Welcome to the Poorhouse: the Fresh and Easy Life
However, on this fine day, I find myself needing some quick ingredients for some concoction I've already started in a pot. I'll take the financial hit on a couple items for the sake of convenience and in hopes I'll make up most of the difference by biking instead of burning gas to more economical stores miles away.
My mood improves and there's a bounce in my step as I get reacquainted with Henry's aisles. I always loved this place, obviously too much considering the number of purchases I made on plastic that have now come back to haunt me. I might otherwise feel guilty even being here since my pay grade no longer affords these everyday higher prices, but I rode over on the same bike, am wearing the same clothes and will stuff my purchases into the same canvas bags as I did when I thought I could afford to shop here, so what the hell?
For instance, I really wanted to populate my cart with a pint of butter pecan ice cream one week, but there should be no buying non-necessities when that money could be rightfully going to my debtors. (See how they've got me thinking?) I guess a lot of people were in the same ice cream boat, because the following week the butter pecan pints remained stacked neatly but the price was now slashed to $1.50 each. In the cart you go. Screw the credit card companies, I'd rather this $1.50 hang on my hips. Meats and seafood that are a few days from expiring also have their already reasonable prices slashed considerably. Just stock up and throw them in the freezer when you get home. I learned that from a fellow at a party who was also singing Fresh and Easy's praises before I'd ever been.
Another reason to go would be to test out the recipes in The 99 Cent Only Stores Cookbook: Gourmet Recipes at Discount Prices. I caught author Christiane Jory talking about her cookbook -- and first book -- on an NPR podcast unlocked from an iPod abandoned in my home. Published last year, The 99 Cent Only Stores Cookbook was born out of necessity and the Los Angeles native's desire to continue enjoying the good things in life while surviving as a starving artist. Through trial and error with the under-a-buck ingredients, she devised 100 gourmet recipes for appetizers, side dishes, main courses, and desserts. These include Artichoke Spinach Bake on Homemade Pizza Bread, Green Beans Au Gratin, Chicken Tetrazinni and Pinot Noir Poached Pear Tart.
One secret Jory shared involved substituting ingredients not found at the store with products that are in stock. So, if there is, say, no nutmeg, she'll make due with curry and other spices to make it work for her. Making it work is becoming crucial these days. I dare wonder where I'll be shopping next if my financial pounding continues. (Coming up: my guide to dumpster diving!) In the meantime, who knew life in the Poorhouse could be so delicious?
Previously in Welcome to the Poorhouse: