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Food, gloriou$ food

Submitted by on Sunday, 1 June 2008 No Comment

Originally published Sept. 18, 2007, thehive.modbee.com

I bought my first three-pound crate of American cheese today — $10.89 for Kraft at Raley’s. The store brand was two bucks cheaper, but I can’t buy it because, of course, it’s made with Yellow Dye 5.

It would have been one for the baby book, except that thing died before Big Guy’s “36,000 miles walked during colic” warranty expired.

I can remember the day when I’d toss the remnants of a 12-ounce package of cheese, orange-edged and crunchy, during a semi-annual fridge cleanings. If I’d known then what I know now, I would have bought a cow.

Make that a herd. And learned to make cheese while I was at it.

Today’s cheese slab was partly a nod to economy – even when I was single, I’d buy the biggest package I could reasonably expect to use within 10 years – and partly fatigue. I am tired of running out of stuff and making emergency trips to the store.

This whole “feeding four” thing still is a shock to my system. I lived alone for more than 10 years and got used to food lasting a long time. I’d cook a beef roast, eat it for three or four days and freeze the rest. I’d just about faint if my grocery bill topped $50 every two weeks.

These days, $50 barely keeps the guys in milk and strawberries, and a two-pound roast lasts roughly two dinners and a lunch.

I took a two-pound loaf of bread out of the oven at noon today. By bedtime, it was three-quarters gone. Granted, it lived through snacks, dinner and tomorrow’s lunches, but, still. I have to make more bread already?

I understand now why my mom made weekly pilgrimages to the bread surplus store when we were kids. She was feeding five.

Even Big Guy, for all his well-documented pickiness, can pack it in. His latest obsession – Oscar Meyer Deli Fresh Roast Beef. It’s one of the few lunch meats he can eat, and he devours it. Little Guy had a few bites from a seven-ounce package the other night, while Big Guy polished off the rest. Along with a half pint of strawberries, a slice of bread and two string cheeses. Half an hour later, he wanted a bowl of Cheerios.

Little Guy, of course, is famous for eating anything and everything, in mass quantities. He had bounced on top of me at 7 a.m. today, shaking my shoulder and demanding, “I hungy. Wake up.” Whatever happened to good morning”?

He had oatmeal and milk at 7:15, dried pineapple an hour later, string cheese and crackers an hour after that. Then came a banana and, finally, a brief break before lunch at 11:30.

It sneaks up on you. You’re so excited when you buy first buy those cute little two-ounce jar of food that you don’t see a few years down the road, when there’s barely a break between feedings and the easily-filled baby bellies turn into bottomless boy pits.

The shift has surprised even Big Guy. A few weeks ago, as I was making yet another quart of chocolate milk, he asked, “Mommy, why doesn’t it last very long? It used to last a long time.” I pointed to his brother. “There are two of you now.”

And Dad still hasn’t quite got it. He does most of the grocery shopping, every two weeks, and the last time he came home with one box of instant oatmeal. He looked surprised when I told him less than a week later we were out. Ten packs divided by two piglets equals how many days, I asked. He shook his head. “When did they start eating so much?”

I know it’s going to get worse before it gets better. My brother would chug two gallons of milk a week when he was a teen.

I really should buy that cow.

Copyright 2007 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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