Saturday, December 27, 2008

Food for thought, or just food

I'll post the second half of my Milgram Experiment, Pysops and You hopefully later today.

In the meantime, I was at work yesterday, and the nature of my work takes me all over the place. Here in the The Great Central Valley of California, shops were empty. The "new" Black Friday that retailers had hoped for apparently did not materialize. Even Walmart's lot off of 205 in Tracy was only about a quarter full (no different from a regular day) when I cruised past it at about noon.

Food gift baskets that contain jams, jellies, canned hams and such are radically marked down in stores everywhere. The same goes for gift packs of your favorite adult beverages.

Buy them and break them down. Eat the foods that do not have a long shelf life such as Summer Sausage (the delicacies you may have been denying yourself), and squirrel away the rest for consumption in lean times, or for trade, or for making gifts.

Holiday themed cake mix and frosting, such as Pillsbury's Funfetti, are also on sale. It's a white cake mix, and judicious alterations using food colorings and suitable decorations, the mix can be used to bake a cake for any occasion. Last year my wife picked up several boxes for fifty cents each. A year later after proper storage, they were just as good as fresh.

Some grocery stores in the area are also selling canned yams and sweet potatoes in number 2.5 cans for fifty cents each. We've found that the cans keep well with no detectable change in flavor or consistency for two years. We haven't kept them longer than that, my wife donates them to the local food drives before I can carry the experiment out another year.

Watch for specialty vinnegars (raspberry, etc.), and oils (truffle, walnut, hazelnut, etc.) to be on sale. It's still expensive, but not nearly as bad as having to pay full price. If you like to cook like I do, then it is always nice to have a supply of quality ingredients. I've read quite a few pieces about how oils go bad, and some vinnegars as well. I've found that if you keep them unopened in the original container, in a dry, cool, dark place, that doesn't seem to be true. Some of my stuff is already three years old and just as good as the fresh stuff.

Happy eating!

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