Sunday, March 10, 2013

Slice of rice anyone?

I had 8 quarts of it. That’s because Wonder Husband helped me cook. And by helped me cook I mean he came in from the garage, smelled that there was something cooking, scurried into the kitchen, lifted the lid, saw that it was rice, it was boiling gently, so he turned the burner down and stirred it for me.  THEN he came into the office and proudly told me. I don’t think he liked my reaction.

So yes, I had a solid, 8 quart clump of starchy mess on my hands, not the ingredient for the frittata’ I was planning to pre-bake and freeze or the fluffy rice bed for three of our meals this week.

My first gut reaction was to freak out. That’s a lot of starchy goop for two people to work through before it goes bad; can’t really freeze it as is, it won’t work as an ingredient, I season my rice when I cook it, so couldn't turn it into rice pudding (somehow the thought of cinnamon, sugar, curry and chicken stock, all melding together does not appeal, so yeah, no) and we currently have no chickens to feed it to.
And then I thought about it for a hot second. 

  • It’s rice.
  • I buy rice in 50lb bags for less than $20, so what we had here was probably $1.50 worth of it.
  • It’s not that bad, we can bring up some chili and beans and just have rice with something, breakfast, lunch and dinner (I am NOT throwing away food unless there is just no help for it).
  • It’s RICE. About a buck and a half worth.
  • I am German, I have a myriad of recipes that use up left over potatoes. Rice, potato, basically the same thing, right? Actually, that sort of worked.

I didn’t freak out. I did find a cooking website to show hubbin that I am not the only person on the planet that thinks stirring rice is a bad idea (his response), and why (he thought rice is supposed to be clumpy, which I am not going to share with his mother, EVER).

We spend a week eating a lot of rice. I may not cook any for quite a while. Rice is sort of off the menu for a bit and we are both perfectly OK with that.
And we laughed about it all week, too.
Because it’s a little thing. 

And then again, it’s not that little. It kind of brought something home for us that my normal cooking pattern (cook large, prep, freeze or otherwise preserve ready to eat meals) does not:
I didn’t write it out and I didn’t really keep track and we ate things other than rice, but if I had to come up with how much we spent on food this week (and because I am writing this post I guess I do) I’d have to say, roughly estimating:
$1.50 for rice
$3.00 for the chili ingredients, and that’s generous, since all but the chili powder, beans and meat were grown right here, so pennies for seeds
$2.00 for oatmeal
$0.50 for sugar and other additives for the oatmeal
$2.00 for eggs (man, I miss having chickens, two more weeks to peeps in the mail)
Give it another $3 for my coffee half and half and maybe $3 for coffee for one week and throw in another  $10 for miscellaneous and we are looking at

$25.00 for two adults for a weeks worth of food. Rice and Beans really is some cheap food :)

That’s not that bad. My budget is $42 a week for the two of us, so we did good. Lobsters all around (no).

 Gratuitous cat picture

Is this how I want to eat all the time? No. That was one boring week and I think if that happened too often there would be mutiny in my kitchen. I usually try to get some variety going. But we DO eat this cheaply most of the time. I just stretch the meals I cook out and shuffle the deck, so to speak.

No, the rice isn’t fair trade, or organic, but it is brown rice. And it comes in 50lb bags for around $20.
I buy my beans dried and either can them when I have an empty slot in the pressure canner or when I am running low.
We eat a lot of eggs, and when they are homegrown, the chickens get kitchen scraps and non-organic feed (availability and price, don’t let me get on that soapbox), so I figure between $0.10 and $0.15 per egg. That’s some cheap protein right there.
I buy meat on sale when I see it.
Oatmeal in the 50lb bag for around $20
Flour, pretty much the same, and I bake most of our breads.
We grow most of our veggies, so that cost is both minimal and hard to truly calculate, so I call gardening a hobby and the resulting foods free.
We don’t have or want any dairy animals (I do know how to milk dairy animals, I also know that I don't want to), so I pay for my creamer and the cheeses we eat: I buy a 10lb block of cheese for around $30 and slice and shred it myself and then freeze it in portions, and we get a different variety every month, so we have choices, it works and is actually rather cheap. One of those 10lb blocks lasts us about a month and a half to two months and we eat A LOT of cheese.
It also means I cook most of our meals from scratch, even if I cook it, can it and then pull it off the shelf a few months later. Still scratch.

Except Pizza. Kroger Frozen Pepperoni Pizza, 3 for 10. I am weak. And so is the husband.

Laugh about the little stuff. And it’s all little stuff.
When we are old and feeble, noone will care that my husband stirs the rice. Oh, Heck, noone cares right now. I know he does these things because he is awesome and loves me and wants to help me around the house. I can be angry and I can discourage that, or I can laugh about it, get the fun kind of wrinkles, eat rice for a week and give him grief until we both forget.
That’s all I got.
Happy Pinching

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