Stretch your food dollar until it screams for mercy

imageThe cost of household groceries has mounted in recent months due to fluctuations in the dollar, poor growing conditions, End Times, etc. With the likelihood of high food prices continuing indefinitely (or if not indefinitely, at least until further notice), here are some tips on stretching your food budget.

Re-grow your produce
Don’t throw out those scraps! Many vegetables will re-generate from unused cuttings; for example, green onions. After using the green ends, reserve the white tips and roots and place them in a jar of water. They will re-sprout new greens in a matter of a days, saving you pennies if not entire dimes on your grocery bill! Be sure to change the water every few days. The water will stink like some kind of onion gangrene plague when you poor it down the sink, but the bonus is that this will suppress your appetite. More food dollars saved!

Eat a hearty breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and oatmeal is a great, economical way to fill your belly, especially if you pad it with seasonal, locally grown products such as berries, pine cones, bits of tarpaulin, whatever’s underneath the seat cushions, gravel. The sky’s the limit when it comes to fighting the unruly mobs in the street in order to come up with what I like to call “forage porridge.”

Purchase cheaper cuts of meat
No need for sirloin every night. Ask your butcher about the many flavourful cuts of meat that might not make it onto your grocery store shelves because of “low demand” or “cultural norms” or “food inspectors.” You haven’t lived until you’ve tried Garlic Roasted Glutes! If you don’t have a butcher, see the guy in the van behind the laundromat. Ask for Sal.

Or grow your own!
Growing your own meat takes a little time, patience and disregard for zoning regulations, but it’s a great way to save money and impress the ladies! (“Ladies” here is a gender-neutral term meaning “any biped not the least bit interested in bass fishing.”) First, take a beef tendon (a glute will do, too), wrap it in a poultice consisting of grass clippings, kerosene, mustard, cat dander, the sweat of three swarthy Turks, brewer’s yeast and the shredded remains of your manuscript, telling the story of how you met your sweetheart at a Rambo movie (working title: First Blood, First Love). Bury the package in a small 1985 Chevette at a 5-degree angle 4 feet underground. Burn your lawn. Read Infinite Jest: it’s totally worth it. When finished reading or after eight months, whichever comes first, dig up the package and, if the Meat Gods have smiled upon you, you should have an eight- to nine-inch cow, which you can now cook and devour whole, thanks to its very supple bones. Think of it as underground veal.

Do you live near a zoo?
I’m not saying that security is lax at zoos and I’m not saying it’s not lax. But I am saying this: “panda steaks.”

What about vegetarians?
I never eat ’em. What? Oh, I see. Forget I said that. Here’s a penny-saver for the meat-free. Save up all your food-soiled paper towels – approximately a week’s worth. Cut the paper towels into small squares, soak in liquid (onion gangrene plague water will do), stack, then drizzle with lemon and Elmer’s Glue. Place under a heavy weight in a warm area for three days. Voila: tofu!

Take the corporate approach
It is scientifically proven that children eat. In the name of austerity and to satisfy investors (i.e. you), consider right-sizing your family to correspond with your food budget by laying off one or more children. Your food purchases will go further and your home will smell better and be less sticky. Rest assured that, statistically, it’s quite unlikely that any harm will come to your pre-emancipated children. Unless they look particularly delicious.


This piece originally appeared in Life in Quebec Magazine, March 2016.


About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
This entry was posted in Never Happened and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

40 Responses to Stretch your food dollar until it screams for mercy

  1. Paul says:

    Bwahaha! Great morning laugh out loud. Until the very very end – I had no idea where the “underground veal” entry was going – well done Ross. Meat eaters are generally a pretty laid back crew – after all when your belly is full of good red meat, all you want is a nap = arguing is not even a consideration. That said, I have met some of the Tofu eating crew and they are mean and grumpy and may very well take offense at your comparing paper towels to Tofu. They need a good juicy hamburger to settle them down. Anyway, I digress – beware of Tofu lawsuits: remember what happened to Ned when he dissed the fruitcake industry, it was a frightening response that came from all over the country and ended up with loads of fruitcake appearing at Ned’s door.

  2. pinklightsabre says:

    Laughed out loud about laying off the kids, corporate style, and the solo in the middle portion featuring IJ, digging up a fully-grown cow with supple bones. Eight months, whichever comes first.

  3. Ned's Blog says:

    After reading the part about growing your own meat, I had to wonder if that’s not the only thing you’re growing in your back yard. And laying off your children? Brilliant.
    “Sorry kids, we’re downsizing. Here are 8 boxes of Honey Bunches of Oats. Consider that your severance pay…”

  4. ksbeth says:

    i tried a downsizing with my crew, but they kept showing up anyway.

  5. But wine? I have to have some wine with my onion plague soup! Any tips for that?

  6. byebyebeer says:

    How about trash panda steaks? Just as tender (I hear) plus fancier sounding. Actually this article killed all appetite, well done.

  7. Speaking of “growing your own,” don’t forget that earwax, belly button lint, and toe jam are packed with natural oils and fungus. Don’t be afraid to dig out a spoonful once a week to spread on crackers. It has a nice tang, just ask people who pick their nose and eat it. Which reminds me….

  8. Yahooey says:

    Have you considered submitting this to the Scotsman for publication? A person named Murray talking of porridge and giving original penny pinching advice sounds perfect for their audience.

  9. pegoleg says:

    Great advice! There’s nothing like scrapping with the unruly mobs in the street over a desiccated orange peel for breakfast to start the day off on the right foot.

  10. I recently discovered that my old favorite, Irish oatmeal, is also referred to as steel cut oatmeal. Now, why’d they have to go and do that to me?

    If you pour A1 steak sauce on a slice of baloney and close your eyes, it tastes a lot like steak with A1. I hear.

  11. shoresighted says:

    Be careful Ross. The last time someone tried to sneak into a zoo enclosure to save a couple bucks, things didn’t go so well with the press.

Go ahead, don't be shy.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s