Its the little things in life that bring me joy..a pleasant summer day, an orange sunset over the mountains, a case of HydraShock 9mm sitting in the back of the truck…that sort of thing.
What makes me particularly purr-like-a-cat content this weekend was going to CostCo and stocking up on a few things. Also, saving money makes me happy. And if I can combine the two – stocking up and saving money – then Im about as happy as Bill Clinton at female swordswallowers convention.
About a week ago I was up at Wally World and while wandering the aisles I took the time to make note of various prices and serving sizes for later price comparison. When I was at Costco yesterday I checked against my notes and found that some stuff was indeed cheaper at CostCo than at WallyWorld. Example? The canned chicken broth I wind up using frequently was $0.72 at WW, if I bought a 12-pack of it at CostCo it came out to $0.5825 per can. A savings of approx. $0.14, or $3.36 for the case of 24 that was purchased. That doesnt sound like much but look at it another way, it was the same as if getting six cans free. Or, put another way, 25% off.
So, stocked up on a few flats of canned goods, a case of toilet paper (because while there are substitutes, there are no good substitutes), several pounds of butter, about 15# of pasta and of course a healthy selection of meat.
The bulk ground beef gets broken down into 1# packages, vacuum sealed, labelled, and entombed in the deep freeze. Of course, at the same time, the oldest ground beef gets pulled out and shuffled into the kitchen freezer for use. Currently, I think the stuff I have thawing is dated 2004. Yes, if you vacuum seal it and freeze it (not in the freezer built into your fridge, which doesnt usually get to the mind numbing cold of a true freezer) it can keep for years. Oldest stuff I’ve pulled out of the freezer has been close to five years. Once thawed it cooked up just fine. The obvious advantages (and disadvantages) make bulk purchasing of meat an extremely economical way of doing things.
Chicken, on the other hand, has been a delight to store. Know why? Theyre packaging the chicken breasts in their own vacuum sealed, datecoded, heavy plastic pouches these days. I dont have to do anything to it other than throw it in the freezer. Damn convenient.
And, just to keep my freezer from turning into some sort of meat mausoleum, theres a write-n-wipe board on the door of it that is used to keep track of whats inside. Thus, when I head for the warehouse store I can tell if I need another 15# of ground round or another 10# of bacon.
The butter, by the way, freezes really well but if left in the freezer for any real length of time will start taking on wierd odors and flavors. Vacuum sealing it prevents this and greatly increases its shelf life. Yes, you can also can butter (or buy canned butter) and although its more expensive, I hear its quite tasty. Handy for when freezing/refrigeration isnt an option.
So, returning from CostCo, running the vacuum sealer, stocking the shelves, updating the spreadsheets and admiring the enhancements to the food stockpile always put me in a better mood. Nothing says ‘security’ like several months worth of food. Except of course for ammo. And fuel. And metals. And guns. And medical gear. And warm clothes.