It Costs What?

As I was driving home, a 5 minute commute without traffic, I was thinking two things. The first, how frustrated David Suzuki would be with me for driving my vehicle such a short distance. And as I spewed carbon dioxide into the air, I was also thinking about supper. I decided to let the inspiration to come to me once I arrived at Wild Earth, which happens to be an under a minute commute from our apartment. And, as I walked into the trendy little grocery store, I realized all my reusable shopping bags were at home carefully folded and neatly tucked in a corner of the storage room.

If there is one reason to go to Wild Earth (there are many), its their meat selection. They sell absolutely gorgeous, tasty beef. They also carry Irving Farms bacon and sausage, which other than Old Time Country Meats, has the best sausage and Englishy bacon around town. But as I browsed, I remembered my morning resolve to eat low unsaturated fat today thanks to Paul Plakas and his “get ripped quick” eating plan basics he sent to a friend of mine. I ate squeaky clean until 3:00 p.m. (we can excuse the four chocolate covered ju-jubes my sister generously gave me when I was at my crazed 2:00 p.m. I NEED CHOCOLATE NOW OR WE ALL DIE mood).

So I look at the chicken. At Wild Earth, a single chicken breast is selling in the neighbourhood of $3.75.  Dinner for two, therefore, would be $7.50. Not bad in the scheme of things, but I’m in a frugal mood. I looked at two thick juicy pork chops, and they were $3.50 for both. A steak, a rib eye, big enough to share, was $8.00.

Suddenly, I became my Baba, and felt I was living in war times. I resolved to make a frugal supper. I looked at ground beef. They had the usual generic ground beef, 36 lbs for $10 or some such thing (it was pale and hardly pink and didn’t look appetizing so I may have got the details wrong  *wink*). The other choice, dainty little 300 gram packets of Spring Creek Angus beef for $3.90. Lovely, beautiful beef, dark, red, and, well, meaty. The choice was obvious.

300 grams of ground beef would make one burger in my world, had I a BBQ. And I needed to share dinner with Mr Walsh Cooks. So, again, recalling all the novels I read, the stories I heard from my grandmother, I thought, “I’ll stretch this beef out and feed a group of 40 from it”. I sashayed back to the vegetable section, and there on the shelf were these humungous white mushrooms. “The meat of vegetables” says the ad on the radio. So I buy a lot of white mushrooms, deciding then and there, that I will make a modified Shepard’s pie for dinner, with the mushrooms acting as a filler.

The mushrooms, I paid $2.20 for about 7 big white mushrooms, and same again for two big onions. Ridiculously expensive. But what can one do? Live on Ramen Noodles? Not likely. The sodium count in those babies is comparable to the Pacific ocean.

Although Michael and I are fortunate enough to not be experiencing financial  hardship, we cannot deny the price of food in Edmonton is expensive. At one time, I would not pay attention the cost of the food items I placed in my basket. Now, I’m keeping an eye on it, because what I think should be a $30 basket of food, is easily turning into a $110.00 basket of food.

There is inexpensive, quality food in Edmonton. One just has to look for it. By some weird cosmic connection, both Michael and I decided to buy a loaf of sour dough bread today. I bought mine at the former Tree Stone bakery for $4.50. Michael bought his at the new Vienna Bakery for $2.15. And his was bigger. And it tasted like a more natural sour dough.

Anyway, I don’t want to turn this blog into a shoppers forum, because people read this who live around the world. And if you are reading this from somewhere other than Edmonton,  it would be interesting to know what you pay for things like 300 grams of ground beef, 7 large white mushrooms, 2 white onions, and a loaf of sour dough bread.

(long pause)

And now, time has past and we have eaten dinner. It was a success. And of course, while eating we couldn’t help but discuss the mosquito issue, because nothing is more appetizing than talking about mosquitoes. I had wondered how the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would be warding off our blood thirsty vermin. It would be horrible to be dressed up as they are and have a gallon of Off sprayed on them. However, I should give them more credit. They seem like a hardy couple, and a few mosquito bites, followed by insane scratching, followed by bleeding and a scar, might just be the perfect gift to take home from Canada.




12 Comments Add yours

  1. Michelle says:

    You know, that’s the first thing I said to my husband when we moved here. I was pretty horrified at how much my twice weekly grocery shop was. It doesn’t help that we are addicted to good food, and I buy expensive stuff. But leaving out that, goceries are brutal here. As you said, very easy to spend $110 (which incidentally was my last shop, which kinda jolted me out a bit)

    A lot of people shop around in the UK, which is one trend I haven’t seen here as much. Its difficult for me to do that, as I have no car, and once I’ve loaded up in Safeway, I am unlikely to go to the Superstore just because I want to pick up some veg or something, if you see what I mean. Also, big supermarkets don’t do online shopping, like I used back in the UK (and that does save money, as you are not tempted by stuff in the aisles, and tend to stick to the favourites list) However, I have found that the Italian Centre will provide me with substantial savings, especially if I plan my meals. I am also thinking seriously about going on a budget soon, the bills are getting insane with taxes, power, gas… a little scary though!

    But what can I say? Creature of instinct… that’s me. So I have hold on and hope that husband gets a raise soon to support my grocery habit 🙂

  2. habanerogal says:

    I have not been able to be as Ethical or local or natural as I would like due to feeding 2-4 teenagers and hubby but I do like to indulge in the quality meat and veg on occasion

  3. Lael says:

    I have on order some sort of miracle repellent, reccomended by a friend. I shall report in a post whether it works or not once I get it! It’s all natural.. I often wonder how the Royals are doing with the bugs too. It must take great self control not to smack and slap themselves constantly.

    And I just wrote about Chocolate covered Jujubes! Sadly, I’m out:( ha ha But Idle Wife mentioned she loved them so she’s got me thinking about making homemade ones, we shall see!

    Our grocery bill has gone up hugely. We spend over 1000 a month for a family of four and we eat mostly veggies and fruit. Craaazy!

  4. Walsh Cooks says:

    Grocery habit indeed. I’m an addict. I loved shopping in the UK. It seems a far more simplistic way of life than here. Mind you, my husband who is English, also never needs more than a pot of Marmite, white bread, butter, tea, milk and bananas. If I wasn’t around that is all he would eat. Easy to shop for. I’m making small steps and threw out my Costco membership renewal for this year.

  5. Walsh Cooks says:

    It is difficult to break old habits, and some days, when price comparing, it is just plain easier to shop for groceries imported from China. Having said that, I will now go and pack my recycling bag a little better, put the reusable grocery bags by the door, and go outside and hug a tree.

  6. Walsh Cooks says:

    Miracle repellant! Intriguing! I will wait for the news.

    $1000 in vegetables! I would pay that, to tell you the truth, if I actually ATE vegetables. I say I do. I have a fridge full of them. But truth is I just don’t. I’m on a learning curve – trying to find ways of fooling myself that I’m not eating veg when I actually am. Yes, I’m still 5 years old. 🙂

  7. Thought provoking on costs…
    and regarding the mosquitoes… there is nothing to be prouder of (figuratively) than a healed scar.

  8. I can’t believe you’d spend that much on food! I can more than get by on the equivalent of $30, maybe less, I live in Britain though. Two large onions here probably cost around 40p, which is maybe $0.60. 7 large mushrooms would cost maybe 80p, or around $1.30-40. Those are guess conversions, though, and I’d usually go for chestnut mushrooms as they have more flavour for only a little extra money.

  9. Walsh Cooks says:

    Well frugalfeeding, make room for me. I’m packing up and moving to the land of Marmite, tea and Battenberg cake. I just bought one single sweet red pepper for $2.07, which is about 1 pound, 36 p. Outrageous, isn’t it?!?! The thing is, there are bargains to be had in Edmonton, but a person must get in their automobile and drive too and fro to the various discount places to find them on sale. It can take a few hours finding “bargains”, and I do put that in quotes, because if you calculate the amount of money you are spending on gasoline, sending up toxins into the environment, the price is probably dearer than just slipping off to the most convenient shop and pay a higher price.

    Thank you for your comment. So excited to know someone in next-favourite-country-after-Canada is reading this!!

  10. Crimson Rambler says:

    Yup re the price of food…but we eat well, better (too much better) than we used to. For fresh produce, I will shop at H and W, which isn’t TOO far away, and there only — except for the 2.5 kg. bags of fresh spinach, which I buy at Real Canadian Wholesale…where I also buy the stupid-big sizes of non-perishables like soap, etc. And meat out of the “Meat Mistake” aka “Clearance” bin, IF it’s good as well as cheap. Big scores on ham, there, sometimes — this week, thick ham slices at $5.49/kg. They’re first quality; but they’re sliced crooked. One serving runs about 85c, I figger. I haven’t yet figured out how to keep my shopping down to one outlet, though.

  11. Is that really what we’re known for?! I mean I LOVE marmite, but I hate tea and am not a big fan of battenberg… alas stereotypes will out. That is a little ridiculous, a massive sweet pepper here is maximum 85p. Cars add money to everything, thank god I’m only 20 and haven’t learnt to drive yet, so all my prices are as you see them :P. I’m glad you prefer us to America! But does France not figure at all?

  12. Dr. CaSo says:

    Hahaha, you make me laugh 😉

    I moved here from Toronto and was shocked by the price of food!! Way more than in Toronto!! I love to go to the market but I buy 3 tomatoes and 3 radishes and it’s already $20! Crazy place!

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