Monday, March 24, 2008

Food Costs

So with all the articles about the rising cost of food I am wondering if and how it affects me. In looking at the prices on some of my staples I haven't seen a big change:

grapefruit 4 for $1 in winter
lemons were 6 for $1, now they are 5; that's hardly huge
asparagus, $2 for a bunch in early spring
eggs from the stand at the farmers market, $1.30 last year to $1.80 this weekend; still not that bad

I don't remember the price on a lot of my pantry items, which makes it hard for me to say what has gone up and how much.

I have not changed any of my habits thus far but at what point would I or should I? And what kind of changes? Unfortunately I don't have a detailed enough record of my expenditures to know how much is spent where. I should get one of those Quicken type programs... I will one of these days and actually use it.

The biggest bang would probably come from eating out less or eating at restaurants that are cheaper. Let's say I spend maybe $100 a month on groceries. That's $25/week, which seems fair. I have spent more than that on a single meal when eating out (admittedly, that's usually me +1 or more but that's besides the point) But I like new restaurants and good food and I can't cook as well. And I really don't eat out all that often, maybe a couple times a month. And eating out is not really a huge expense relative to my income. Which leads to the question, when would it be enough to be considered significant?

How much will the prices go up in the near future? Enough to have an impact on my spending habits? Probably not. Though enough to make me notice and perhaps think about my choices more. Which will likely change my actions. So then probably? But I always think about my choices so maybe not. Though I don't really think about my flour, sugar, basic items spending much so maybe. But even if they quadrupled I don't think it would ultimately cut back on my baking. Though maybe it'll make me be more careful and not drop a 5 lb container of flour on the floor with the lid not on so I'd end up buying less. Though you would like to think I would not do that again regardless of how much it costs because flour and hardwood floors with practically no finish on them are not a good combination. Hmmm.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Sheetz Crispy Frickin' Chicken Sandwich

This article makes me want to stop at Sheetz on my way home from work tomorrow and get a Crispy Frickin Chicken Sandwich. In fact get one every day. Since when is frickin an obscene expletive? The last time I checked people use frickin' in the place of an obscene expletive because they don't think an obscene expletive is appropriate for that situation, ie a billboard.


I get home and at 9PM I can't keep my eyes open so I decided to go to bed, expecting to conk out and barely gain consciousness when the alarm went off in the morning. Well for some unknown reason I woke up at 2. I tossed and turned for a while until I gave up on falling back asleep. So naturally, what do I do? Pull out my computer, which had a nice happy spot with me in my bed and start reading my food blogs and whatnot that has been accumulating.

I came upon this article about MSG that caught my attention. Now I was under the impression it was pretty much wiped out, at least in the US, because of assorted health whatevers. I never really felt the need to know more, other than it was something bad but it has been taken care of, kind of like Polio. I guess I was mistaken.

Even now, after “Chinese restaurant syndrome” has been thoroughly debunked (virtually all studies since then confirm that monosodium glutamate in normal concentrations has no effect on the overwhelming majority of people), the ingredient has a stigma that will not go away.

But then, neither will MSG.

Cooks around the world have remained dedicated to MSG, even though they may not know it by that name. As hydrolyzed soy protein or autolyzed yeast, it adds flavor to the canned chicken broth and to the packs of onion soup mix used by American home cooks, and to the cheese Goldfish crackers and the low-fat yogurts in many lunchboxes.

I know I have seen hydrolyzed soy protein and autolyzed yeast on the packaging of a lot of foodstuffs but I never really thought about it. I am vaguely wary that something that has had so much press behind it is hidden in so many pantry staples. Though not surprised, I am kind of curious how all these food companies have kept it under wraps so well.

I am not aware having any issues that people claim to have with MSG so I don't really care. The only trouble I have is if I have a lot of packaged food type stuff is I get headaches if I eat a lot of it. I had always assumed that was because of the salt in it causing me to be dehydrated but who knows, it could be the MSG.

My solution to this is don't eat too much of it. I think packaged food is great. It definitely has a place in my pantry. It's a convenience item that tastes good when you don't have the time or inclination to cook. I was especially amused by the conclusion of the article:

Thus, the richest source of umami remains your local convenience store. Grab a tube of Pringles or a bologna sandwich, and glutamic acid is most likely lurking there somewhere.

Nacho-cheese-flavor Doritos, which contain five separate forms of glutamate, may be even richer in umami than the finest kombu dashi (kelp stock) in Japan.

No wonder they taste so good.

That concludes my likely incoherent 3AM post. Maybe I'll try to go back to sleep now.

Monday, March 3, 2008


I am slowly but surely converting over to apple. First there was my macbook. Now I got my airport extreme. It was a little weird setting up because I am still not really used to the installation methods of apple and there is on that is all I know. But I am excited. I am finally wireless, the whole reason I got a laptop. Gmail chat does not seem to be connecting though. Everything else seems to be working so far as browsing the internet, iChat is connected though I am not really interested in talking to anyone at this point in time. It seems plenty fast to pull up pages and download stuff. Woohoo! Next I will have to hook up my printer to it and make sure that works fine. Then it will be an iPhone. Then hopefully the stock will go up and I can buy more apple gear.

Uh oh.... when I went to post this I seem to have disconnected. I went in to try to see what was wrong (like I'd figure it out, hah but I tried anyway) and it reconnected while I was on my network diagnostics thingy. This sounds like trouble..... We shall see... Maybe I was too quick to call it good.....

Sunday, March 2, 2008

International Year of the Potato

Apparently the UN declared it is the year of the potato. You know what that means?

Potato party!!!!

Garlic mashed potatoes
Parmesan mashed potatoes
Pesto mashed potatoes
Baked Potatoes
Potatoes au Gratin
Twice Baked Potatoes
Potato Salad
Hashed Browns
Potato Chips
Sour cream and chive mashed potatoes
Potato soup
French fries
potato wedges
roasted potatoes
potato skins

I'm excited! Who else is excited???

Saturday, March 1, 2008

My next project

I have found the next thing I need to make!

Freakin amazing! I need to make bacon sculptures!