Yes, food prices are rising here in eastern PA, just like in other areas of the country. I confess that it doesn t impact our family as much as others because of the weird way I shop and cook. I don t care about what s on sale at places like Costco, clip coupons for stuff I don t need, buy bottled water when I can just turn on the tap and I only visit a conventional grocery store about once every 4 to 6 weeks to replenish my pantry when they have cat food, canned tomatoes, etc. are on sale.
About once every 2 or 3 months, I travel to the terrific Echo Hill Country Store in Fleetwood PA to stock up on staples like beans, rice, chopped nuts, dried fruit, baking supplies, etc. Their prices are overall lower than the grocery stores and I can buy in relatively small quantities for a bulk food store, besides their being a WWJE store as described in the Sterns Two For The Road .
Early on most Saturday mornings, I hit the dairy store and one or more farmers market or small ethnic markets for meat, poultry, seafood, bread, cheese, dairy products and produce. For about the last 10 or 12 years, we ve kept meat portions relatively small (and our cholesterol levels too) so at those places, I can buy one hormone-free chicken breast or 1/4 lb. of bacon or one strip steak to grill and serve sliced Peter Luger style for the two of us. I make up my menu as I go and see what’s happening that week. Last week, one booth had beautiful huge white mushrooms for $1 a pound so ham and spinach stuffed mushrooms became the entr�e one night. I try to go with the flow of the seasons and will have a spinach and mushroom salad or coleslaw this time of year rather than a tossed salad with pricey and tasteless tomatoes and lettuce. I rarely buy boneless anything (including fish) because the price is lower with the bones and I can use them to make stock for soup.
I work full time and don t feel like cooking when I get home so every weekend, I take about two hours for what we call a cook-a-thon, where I ll make some things like soups/stews, stir-fry, pasta or other sauces, nut breads or gingerbread for lunch desserts, iced tea/flavored waters and do general prep work like cleaning and cutting up vegetables. It s a great feeling to leave work and know it will only take a short time to have dinner on the table when we re hungry for it. When my girls were at home, they d help with it but now I often have a friend come over to cook with me and we split the results of what we made.
As for the rest, May will mark 19 years since spouse and I decided to turn our life upside-down and practice the less radical tenets of the Voluntary Simplicity movement. In these troubled times, we are now reaping the rewards of that decision. Life is always an adventure and it will be interesting to see how the agflation scenario that bill voss posted plays out.