Stop me Before I Blanch Again

When I post to this blog, I usually do so with the faith that someone else out there is thinking/feeling/doing the same thing, or that at least you might find it amusing to read about what I’m thinking/feeling/doing even if (or especially if) it’s a little off the wall.

But I recognize that there is a line across which laughing along with me turns into shifting uncomfortably in your seat. The smile is still on your lips, but it’s tentative now. You’re not sure what it says about you that you’re laughing at me. You’re looking around for the exits.

I don’t know where that line is, but I’m still hearing folks saying “Right on,” “Word,” and the occasional, “Amen” in response to my posts, so I’m fairly certain I’ve not crossed it yet.

And yet there’s sometimes that question in my mind: Is this the post that’s going to meet with that uncomfortable shifting and polite smiling? Is this the post that someone in real life is going to mention to me and lead me to say, “Oh, my. I can’t believe I said that about myself”?

I don’t think this is that post.

This post is about Rachael Ray and how insidiously her influence has infiltrated my consciousness.

It starts at the gym. I spent 30 minutes running on the treadmill yesterday, which means that I spent 30 minutes watching Dr Oz even though Ira Glass was talking about the 2010 congressional elections on my headphones. Rachael Ray was a guest on this particular show. She was promoting her new book and giving little tips about how to stretch your food dollar. I got two main messages from her. The first was to buy a lot of something when it’s on sale, then blanch it, if necessary, and freeze it, thereby preserving that sale price. The second was to prepare all of the week’s meals on the weekend and essentially eat leftovers all week. These ideas rode the exercise-induced elevated adrenaline levels to my brain where they proceeded to produce new synaptic connections and thereby alter the way I think.

Today, I went grocery shopping.

I went online before making my list and found the current sales flyer, which I read carefully while the words “loss leaders” echoed through my head. After looking at the sales flyer, I wrote on my list things like navel oranges, turkey, and canola oil because they were on sale. When I arrived at the store, I discovered that the items in the flyer weren’t the only items on sale. I also purchased, among other things, two pomegranates, five yams, three bunches of broccoli, and a pound of tortellini in tomato pesto for the kids to eat for lunch.

When I arrived home, I warmed the tortellini and sat the kids down in front of it while I put away the groceries. I froze the turkey wings I bought in anticipation of turkey soup next week. I halved the beef roast and chopped half of it up for stew meat and left the other half for a mini pot roast and put both in labeled freezer bags. I sliced the sirloin steak for thai steak salad and put that in a freezer bag.

It was at about this time that I discovered that my son was chewing up the tortellini then spitting them out and sitting on them, so I took a break to clean that up. Then I cut up and blanched the three bunches of broccoli, and put them in three labeled freezer bags, too. It was as I was putting everything into the freezer that I remembered why it is I’ve never taken this course of action to save money on food before: we have a serious freezer-space deficiency.

I did manage to cram everything in there while saying a silent prayer of gratitude that the dairy-free ice cream bars weren’t on sale.

 

That ice maker isn't hooked up to the water supply. If I could figure out how to remove it to make space for more blanched veggies, I would.

 

 

I’ve been lobbying for a chest freezer for a while. My husband’s reasons for not getting one are decent: he doesn’t want to spend the money, he doesn’t want something else taking up space, he doesn’t want something else using up electricity. He read somewhere that a totally full freezer runs more efficiently than a partially full freezer, and that has become his mantra when I bring up the chest freezer idea. I’ve suggested that adequate airflow is also important for proper freezer function, but he is not swayed by this argument.

I’ve also argued that we could make our Costco membership go further if we had the freezer space to buy perishables in bulk, and that I wouldn’t need to buy expensive frozen berries over the winter if I had ample freezer space to freeze berries when they’re ripe at the farmers market. The berry argument gave him pause, but he remains resolute about his “no chest freezer” stance.

Maybe I should just buy one for him to put under the tree for me.