Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Moving food around and teaching Army daughter a thing or two about convenience food

With our food storage being in almost every room in the house I've almost completed moving the "home grocery store" to the new hidden room.  After the grand kids came back from Army daughter's house we emptied the rest of the garage shelves and loaded up the shelves in the hidden room.  This evening I moved my filled canning jars into the room as well.  The beans and boxed goods are still in the pantry in the mud room.  They will get moved in the next few days. 

I think the way we are going to use the new room is to only enter it every couple of weeks.  I'll go "shopping" there and take out a couple weeks worth of stored goods.  These will then be put into the pantry in the mud room.  It will be much easier for me to keep inventory that way. 

I was surprised at some of the food items that I found when sorting through everything!  After all, not only was I shopping over the last year but Army daughter was too.  Toward the end of their stay I was grocery shopping and putting all the canned goods into my bedroom closet.  No need to put them with the rest, they weren't going to get used anyway.  Army daughter, son-in-law, and baby moved in on Thanksgiving last year and left just a month ago.  Army daughter didn't like home made food so a lot of my home canned goods from 2009 and 2010 weren't used, yet alone items from 2011.  I can't blame that all on Army daughter.  I did find three jars of tomato juice that I canned in 2006 and a couple of jars of plums from 2007.  Oops. 

I found six jars of jam.  I don't mean my home made marmalade, blackberry, blueberry, strawberry, apricot, peach, or plum jams.  I mean store bought jam.  Strawberry and blackberry store bought garbage with ingredients other than fruit, sugar, and pectin.  Have you read the ingredients in store bought jam?  Some of the items don't sound like things you should be eating.  But according to Army daughter, this is good stuff and you don't have to spend time in the kitchen making it.  

Well those thoughts may have worked for Army daughter before but now that they are in their own house she's telling me that money is tight.  Really?  And what are you feeding that adorable little girl of yours?  The $2.50 container of Gerber ready to eat macaroni and cheese still?   No, she's now making her a frozen meal of macaroni and cheese.  This was only $2.00 for 7 1/2 ounces.  So it's almost twice as much food as the Gerber for less money.  Such a deal!  About a dollar per meal.

What about making it yourself?  Even if you don't want to get the noodles for $1.00 a pound and the cheese sauce mix, or even shredded cheese, the frozen stuff isn't any different than Kraft macaroni and cheese for 80 cents a box.  And that box is 7 1/2 ounces without any water added.  It's probably close to a pound once it's prepared.  Let's see, four meals out of one box (baby sized meals, not grown up meals) so it would cost 20 cents per meal. 

Then Army daughter said that the frozen is so much more convenient.  You are right, you spend 1 minute preparing that compared to 3 minutes for the boxed stuff.  No, it takes 15 minutes to make it.  Yes, but you don't stand there for 15 minutes do you?  You take a pot out, fill it with water, and put it on the stove.  30 seconds tops.  Then you go do something else.  You come back and pour in the noodles and give it a stir.  15-30 more seconds.  You may come back once to stir it or maybe you don't come back into the room for 10 more minutes.  Then you give it a stir, drain the water, add the package cheese and a little milk.  One minute, maybe one and a half or two.  Total time spent: 3 minutes. 

Let's compare the time it took to make the meal vs. the cost of the meal.  Let's say you made something of this sort for the baby 20 times during the month.  If you spent an hour total making 20 lunches of Kraft you would spend $4.00.  If you spent 20 minutes making the 20 frozen meals you would have spent $20.  That's an extra $16 dollars you spent to save 40 minutes!  That equals $24 per hour.  (From bulk the price would be $2.00, which translates to $27 per hour more!)

I then asked if son-in-law is earning $24 an hour.  No?  But you are spending $24 per hour when you make the frozen lunch for the baby rather than $4 an hour by making it "home made".  Doesn't make sense to me.  When looking at it from that perspective she said that it was really expensive to feed the baby that way.  Will she change?  Doubt it.

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