Category Archives: rant

Thinning The Herd

This morning I decided to go through my Pepperplate account and thin out the deadwood. What qualified a recipe for deadwood status? Things I know I’ll never make. Duplicate recipes (do I really need 78 different versions of oatmeal cookies?), and recipes the tools for which I no longer own (think: rice cooker, crockpot).

I started at 11:30, and finally finished at 2:45 pm. I went from 2328 recipes in Pepperplate to 1649, a decrease of 679 recipes. When you consider that I have Pepperplate on both my iPad and my iPhone, you will understand why I wanted to reduce the space Pepperplate was consuming.

“The time has come,” the Walrus said

“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–

And whether hot dog manufacturers and hot dog bun bakers will ever agree on sizes.

Here’s what I mean:

For most of my life, hot dogs came in packages of 8, while buns came in packages of 6. Or was it the other way around? I really don’t remember. But it really doesn’t matter. The point is that you ended up with either a shortage of one or an excess of the other, which clever marketing technique forced you into buying one more of one of them.

This was probably the shrewdest piece of marketing since some unsung advertising executive decided to put “And repeat” on shampoo bottles.

But the excess problem has been resolved: I can now buy both hot dogs and buns in packages of 8.

So why am I complaining? For the simple reason that when I made my lunch today, I discovered that the packaging geniuses pulled a bait-and-switch: sure, the number of dogs and buns match, but now the dogs are so fat that the buns can’t hold them!

Today’s hot dog buns are barely wide enough to hold a hot dog, let alone the onions, sauerkraut, cream cheese, and jalapenos I want to add to it.

So I guess I’ll just go back to skinny hot dogs. Either that, or wait for the weather to cool and bake my own buns.

seattle dog

The Great Food Mystery

Or, How Can Walmart Sell A Roasted Chicken For Less Than It Can Sell The Same Chicken Uncooked?

Here’s the conundrum:  I can buy a roasting chicken at Walmart for $1.56 a pound.  I can also buy an already-roasted chicken as a meal-to-go at less than the price-per-pound for the raw one.  So what’s up with that?  I mean, if I buy the roaster and cook it myself, I’m already paying a higher price.  Add in the cost of spices and herbs, plus the electricity I pay to run my crockpot for the 6 to 8 hours it takes to cook it, and I just have to wonder: why the hell am I even cooking my own chicken?

A rhetorical question if ever there was one.  I cook it because nobody makes the exact mix of spices that I like.  Not that I have a set recipe: I like variety, and except for the chicken and the crockpot, I never make the same recipe twice.  The chicken goes into the crockpot, and then I throw in some onion powder, maybe a little garlic, a couple of tablespoons of dried rosemary, salt and pepper, and whatever the hell else sounds good.

That’s it.  Set the crockpot to low, and that’s it for the next 6 to 8 hours, depending on whether or not I thawed the chicken in the first place.

But I’ve found you really have to be careful when shopping at Walmart, because their pricing is tricky.  And not just on chicken.  I can buy a single roasting chicken for right around $5.50 ($11.00 for two, right?), or I can buy a package of 2 roasting chickens—for $18.00 ($9.00 each).

I’ve also seen fresh orange juice priced at $3.25 a bottle, or $6.98 for two.  This seems to be a standard practice:  relying on customer ignorance (lack of basic math skills) to overcharge for larger packages of the same product.  And by overcharging, I mean a 32-ounce bag sells for a higher price-per-pound than the exact same product in a 16-ounce bag.

I suppose in a perfect world I wouldn’t even shop at Walmart, but the reality is that I’m on a limited fixed income, so I really don’t have much choice.

Still, when I’m feeling naughty and decide that a quart of Rocky Road ice cream is just the thing to augment my antidepressants, Sam’s Choice is every bit as good as Ben & Jerry’s or that pseudo-Scandinavian brand…and a hell of a lot cheaper, too!

And where else can I go grocery shopping when my Social Security check is deposited into my account…at 3 o’clock in the morning?

So I’m not completely down on Walmart.

Just their weird pricing.  And their “fresh” produce that always seems to go bad by the time I get it home.  And the last 3 gallons of milk that were sour the day I bough them.

Walmart: Always Low Prices!  That is Arkansas-speech for “Caveat Emptor.”