No-Bread Bane / Bain-Marie Boon

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I dunno how conditions are in your neck of the woods, BUT, the mere sight of the Stateside, broken supply chain’s emptied store shelves is depressing; so much so, that I’ve not been psyching up sufficiently to haul my heinie off to the supermarket. Consequently, since my last store visit (nearly one full month ago), I’ve observed my supply of cracked wheat bread dwindling; from loaves… to slices… to breadcrumbs…

Alas, this early a.m., that presented a problem; seeing how my oatmeal and coffee main menu frequently features a bain-marie (double boiler) warmed over peanut butter and jam sandwich for dessert.

ASIDE #1: If you’ve yet to consume peanuts / peanut based products, DO be cautious. Check this out…

“A peanut allergy is one of the most common food allergies. About 1 in 50 children in the US have a peanut allergy. It is a food allergy that commonly causes anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening symptom of an allergic reaction. There’s no cure for peanut allergies, although many children outgrow them.”

(Ohio’s) Cleveland Clinic • Read Full Article Here

ASIDE #2: The de-linking of our supply chain has also cleared the shelves of creamy peanut butter (especially the stir the oil back in variety); all of which has necessitated my becoming more “adventurous”; i.e, opting to check out the chunky variety (which rarely sells out). In this case, my message to the non-allergic masses: DO be adventurous; in this man’s opinion, there are few culinary pleasures that can top munching into a PB & J sandwich’s delish, warm goobers.

So, with all asides now set aside… here’s how I compensated for my down to bread crumbs, crummy plight.

I began by upping my usual oatmeal serving size from 1 to 1½ cups. While everything cooked up, I located my smallest loaf pan; the actual L x W x D:

  • Centimeters = 11½ x 6½ x 4
  • Inches = 4½ x 2½ x 1½

Once the oatmeal was ready, into the loaf pan I spooned / spread out, evenly, the following ingredients:

  • a bottom 2 cm / ½ in thick oatmeal layer
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp strawberry jam
  • a top 2 cm / ½ in thick oatmeal layer

I placed the goodies loaded loaf pan into the now rinsed clean, reheating bain-marie. In the approximately 15 – 20 minutes it took for me to savor my bowl of oatmeal, the mock PB & J’s peanut butter oil was re-separating and the jam was liquefying; thereby imbuing the surrounding oatmeal.

Obviously there’s also plenty of room for future, ingredient experimentation; e.g.

  • adding a crumbled crackers top layer
  • replacing the jam with pancake syrup
  • including raisins, dates and figs
  • subbing in seasonal fresh fruit
  • sprinkling on spices (e.g. cinnamon)

Who’d have thought it possible that a bain-marie could transform into a stove top bakery?

As for the two cereal layers’ ability to replace the bread slices, the oaty flavor proved vastly superior; so yummy that I’m no longer in any particular hurry to haul my heinie off to the grocery store.

My reinvented PB & J sandwich, summed up more succinctly:

Confection Perfection!

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Eggs-istential Enigma (Part 1)

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This past Wednesday, I Ventured forth into the looming, zombie apocalypse for a much oVerdue grocery shopping “adVenture”. Like my waistline, my larder was thinning out, alarmingly so, and that’s ill-adVised, especially against the preVailing backdrop of massiVe ciVil unrest and societal upheaVal.

To keep it all real, who the hell eVen knows where one’s next meal might be coming from; e.g., [1] with Vicious, Venomous, Vacuous Vlad Violating Ukraine AND on the Verge of Vaporizing the entire planet Via the launch of his nukes, [2] Vexing Corona-V Variants Vehemently challenging the Vaccines and [3] aVaricious, maleVolent human/Viper hybird corporate VIPs deVastating the global supply chain (for fun and profit).

Hmm, waddaya think of my aboVe paragraphs’ “V” alliteration?

Anyway… all wordplay aside…

My primary shopping options were to EITHER frequent an in-town supermarket where the shameless CEO’s ongoing business model has been price gouging; predating, by multiple decades, our current sorry state of inflation OR head for an out of town, more reasonably priced store.

FYI, I’ve been limiting my trips to the latter to avoid the 89kph / 55mph highways; the far lower local speed limits saving wear and tear on my 23-year-old vehicle.

As expected, I wound up finding thinned / emptied shelves, storewide. Even so, I did manage to load up the grocery cart, so much so, that the checkout lane cashier’s total came to $282.

Well, something just wasn’t adding up. You see, with pen in hand, I’d been keeping a running tally while shopping, ergo, I suspected this amount to be an overcharge; in the neighborhood of $15.

However, factoring in how I hadn’t had enough sleep the previous night, this gave me reasonable doubt that I’d done all my math correctly. Additionally, seeing how too damned many customers / Karens have been needlessly stressing out our frontline retail workers, I opted to give her the benefit of the doubt; i.e., defer registering any on-the-spot gripe.

Ergo, once back within the confines of my own home, I unpacked the shopping bags and carefully organized my haul atop the dining room table, kitchen countertops and (re the perishables) within the refrigerator.

With the register receipt as my guide, my audit began. With pencil in hand, I began checking off all that appeared to be OK.

Conclusion: while my math had been spot on, what I hadn’t taken into account was getting charged for 98 items when, IN REALITY, I had only placed 93 on the conveyor.

BOTTOM LINE: The cashier had charged me for 5 cartons of eggs.

The Eggs-istential Enigma, here, is that I had not purchased even 1 carton; which begs the key question:

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How the hell did, not 1, but 5 NON-EXISTENT egg cartons’ bar codes get scanned?

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My being a 30-year retail veteran (now retired) sales clerk, cashier and manager, I’ve heard and seen just about everything, ergo, I do have several working theories (not all of them involving innocent, human error if you catch my drift).

However, prior to my going into any details (to be revealed within my planned Part 2 to this post), I’d like to, first, run this by you, my readers; discover what you may be reading into this Eggs-istential Enigma.

I mean, this all sounds so bizarre that when I report this incident… and I do intend to report this… to that store’s complaint department manager…

Will (s)he even believe me?

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Fortune Cookie Blog: Oceans of Tears

What a crying shame it is, that there are never supply chain breakdowns;
no shortages when it comes down to the worldwide distribution of hatred;
the root of all evil; the relentless driving force behind bloody warfare, gun
violence, police brutality, terrorist attacks, insurrection, vile acts of torture,
enslavement, homophobia, fascism, racism, casteism, sexism and ageism.
Let’s make this New Year the moment we start drying our oceans of tears.

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Supersized US

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As far as food product marketing scams go, this one may sound innocuous, yet…

The practice of supersizing portions (“just” to speed up repeat business / fatten the corporate bottom line) can also (literally) fatten the consumer’s bottom line.

In addition to bigger servings leading to bigger butts (depending on the product), the accompanying, alarmingly unhealthy tonnage of sodium, sugars and saturated fats can lead to hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, osteoarthritis, etc.

Let’s flesh this issue out… oh… say… by talking peanut butter (preferably the healthier variety that requires our stirring the separated peanut oil back in).

CAUTION: No discussion would be complete sans a warning of potentially debilitating and deadly Peanut Allergies. Best advice to first time, potential, goober eaters is to always exercise caution; i.e., seek advice from your primary care physician!

So, here’s where we’re at. We’ll start by factoring in the peanut butter industry-wide suggested excessive, serving size; as well as crunch the other sandwich ingredients’ numbers…

  • 190 calories [2 tbsp (32g) peanut butter]
  • 160 calories [2 slices of bread]
  • +50 calories [1 tbsp (20g) jelly or jam]
  • 400 calories [Grand Total]

400 calories for JUST 1 sandwich? Geesh, that’s 20% of the typical adult’s daily, 2,000 calorie intake; which can easily stymie our best intentions (New Year’s Resolutions?) to stick to a nutritionally well-balanced diet.

Additional Stats: Each jar of my favorite peanut butter brand promises 23 sandwiches, total, however, by my spreading it just a tad more sparingly, I’ve been able to net 8 additional sandwiches (31 total). This also drops the calorie count from 190 down to 141. Doing the math:

190 calories X 23 sandwiches = 4370 calories
4370 calories ÷ 31 sandwiches = 141 calories

  • 141 [PB]
  • 160 [Bread]
  • +50 [Jelly / Jam]
  • 351 [New Total]

This sandwich total can be further reduced by
buying lower calorie breads and fruit spreads;
or, even better yet, slicing up some fresh fruit.

Beyond That: These 8 extra sandwiches mean that, for every 3 jars of peanut butter (8 X 3 = 24), I’m netting 1 more sandwich than each jar’s peddled 23. Yep, that’s like getting 1 FREE PB JAR for every 3 purchased. Even better, I’m easily maintaining my old college day’s “fighting weight”; and, all the while not sacrificing one iota of PB&J sandwich flavor.

Beyond Beyond That: By not using up the PB so rapidly, this helps compensate for supply chain woes, which, way too frequently, render our supermarkets’ PB and J aisles barren.

Beyond Beyond Beyond That: Staying fit and trim just might, someday, save my life in yet another way. You see, this liberty loving, liberal can envision literally fleeing for my freedom; namely, outrunning fascistic freak Trump’s Inauguration Day 2025 “parade”; one overrun by his marauding QAnon zombies; menacing, MAGA maniacs; psycho Proud Boys; deployed goosestepping goons and rolled out tank commandos.

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Stay Publicly / Properly Masked!
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Stay Healthy!

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Fortune Cookie Blog: Xmas Red & Green

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Attention: Holiday gift buyers! If you’re getting boxed in by
by big box retailers and shackled by supply chain gremlins,
why not Sidestep the Needless Stress by Shopping Locally?
Small business owners will be so happy, they might go the
literal extra mi / km; free gift-wrap / deliver your presents!
Worry not, most chain stores will survive ‘cause each CEO
Superman & Wonder Woman knows how to (legally?) cast
spells that can morph ledger Red ink into tax break Green!

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Stay Publicly / Properly Masked!
Stay Safe at Home!
Stay Healthy!

-30-

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When the Cupboard is Bare

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America’s latest buzzword is the I-word: Infrastructure.

Of course, too many leaders, legislators and laypersons, alike, fail to think big; to look beyond the roads, bridges, utility poles, sewers etc; and more to the point, fail to factor America’s current supply chain woes into such discussions.

To take the artsy, charitable, euphemistic road, let’s refer to these minimalists as “traditionalists”; not that they’d think big about even maintaining a minimalist tradition, either.

Anyway we look at this, untold decades have passed sans proper upkeep and upgrades to the mechanisms that move commodities from point A to point B.

And, once we factor in pandemic panic buying… well… I’m sure most of us are all too familiar with the end result phenomenon of store shelves / fixtures that… that…

Uh… let’s just say that if you’re in the market to buy dust bunnies, there’s NO shortage of ’em.

Such was the case, yesterday…

ISO a couple loaves of bread, my original intent had been to do a quick in ’n’ out at my local supermarket. That’s when the mere sight of picked over shelves instantly morphed me into a panic buyer.

I mean, those last 2 jars of my fave peanut butter were mine; ditto that re the last 7 cans of tomato sauce, 1 can of coffee and 5 packages of breakfast biscuits (which, btw, had been out-of-stock for 6 long weeks). Hell, I even upped my bread purchase from 2 to 6 loaves (my intent to freeze the surplus).

At that juncture some comfort food was in order and, as you may have already guessed, I wound up snagging the 1 last box of doughnuts.

Bottom line, instead of spending under $10 I wound up forking out over $80.

It was on the drive home, that I got to thinking; what if, in some instances, the cause of the empty store fixtures is not, exclusively, supply chain related?

Now, here’s where the issues, not unlike the actual undelivered products, can start to pile up.

  • Labor shortages due to an evolving workforce; one that’s disgruntled with back breaking, gut busting, low paying, laborious drudgery.
  • Unscrupulous CEOs squirreling away surpluses within their warehouses; thereby fabricating the very “shortages” which trigger all too real panic buying.
  • In the short term, these head honcho’s will manage to exploit shoppers ISO viable alternatives; coerce us into settling for less popular brands / substandard products.
  • In the long run, these conman-managers will get to greedily witness the primo merchandise flying off the shelves when they DO eventually get around to the restocking.
  • And, sans any doubt, only doing so AFTER they’ve reprogrammed the check-out barcode scanners to assess values which far exceed each item’s MSRP.

Yep, there’s never any shortage when it comes down to inflation / price gouging.

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Stay Publicly / Properly Masked!
Stay Safe at Home!
Stay Healthy!

-30-

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