Latkes! And lessons learned

So last night I made potato latkes. Yum!! For those of you out there with no bubbe, let me tell you about them: I learned to make them years ago, when I worked in a Jewish deli. They’re a delicious combination of grated potatoes and onion, bound together with an egg and a bit of flour. Saute them up in some oil, and they’re ready to eat. Traditionally, they’d be served with sour cream or with applesauce, but, of course, I had no such luxury. Here’s a picture of them:

As my food comes to an end, I got to thinking about my leftovers, and how that came to be. I have three items left over: Some rice, some oats, and a couple of cups of milk. And this leads me to my lessons learned about shopping in the bulk section. Take a measuring cup.

I needed half a cup of rice per day, and originally planned for 2/3 of a cup of oatmeal per day, for a heart breakfast. So I bought 4 scoops of rice (a little more than the 3 1/2 cups I needed) and 5 scoops of oatmeal (again a little more than the 4 2/3 cups I needed).  I used the scoop with was with the bins, and assumed it was about 1 cup. Well that scoop must have been over a cup. Here’s how much tice and oatmeal I have left over:

That’s 150 grams of rice and 350 grams of oatmeal. Of course I expected to have oatmeal left over, because I cut back to 1/2 cup per day, instead of 2/3. (The huge bowl of oatmeal was too much, even for me!) So I spent 90 cents too much on rice, and  $1.70 too much on oatmeal. So I could have had $2.60 more to work with. That’s one tenth of my whole budget! If I combined that with the cost of my litre of milk ($2.19), I could have bought a generic 1 kilo tub of yoghurt, instead, and gotten that many more dairy servings (almost 6, instead of 4).

I also learned a lesson about the bins that the beans come in – I had my bag up to the spout, and pulled the lever to let the beans out… and THEY ALL CAME OUT! I got more than 600 grams of beans with one eensy little tug on the lever. Now I only wanted about 100 grams, so I had to remeasure the beans into another bag, and leave the excess behind, on a shelf. So with the next dispenser, I’d learned my lesson: Pull the Lever VERY Slowly!

And one more shopping lesson that turrned out great: I bought some oil. I found a 500 ml bottle of olive oil on sale for $2.99 while I was shopping – That oil’s been a lifesaver – I’ve used it fry eggs, my frittata and latkes, to toss vegetables for roasting and all sorts of other things – I’ve even used it for a snack, by having a bit of olive oil spread over some bread (as opposed to dipping foccacia in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, the way one usually would…)

And so – the main lesson I’ve learned? The one has to plan VERY carefully, and shop VERY carefully and cook VERY carefully: EVERY SINGLE TIME. Absolutely any mistake means that you, your spouse, or your children will be lacking even more nutrition than the “welfare diet” already strips from your food intake. One needs to be obsessively attentive, or you’ll lose nutrition (I mean, who really takes a measuring cup to the store??)

Meanwhile, Come on over for some rice pudding tonight – I’m going to use my lunchtime banana, mashed with milk and the leftover rice to make some rice pudding instead. Bon appetit!

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