I’ll accept that nobody cares about this category – what foods or drinks I liked. But, it’s also true that 1) this is my site, 2) it’s my last time to have the podium and 3) food and drink were a big deal to me just like they are to you or anyone else.
I’ve mentioned on this site that my mom was a miserable cook. I loved her, of course, but please. I can remember a meal we probably had three times a week – macaroni with a can of tomato soup poured over it. Ugh.
Until I left home after high school, I really never knew what it was to eat good – and by that I don’t mean expensively, I just mean good tasting, much less filling.
In fairness to my mom, she worked all the time and we didn’t have much money. I just don’t know how my dad could stand it. At least kids are resilient. Besides, we didn’t really know the difference.
Obviously, when I could afford to eat whatever I wanted, I often would. Even so, I was always cheap. I didn’t want to spend money on things that would cost very much, so I had to learn how to either accept food that wasn’t as good or figure out how to get a great meal for not much money.
From the time I moved back to Topeka in 1978, I fell in love with Godfather’s Pizza. I guess they have 622 locations in 39 states, but it’s headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska – so it’s not surprising there are lots locations in these parts (Kansas City).
My ideal food is pizza and my ideal pizza is a Godfather’s All-Meat (no sausage, no Italian sausage - yuk!), extra cheese. That’s heaven on Earth right there.
"The World is your Oyster." The problem is, I hate Oysters – and I hate Shakespeare! Now, if he had written "The World is your Godfather’s Pizza" I might still be around reading him!
After my second divorce in 2004, I started a mission to learn how to have great meals that were cheap and quick – meals I could make myself. I was successful as far as I’m concerned. I’ve never eaten so good as I have the last nine years even though my budget is $6/day.
Of course, when I eat out – and I do now and then – I pay considerably more than that (duh). But, with respect to the meals at home, it’s an average of $6/day and there is no reason it needs to be more than that.
I’ve mentioned elsewhere that I only eat one meal a day and have for decades. That’s supper. So, the entire $6 goes into one meal. It’s probably unrealistic to think it could be done if I were eating multiple meals a day, but I see no reason to do that. It takes too much time and probably would cost more.
I became a "one-mealer" in the 1980’s and have never looked back. I estimate that the entire amount of time per day I spend buying groceries, preparing my one meal and eating it is less than 30 minutes. I’m all about time efficiency and reducing time spent anywhere I can. That enables me more time to do those things I want to do… like write and crunch numbers.
As much as I loved Godfather’s pizza, I simply couldn’t justify it because it was so expensive. Most pizza places have really cheap pizzas that you can get for a nickel and a dime, but almost all of them are crap compared to GF. Having said that, even crap pizza is a lot better than most things. Still, I always yearn for GFs.
I finally figured the best way to do it was to order and pick up the jumbo. There is a long-standing $4.00-off coupon on their site for a jumbo and so applying that with tax, it’s just over $28. It wouldn’t seem like someone as cheap as me could justify a $28 pizza, but here is how it works.
They cut it into 12 pieces. And, unlike most of these other pizza places, including the worst of all – Pizza Hut, the gunk on a GF pizza goes all the way to the edge of the crust. With Pizza Hut, the outside two inches has almost nothing on it. I can't even comprehend how Pizza Hut is still in business. GF is filling, to put it mildly, even for someone like me who can eat a ton.
I’d been losing weight over the past few months leading up to August 15th, but I could still do the GF jumbo thing. I would have three slices each day for four days. That’s $7 per day, but I get back to the average of $6 because almost every other meal is less than $6.
I love spaghetti, stew, taquitos smothered in cheddar cheese, chef salad, meat loaf, tacos and many other things. I don’t snack so that saves money. I buy all my food from Wal-Mart, so that saves money as well.
As to drinks, I remember when I was young, we had little to drink other than water. My dad hated milk, so I decided I didn’t like it either. It wasn’t until high school that I started making Kool-Aid. I would put so much sugar in it, it was ridiculous. The idea of drinking pop was inconceivable. We couldn’t afford a luxury like that.
It probably wasn’t until I was in my mid 20’s that I started drinking soda. Sometime shortly after that, it became the only thing I drank. No milk, no juices, no tea, no coffee, no beer, no water, no nothing except pop. For many years, I drank Pepsi exclusively. I finally decided I should try to learn to drink Diet Pepsi considering how much I drank. It didn’t take long before I had retrained my taste buds into believing it was just as sweet as Pepsi. So, for many years, that’s all I drank. Over the last 15 years, I’ve switched to Sam’s Club diet cola for about half my drinks and Sam’s Club (non diet) uncola called Twist Up. A two-liter bottle of each is about 60 cents - less than a far smaller bottle of water. WOW, what a scam those water producers have got going on and what suckers people are that buy it, but I digress.
The other day I was in a fancy Fed Ex retail store where they do everything. I've used them for a number of different jobs for this site. They have candy and cola for sale. There is a little fridge there with several different kinds of pop. They are all the same size - 20 fluid ounces - although they didn't look like they were any bigger than a can of soda (12 ounces). But, let's say 20. The cost was $1.50 each. That's 7.5 cents per ounce.
A two-liter bottle of Sam's cola or a variety of other soft drinks is about 60 cents at Wal Mart. A two-liter bottle has 68 fluid ounces. So, that means it's less than a penny per ounce. And, that means that the pop I drink at home is about 8-9 times cheaper per ounce than at the Fed Ex store! This is a classic example of the difference between me (cheap) and someone else who just spends what they have. I would never in a hundred years buy one of those bottles of water for $1.50. And, because of that miserly mentality, I'm able to give away money to quite a few people before I die.
As much pop as I drink, the cost would be prohibative if I were to pay the rate many people pay. Also, drinking a lot of fluids - whether pop or not is part of why I’ve always been healthy, but I’ll leave that up to the nutritionists to debate.
I drink the diet cola exclusively when I eat. I drink the uncola at other times. Neither seems appealing to me if I were to switch their roles.
About six years ago or so, I decided I wanted to try to figure out how to make a really great fruit slush. I succeeded. This is the best in the world.
First, go to Wal-Mart. Buy a gallon of Robert’s Fruit Punch or Robert's Strawberry Banana. Either way works fine. After the first time, you will have an extra empty gallon around. Pour half the fruit juice into each gallon and fill the rest of it with Twist Up.
Take half an unfrozen banana and half a frozen banana. This requires having frozen bananas. To make this work out you have a baggie in the freezer and the bananas inside of it are pre-pealed and cut into fourths.
Then, you take a tray of ice, put it in a blender with two fourths of a frozen banana, one half an unfrozen banana and you fill the blender to whatever approximately 20 ounces would be of the fruit juice. Blend it on high speed and what comes out is heaven. I have one every morning (whenever that is).
Obviously, my obsession with eating cheap and only eating one meal a day and only drinking a couple different products is consistent with my overall abnormal and obsessive personality.
By the way, you can check out my cook book – due out in 2014.