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    Filling Tummies for Less

    January 11, 2006 by Brandy Vencel

    It’s funny what a difference a day makes {as the song goes}. 24 little hours…Monday night I was perusing my Square Foot Gardening book, mentally planning the spring garden that E. and I {and A., once she can walk} will be working on with my dad. I dreamed of picking a fresh salad straight from the garden. And E. dreamed of growing some carrots to put ranch dressing on. I know this because he told me so.

    And then, yesterday morning, I went to my new neighborhood grocery store and fell in love!

    It is cheaper…a lot cheaper, actually. And anything that stretches our dollars farther is a blessing to the whole family. But that wasn’t the reason I was excited. I was excited because of the novelty of it all.

    For months I had been hearing about how this grocery store was supposed to be so different because it sold bulk foods, and that was so much cheaper. I was dubious, because all I could think of to compare it with was Costco and I just couldn’t envision myself bringing home vats of mayonnaise that would last our little family a couple years {though I wouldn’t mind buying olive oil by the gallon, but that’s another story}.

    But this is different. Let me explain. You know how some grocery stores sell bulk coffee beans? How they pour the beans into those tall plastic containers and then you grab a little bag, put it under the dispenser, pull the little lever, and pour out as much as you want? Or the way you can buy plastic bags full of rice or beans or something by putting a shovel into a giant barrel? I actually think this is an older way of selling things, back before man created things like packaging and artificial preservatives. That is what they mean when they say bulk.

    If you cook from scratch, which I do about 90% of the time, then something like this can revolutionize your life. There is an entire department lined with these tall plastic containers full of normal staples, plus nuts, dried fruit, popcorn kernels, wheat germ, and, my personal favorite, cracked bulgar wheat. Okay, so it’s not my favorite. But I have this recipe that requires it as an ingredient, and I haven’t bought it because I don’t want to buy 10 pounds worth for an experimental recipe that only asks for half a cup.

    They also do bulk candy, which I think will come in handy for all the baby showers I’ve been throwing lately.

    I suppose this really doesn’t conflict with my garden as much as I originally anticipated. After all, I don’t plan on growing coffee, corn, or wheat, so this really is going to positively affect the food budget…which should give my hard-working man cause to smile.

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  • Reply good-looking man January 11, 2006 at 8:20 pm

    Who am I to argue against that? Thanks for the compliment, love.

  • Reply Brandy January 11, 2006 at 8:10 pm

    Well, now, I think we both know I married you for your looks rather than your wallet. =)

  • Reply Hard-working man January 11, 2006 at 7:21 pm

    Yes, I am smiling. Thanks for being so financially savvy and conservative. I hope to make enough money one day to buy you an entire gallon of virgin olive oil.

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