Saturday, June 28, 2008

Feed your face for less

We don't have food riots here, not yet anyway. Food shortages have been in the news lately. We love our food, maybe a little too much. We have networks devoted to cooking and fine eating. Is there anything better than watching a marathon of "Top Chef" while eating a bucket of fried chicken?

Have you noticed that bucket costs more? Connect the dots with corn. Corn is in short supply because it being used to make Ethanol to help alleviate the petroleum shortage. It's taking corn away as a food source. Corn isn't only found creamed in cans. It's used to feed cows that make milk that is turned into cheese, butter, ice cream and other creamy goodness. Some cows end up on our grills on a hot summer day. Corn is also used to feed the chickens that end up in the Colonel's bucket.

With the recent flooding along the Mississippi River, crops took a hit, contributing to the food shortage. We connect the last kernel of the cycle with the higher cost of shipping food to your grocery store due to, what else, higher cost of fuel.

Gasoline is taking a bigger bite of our monthly budgets so we struggle to find ways to shave a few bucks or even cents from our controllable expenses. Food prices may be rising, but it is possible to eat well with a little planning and creativity.

My favorite trick is to use a crock pot. My crock pot is about 30 years. The brown crockery is round and deep. New models are oval and a lot more streamlined. The premise is same after all these years. You put the ingredients into the pot in the morning, set the timer and take off for work. Eight hours later, the odors of cooked food greet you at the door. You'll be less likely to pick up some fast food on the way home, if you know dinner's almost on the table.

Eating out costs three times more than cooking at home. Here are some more tips on how to save money on food.

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