Grocery Shopping Truisms
There is a rule ancient when I was a teen -- no matter how many socks you put in the dryer, you will never get the same number back. Sometimes you get an extra; sometimes you're missing half of a pair, or several halves of several pairs. But you never get back from the dryer exactly what you put into the dryer.
I've noticed over the last couple of years that grocery shopping has its own truisms. No matter how hard I try, no matter what I cut out of the week's shopping, no matter how often I skip Safeway and use Costco or Smart & Final, the grocery bill is always $200 plus or minus a few bucks.
I haven't been able to solve this mystery. The number of people doesn't matter--when Yona left for Israel, I expected the grocery bill to go down. Now, granted the woman can live on a box of Cheerios for a month, so its not like she's a major part of the grocery consumption, especially when compared with two large males, one of which is in adolescent growing spurts. The question heard most often from the Teen is "Is there anything to eat?"
This must be rhetorical because there is ALWAYS something to eat--both in the two freezers and the 'fridge. I think it is a question that should be translated as "Is there anything really good like cake in here that I am allowed to eat before dinner?" My standard answer to the post-school question "Is there anything to eat?" is "Yes--have an apple (or orange or banana or left over bok choy salad etc.) None of these things are cake or cookies, and provoke a pained sign or snort of disgust--but he does eat the orange/apple/salad etc.
I did the Erev Shabbat shopping today---and the bill was still right in the $200 neighborhood. We bought much less than last week. I don't get it.....it's bad enough that the price of gas is rising in its annual ascent to Memorial Day and the Summer Vacation rates (just like we know fall by the change of colors in the trees, we also know summer by the annual rising of the gasoline prices). How do families with 5, 6 8 or 9 kids survive the weekly grocery bill? We don't eat steak and other expensive meat--the Shabbat dinner is almost always a chicken. We make salads to fill out the menus all week. We don't buy expensive prepackaged stuff; we don't eat caviar; several meals a week are vegetarian....like the socks in the dryer, it doesn't seem to matter how many people we're feeding, or how many meals we prepare, or how much we cut back on purchases.....the grocery bill always hits just about the same mark every week.
Shabbat shalom to all those on PDT and Shavua Tov to the rest of you!