Just as summer-grilling season approaches, here comes news that the cost of supermarket beef has hit an all-time high, up at least 5 percent so far this year, and still rising.
Recently, I caught up with Teri Gault, founder of the TheGroceryGame.com, to find out what’s going on. Teri and her TGG crew closely monitor national food prices on a daily basis, so they’re my go-to source for all things related to the cost of food. But more than that, Teri has great ideas for how to overcome this kind of unhappy news so we can afford to keep our grills fired up this summer.
It’s a problem of supply and the environment, reports Teri. The U.S. cattle herd is at its lowest level since 1952. Cattle producers have been hard hit by drought, late freezing weather, doubling of feed costs and poor pasture conditions. Supplies are down, which drives prices up both at the grocery store and restaurants, too. But not to worry. Teri says that overcoming the high cost of beef is a matter of changing our thinking, habits and behaviors. Continue reading
I don’t consider myself a complete stranger to high-priced gourmet fare. After all, I did enjoy a lovely $100-per-person meal once. But even that experience in my semi-impressive culinary repertoire did not prepare me to handle gracefully the idea of a 10-course dinner with a price tag of $25,000 per person. And it wasn’t a political fundraiser. Just a fancy meal in an exotic location—Bangkok, Thailand.
Sure, this gastronomic extravaganza included the very best in Cristal champagne, foie gras, truffles, Kobe beef, Beluga caviar, Belon oysters and mousseline of pattes rouges’ crayfish with morel mushroom infusion, but come on! Twenty-five grand per person—a price that does not include tax or gratuity or airfare?
I don’t think I could do that even if I were so rich $25,000 would be mere pennies as compared to my vast net worth. There are some things I simply would not be able to get out of my mind like: Continue reading
Dear Mary: We grow our own potatoes but I find I still want to spend money at the supermarket to buy frozen hash browns and Tater Tots. I hate to do it because we have so many potatoes. But every time I’ve tried to make them myself, they turn to mush. Thanks for any ideas you might have. –Norma, Wisconsin
Dear Norma: I tore through my vast recipe collections and have come up with three recipes for you that use potatoes and other ordinary ingredients, which you’re bound to have on hand.
The Hash Browns are very traditional, Crispy Potatoes make an elegant side dish for just about any dinner entree, and I believe you’ll find the Potatoes Bites to be a more than reasonable facsimile of your favorite “Tater Tots.” All of these recipes are a bit involved, but the results are well worth the effort!
Dear Mary: My husband has two jobs–he is an artist and a salesman. He earns commissions from both jobs so we never know what our income will be. I work part-time and am paid hourly. How can we possibly live on a budget? –Jenn P., Texas
Dear Jenn: The mistake many people who live with an uncertain income (or what I call “mystery means”) make is they spend whatever amount of money they earn as it comes in.
They multiply a good month’s income by 12 and figure that’s about what their annual income should be and then set their lifestyles accordingly. Then they starve during the lean months, allowing all the bills to go past due hoping that a good month will follow soon.
The secret to living on an uncertain income is to determine the very minimum you need to live each month. What dollar figure must your husband’s commissioned jobs produce so that when added to your part-time paychecks will allow you to pay all of your bills? Whatever that number is, let that become his new salary. Continue reading
Pop Quiz: What looks like water, is certainly inexpensive, has a pungent odor but is not toxic (in fact you can drink it if you like); is biodegradable, serves as a useful disinfectant and will repel kitties from your kids’ sandbox? Give up? Read on to learn the answer in today’s first great reader tip.
SCAT CAT! Keep cats out of your kids’ sandbox by pouring distilled white vinegar around the box once each month. Keep in mind that vinegar will kill some types of grass and other vegetation so be careful where you pour it. –Sally, email
CLEAN AND DEODORIZE ICE CHEST/COOLER: Add about 1 inch of water to the bottom of the cooler, drop in 4 Alka Seltzer tablets and allow to sit for an hour. Pour out the dirty water then rinse and dry. All odors will be gone making the cooler clean and ready for its next use. — Claudio, New Mexico Continue reading
Posted on May 14, 2013