm pretty sure you already do).

Ahh, facebook. I check mine regularly, but that's about it - I'm a feed-watcher like you. I seem to have some 'friends' though who use the status update for every thought, feeling, inkling, itch, urge, idea, etc...

po james said...

controlling costs? wait, don't you have to have money to do that? we just write reviews three meals a day and hope accounting doesn't read the receipts.


Kristin said...

I know nothing about Facebook, but I would read your grocery lists for the week. I'm weird like that.

Yay for cheap red beans and rice! Isn't it amazing how it expands in the pot? Just wait . . . it's one of those magically renewing foods that seems to never reduce in the refrigerator.

I'm glad you and your family liked it. Did you start saying y'all after eating it?

Susan said...

p&i - yes yes, the list is key! And you're right, I do make things from scratch. Now I'm even eyeballing my purchased vegetable broth as the next budget cut. We'll see. I'll status it when I decide.

Po James - Those reviews are going to help significantly! I'll just do the one a month and live off stored fat.

kristin - I sometimes say y'all anyway as am from Colorado and was surrounded by wranglers and cowhands, apparently. And you're right about the renewing qualities! Holy smokes that's a lot of beans. Mmmmm.