Friday, April 4, 2014

Food Inflation

One of the advantages of handloading ammunition is that one learns to become attentive to tactile cues.

It is common to stop in mid-sequence because you  had a piece of .357 Magnum brass in a batch of .38 Special.

Family Traditions

We started a family tradition when I was working second shift on a regular basis.  We had two teenagers in the house and Mrs ERJ was running on "Empty" by Friday.  Friday became pizza and a  movie (on DVD) night.  It was a matter of survival.

It is a good tradition.  We pick a movie that may be of interest to several members of the family.  As parents we retain veto power but mostly we let the kids pick the movie.


I picked up the Rising Crust, 4 Cheeses pizza for tonight.  It felt light.  I looked at the weight.  It is 19.5 ounces.  They weighed 26.5 ounces the last time I bought one.  I pay attention to weights and nutrition information for a couple of reasons.  Sometimes a bargain is not a bargain.  Also, I want my kids to eat as healthily as possible. 

It may sound silly to mention "pizza" and "eating healthily" in the same breath.  But if the first rule is to do no evil then  rule 1.1 is, "If one must do evil then to choose the most hypovirulent form available."


Mac-and-cheese is another of our family staples.

We were shopping on Sunday after church. The mac-and-cheese has been downgraded from 8 ounces to 5.5 ounces.  The down-sizing in packaging has been so willy-nilly that the picture on the package was a different pasta of a different shape than what the labeling identified.
Another thing that has happened is that "Marketing" is pushing "creamy", "chipolte", and ""jalapeno". 

"Creamy" is starch which is way less expensive than dairy.  The thinking is that sauce is what paints the tongue and is 70% of the sensory loading that convinces your brain that you are eating yummy food.  More sauce might mean more aggressive painting.

Chipolte and jalapeno offer much flavor per penny.  More to my liking, they offer much flavor per calorie.  Our main consumers of mac-and-cheese will not be handicapped by a sensory profile that is so big, and so bold that the diner fails to notice that 2.5 ounces of food did not hit the plate.

The Staples

It is hard for me to get exercised about inflation when talking about filet mignon.  I start to notice when the inflation hits ground beef and chicken thighs. 

Denial dies when inflation hits the starchy staples:  potatoes, rice, pasta, bread, pizza, cereal.  The starchy staples are the lowest step on the grocery store food chain.  There is no more flexibility in terms of trading quality-for-volume beyond rice and flour, soybean oil and sugar.  The shoe starts to pinch and there is no larger size to move into.

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