Saturday, October 6, 2012

In Which Frugal Sister Checks In

Growing up in Anaheim during the 1960's certainly gave a person exposure to the process of a disappearing agricultural heritage. Mile after mile of fertile farm lands were constantly on the losing end of the bulldozer. My brother and I would ride our Sting Ray Schwinn's (the ones with the banana seats) to a neighboring orange grove so that we could chase jackrabbits and gorge on fruit. At first, these treks were very close and then it took longer and longer to get to the fields. I'm still amazed that we could just jump on our bikes and casually mention we'd be back for dinner. I think we were about 6 or 7 years old. Who does that today? We all have an opinion about the kind of parent that allows their young children to free range the streets unsupervised.
Two years later, I was a butter ball logging some serious hours in front of the black and white. My favorite food: sugar whipped into some sort of lardy fat. There was a convenience store (a new invention!) two blocks from our home and the introduction of high calorie/low nutrition was just the thing to make me forget that I was seriously unpopular and that my mother (unlike the other moms) was working and distracted by her own worries. Hand me a Hostess Suzy Q (two pieces of chocolate cake held together by a "creamy center"), a Big Hunk bar and I was ready for an afternoon of couch potatoing. I remember waddling home with a bag of junk food so that I could catch my hero Gigantor  'the space age robot' save the world from the evil enemies (who always seemed just a bit oriental and sneaky).TV did not end until it was time for bed.
My East Coast sister's perspective is thoughtful and reflects the ambiance of an intellectual. When I recall my childhood (the parts my psychologist has allowed me to dwell on), I can mention the birth of the "drive thru" culture, the frozen dinners, the relentless assault by food advertisement and the siren call of the predatory packagers of nutrition-less 'easy food'.  It's hard to consider just how many new innovations in the last 50 years are about getting food into our mouths faster and cheaper than ever in the history of humans. It's boggling. I'm not 'for' people going hungry, but when you look at the offerings at the grocery stores, food might be cheap, but balanced fresh nutrition is still expensive. More so than ever before
 I'm a struggling single parent and I have some methods for working with tight budgets. It's not only a quest for good, tasty meals.... it's also a passion for not letting the system 'game' you into buying overpriced items that are nutritional underachievers propped up by exploitative advertisements
Grab your nachos and come along, it's gonna be fun!

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