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Small economies

The economy, experts say, is doing fine. There’s no inflation at all.

I look at my $20/week bill for milk — just milk! — and thing “Bullshit!”

And then I read the fine prints. There’s no inflation if you disregard the following factors: gas/oil, housing costs, food.

Umm… that’s all my budget, really. I mean, other than insurance, electricity, phone-tv-internet, and … um… laundry I guess, my entire household budget falls under those  three categories. Okay, rent for the garage and savings are separate, too. We’ve cut all other spending down to the bone. Oh, wait, no, healthcare is a huge item on our budget, too. And no one can pretend inflation doesn’t exist there!

In addition, I’ve started insisting on non-CAFO meat and dairy and eggs. And organic everything else. Which means meat is much more expensive, as is every other damned thing we eat. (The exception being vegetables through our CSA in the summer… but it’s frigging February!)

So I’ve been embracing my inner French farm wife.  I don’t buy bread very much anymore — I make it. I don’t eat meat as a main course, I use it as a flavoring or a part of a larger dish. I eat a lot of eggs and beans. (I hate beans, but I eat them.) I buys my grains whole and in bulk. I make my own hummus. In fact, I never buy pre-made food if it’s at all feasible that I make it myself. And you’d be amazed at what I’m willing to make myself — I’m learning to make cheese and yogurt soon. (Soft cheeses. Hard cheeses are beyond the scope of my physical location.)

Also, my upstairs neighbor — a handsome young grad student — is going to pay me to make him lunch. I make lunch for the husband every day, so it’s not a big deal to double up. What’s funny is that I was debating how much to charge him and decided on $10… no, $9 a meal. (It’s a big lunch — yogurt with jam, carrots with hummus, trail mix, two kinds of tea, and a main course, usually a soup or braise or casserole.) And this delightful man said, “No,” and I opened my mouth to say $8, and he said, “How about $12?”

Cooking for your bachelor neighbor is very French farm wife.

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