Certain foods just seem to go together – Burger and fries; Mac and cheese; Chips and dip. The same can be said for some of our activities – A movie and popcorn; A ballgame and hot dogs; A concert and wine/beer.
You might partake in any of these on a special occasion or even on a daily basis but… is one person’s perfect combo meal another’s as well?
I have some favorites that may or may not appeal to anyone else:
- Salmon, brown rice and steamed broccoli
- Grilled Swiss cheese and avocado
- Chocolate brownie with mint chip ice cream and hot fudge
My Dad prefers:
- Salisbury Steak and mashed potatoes
- Meat loaf and mashed potatoes
- Hamburger and mashed potatoes
Maybe our palates are set as children – depending on such things as: if you grew up during the Depression or if you bought daily school lunches. Who knows? But as long as your health isn’t affected and it makes you happy… To each, his/her own!
Many times I’ve heard my Mom say (to no one in particular), “this bottle used to be much bigger,” or “it used to be ____ ounces and now it’s only ____.” We’re a nation of label readers but what other choice do we have?
It’s a well-known and accepted fact that prices rarely go down (sale items not withstanding). But then, why should the size (or the quality of the product, for that matter) diminish? Here are a few ripoffs I recently discovered in our kitchen:
- 1 lb can of coffee is now 11 oz
- 1/2 gallon tub of ice cream is now 1.5 qt
- 6 oz container of yogurt is now 4 oz
This might not come as a surprise to some of you but many people, especially those on a fixed income or budget, rely on these foods as part of their regular diet and sustenance.
Did you know that you used to be able to get two decent sandwiches out of a can of tuna? Now, an 8 oz can of tuna is only 5 oz (4 oz drained) – which barely makes one tuna sandwich. For elderly people and even mothers of school aged children (who make their kids’ lunches), this means having to buy twice as many cans at twice the cost.
As unfair as it sounds, we must face the facts… Less is not always more and you don’t always get what you pay for!*
*StarKist Tuna – listed at $1.29 a can, paid $.89 on sale (but still used to be a bigger can)
Friendly’s Ice Cream – listed at $3.49 a 1/2 gallon, paid $2.50 on sale (but still used to be bigger)
Dannon Greek Yogurt – listed at $4.99 for a 4 pack, paid $3.33 on sale (ok, you get it)
Summertime… and the livin’ is easy. Oh, Mr. Gershwin sure had it right. That’s how I remember my childhood summers – playing outside in the warm sunshine till it was time to come in for dinner; eating dripping ice cream cones before they melted down my arm; and going to ball games where the sounds and smells were like coming home.
Huh… funny how times change.
Now, as I sit inside my air-conditioned home, I can hear the visiting grandkids of our neighbors running around outside, screaming and having fun. And then I hear my Dad’s voice – yelling at them to be quiet from the comfort of his lounge chair in the living room (“bratty kids” – “why can’t you go play somewhere else?”).
Later on, when the sun starts to set, we go out on our terrace to relax and breathe in the cooling air. I look over at my Dad and see him not sitting still but, rather, swatting away at the pollen endlessly blowing from the trees and the bees that have moved on from the flowers to our private domain.
When we finally surrender to the natural order of summer and come inside to watch the ball game on tv, we’re barely into the first inning when I hear Dad yelling at the screen (“you moron” – “I coulda caught that ball” – “are you blind?”).
Ahhh, the sounds of summer. The only thing missing is the smell of stale beer and sauerkraut.
And if you listen really hard, you can almost hear yourself thinking, “how many weeks till fall…?!”