Well, I was at Wal-Mart last Saturday to pick up a few things that we needed like coffee, milk, cereal, cheese, etc… Oh right! And let’s not forget pepper – the most underrated of all the spices, I suspect.
At my house we use pepper on a daily basis, but I never really give it much thought. A sprinkle here and a sprinkle there – who’s keeping track?
Unlike those cooking spices where I have a pretty good idea of how much I’m using. The right spice can make all the difference – provided I exercise a dash of self-control.
So…, I made my way to where I needed to be, and as I was reaching for that teensy-weensy bottle, I noticed the price – $7.98 (or there abouts). Ouch! I hadn’t bought pepper in a while, but I don’t remember it costing that much. Did I miss the train again? Somebody wanna tell me when pepper got to be so expensive?
This got me to thinking about the 2 liters of milk in my cart, and the fact that it was twice as expensive as the 2 liters of soda pop, not in my cart. Somehow, it didn’t strike me as quite fair that I should have to pay so much more for something that’s actually good for me.
Which in turn got me to thinking that for a family on a low income, pop might represent a cost efficient alternative to milk – with milk being reserved for the younger ones and for things like cereal. I’m willing to bet (well almost, because I don’t believe in placing my hard earned money in the willy nilly hands of luck) that mothers on a fixed income rarely drink the amount of milk their bodies need.
I’m no expert, but milk still does the body good – these things are always changing as you know. And – in addition to calcium, she probably isn’t getting enough other important nutrients as well. The same could be said for other members of a low income family.
But the bottom line doesn’t care about things like that, I suspect.
Then I flashed back to my twenties – the extra lean years. I was in university, so money was scarce to say the least. I also had two young daughters at home, who trusted me to care for them. And with money only able to stretch so far – cause it has its limits like the rest of us, I had to prioritize expenses.
This meant that any juice or milk in the fridge went to the two of them. I didn’t really pay much heed to the fact- even then, I loved my coffee. Although to save money, I used coffee whitener instead of milk.
And given the long lineups at the university’s food bank, many other students were struggling to make ends meet as well. Often times, our common struggle became a bonding point.
At which point I paused for a second, only to notice the cheese underneath the cereal – which right then and there, reminded me of my beautiful grandmother. Nanny would sometimes come stay with me during those lean years of my youth. And let me tell ya, I’d look forward to my grandmother’s visit for days in advance.
I dearly loved my grandmother. My daughters considered her nothing less than royalty. Nanny always took the time to listen to their stories – saved just for her attentive ears. My youngest daughter -who was about four then – would sit in total fascination, watching my grandmother eat her lunch. Nanny would take the opportunity to charm my daughter some more.
Nanny was diabetic, so I planned our meals ahead of her visit. The two things I always made sure to have on hand were Purity crackers and hard cheese.
Remember that these were my lean years, so cheese wasn’t bought on some silly whim. When I did buy cheese, it went into the homemade mac and cheese that my daughters loved.
However, Nanny’s visits meant that cheese had become a snack on the aforementioned Purity crackers. I was determined that my grandmother would never know to what degree I was struggling.
Well, my grandmother passed away some years back, and I still miss her. But I’ll always be grateful for our time together. And I haven’t made mac and cheese in what seems like two lifetimes ago. My daughters eventually outgrew their favorite dish.
The cheese in my cart was for my night time snacking habit. As it turns out, I love cheese and crackers just as much as my grandmother did.
But old habits die hard. So whenever there’s a sale on, I now buy in bulk to fight the ever rising cost of living – especially if you like meats, fruits, vegetables, etc. And let’s not forget pepper.
©Brenda Baker ~ Caffeinated Ramblings 2017
I was eating supper with my daughter one evening, and mentioned to her about how expensive pepper is. So I decided to share my ramblings with you as well. And as always, please feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments section. I love hearing from you. 🙂
Until next time, be kind to yourself.