But it was such a good deal. And it still is. It’s just a bit odd, that’s all. I accidentally have thirty steaks in my freezer. And there’s room for more. Maybe I’ll buy some frozen veggies to go with them. Good deals can me do silly things, but that doesn’t mean they’re bad, just – odd. And in this case, tasty.
Four years ago I wrote about the joy, relief, satisfaction of having a Full Pantry.
“I knew finances were improving the first time I bought enough of something that it was silly to store any more.”
At the time it felt like a luxury, because it was. Too many people barely have enough for a few meals at home. Either they’re too busy, don’t know how to cook, and only make enough to buy enough for the next few days.
This is 2020. My full pantry which was a culinary playground and a part of my emergency preparedness kit became closer to a necessity than a luxury. Remember March and April? I’m continuing to wear a mask (~200,000 dead in the US and ~1,000,000 globally, with months to go unless more people act more responsibly.) But, now it is easier to shop. Fewer shelves are empty. And the grocery store is running sales, again.
On Sale! New York Strip steaks for $5.99/pound. Hello! That’s less than what I spend on the local ranch’s ground beef (#ShopLocal). Life as real estate broker doesn’t mean I have a steak diet. I prefer roasts: beef, pork, chicken, ham, turkey; but my work schedule now means more dynamic meal planning. I continue to rely on cheap cuts like pork chops (as low as $1.29/pound when on a good sale); especially because I’ve learned that a frozen pork chop can be cooked low and slow without having to be thawed. Get home. Pop a chop into the oven, maybe with some veggies to roast, and handle those household chores and possibly work emails while dinner cooks itself. But sometimes an already thawed steak is the better and much quicker way to go, minutes instead of a couple of hours.
I’m frugal. That shouldn’t be news. I cruise the discount meat bin when shopping and judiciously buy discounted meat, sometimes steaks. Even at that discount, $5.99/pound wins.
This is America. The land where the steaks should be big and thick and juicy. And that’s the way the butchers cut them.
This is me. My time in the steel mill altered my taste buds (don’t ask unless you want a very long story about real masks and being surprised by people complaining about a strip of cloth after I spent 100F days sounding like Darth Vader), so juicy can taste mushy. I want well done, which can take a long time with a thick steak. I have more years and pounds so I prefer smaller cuts. Besides, smaller, thinner cuts thaw and cook more quickly.
Good news. They were selling the steaks pre-cut. For no charge, they’d cut to my specifications. The trick, I had to buy a twenty pound slab. Do the math. Gulp. OK. Let’s hope they fit in the freezer.
Pick out the meat. Hand it to the butcher. Tell them what I want. Come back in ten minutes. Such a deal.
When I got home I noticed that they cut them a little thinner, but not by much. Most of them were still about 12 ounces when I wanted about 6 ounces. That’s OK. I have a knife, a cutting board, wax paper, and storage bags. After keeping some of them full-size (hey, celebrations do happen), the rest were cut in half. Twenty pounds of meat becomes thirty steaks, meals almost ready to go.
Ah, but would they all fit in the freezer? All I have is a regular refrigerator, with the freezer on top – which is usually nearly full from shopping for sales. Veggies, homemade baked beans, chilis, soups, stock, maybe some chicken, definitely fish and pork, a roast or two, ground beef – and a bunch of discounted and frozen steaks from before. Oops. I have over thirty steaks in my freezer.
This is not optimum. It is also not something to moan about. Burp? Yes. But not complain. Whine? No. Wine? Yes, in the fridge, on the counter and in the utility room.
Some of my frugal friends are far better at managing meal plans and pantries. I run into Use-by Dates and mismatches (Dining By Due Date), like the one time I had everything I needed to bake cookies, had almost everything mixed and the oven warmed up – and realized I didn’t have baking powder or soda. Oops.
I have enough steaks to have one per day for a month. Like I mentioned above, I prefer roasts, chops, and some fish for variety. Mix it up a bit and I don’t have to shop for steaks for months.
Recently I posted about having More Than Enough, and how that doesn’t always apply to money. Well, I certainly have more than enough of that course – for a while.
Tonight the forecast is for the first storm of the season. I am working from home, which makes it easier to make roasts (though tomorrow’s culinary accomplishment will be baked beans); but if the power goes out, it might be a good idea to have a steak or two thawed out and ready to be cooked outside on the grill. And, if I end up going to the office (I recently moved to Dalton Realty in Clinton, for those who are more familiar with Whidbey Island and real estate), it will be good to know I’ll have a quick meal waiting for me when I eventually get home.
It might be more than enough. It might be a silly thing. It might mean a frozen jigsaw puzzle to squeeze in that frozen whole organic chicken I saw on sale for $1.09/pound, but maybe it’s about time for a little celebration every couple of days or so.
Hmm. With that much red meat I might have to stock up on red wine. There are some slots in the wine rack in the utility room, and maybe a sale coming up.
Thanks for sharing this story. This was quite a delightful read. I am a sucker for these types of sales (well, not so much for steaks anymore, we cut out red meat earlier last year, and oddly enough, haven’t missed it…at all). I have to actually create bright lines so I don’t go overboard with my desire to buy all the discounted food in the store. “It was on sale” doesn’t cut it anymore.
Not saying you SHOULD do this, but just sharing how I adopt a similar method. I have 5 criteria that food must meet at least 4 if I’m going to buy impulsively. 1- Have a need for it (recipe, I read an article previously that the food is good for me, or it’s something I usually have in my cupboard anyway). 2- Not wrapped in plastic. 3- No palm oil. 4- No refined sugar, or more than 1 type of natural occurring sugar in the food (no corn syrup, no agave, honey, maple syrup, and juice). And 5- Discounted, or on clearance. If it doesn’t meet at least 4 of the 5, I don’t buy it. It helps me make healthier choices, and save money on impulse buys (but it was ON SALE).
I am becoming more aware of the space in our freezer, too. While I don’t buy steaks, I did start buying tofu from our co-op in bulk, to cut down on plastic waste. However, we only eat tofu about once a week, so how to store the 7-8 pounds? We freeze it. I just have to remember to thaw it out BEFORE we are looking to eat it for dinner…