Friday, October 3, 2008

Three things I probably shouldn't be buying

1 - Spectrum brand organic canola oil, $9.99 for a 32 oz bottle. Why I buy it - conventional canola oil is GMO. Alternatives - conventional Mazola, about half as expensive. Likelihood I'll change - 50-50. We basically only use it for stir frying and bread making, and a bottle will last usually a couple of months. On the other hand, such a small amount somewhat undermines the advantages of organic.

2 - X brand bread flour (I forgot to write it down, and I can't find it on line. It's not a famous brand. I'll let you know when I find it). About $8 for 5 pounds. Why I buy it - it's good! It's got all sorts of nuts and seeds in it, and it's organic and whole grain. Alternative - regular bread flour, not as crunchy but less than half the price. Likelihood I'll change - pretty high. I bought the store brand this week, I'll try it out and see if it works. If it does, I might still buy the expensive kind once in a while, but it's probably not worth the expense of having it in the house all the time.

3 - Kroger 100% pure maple syrup, about $8 for a 12 oz bottle. Why I buy it - the other brands all have high fructose corn syrup as the first or second ingredient, and that's a deal breaker for us. A bottle lasts a month or two, depending on how often DW makes pancakes. Likelihood I'll change - not very high.

And for a bonus -

4 - The Sunday New York Times - approx. $30 a month. Why I buy it - The Wichita Eagle sucks. Plus, Frank Rich rocks! (Give 'em hell, Frankie.) When I called the last time to cancel, they gave me the intro price for another 16 weeks, which has now run out. Likelihood I'll stop - it remains to be seen. It's tough to imagine living without it, but considering I have trouble paying my bills, this has to be considered a luxury item. And besides, it's cheaper to go to the store to buy it.


Mary T said...

If you like the spendy bread flour--maybe its time to get your own grinder? I sold mine recently but used to grind grains/nuts. Just don't use it now that kids are grown. A used electric grinder might be a good deal on ebay or craigs list sometime. Then you just buy grains/nuts at your health food store, keep them in the freezer and make your own spendy bread mixes.

rebmoti said...

Hmmm, I've never thought of that. I'm not sure I know how to do that. Could I use a coffee grinder or do I need something bigger?

Mary T said...

There are many types of grinders. The electric grinders made for grinding grain are the best thing to use--but they are pricey--so don't do it unless you really will use it alot. I got mine free from a freind but after many years I sold it on craigslist--because we don't use it as much anymore. I've tried hand grinders they do not do the job well enough. Coffee grinders--I'm not sure. I use mind for spices mainly I never tried it with grain. It would take quite a long time to get enough for your use I think in a cofee grinder.

I would ask myself--1. Do I really bake with whole grains frequently and consistently? That would be at least once every week.
2. If I buy a grinder I can expect it will cost between $100-$300 (go for the lowest electric you can find--2nd hand--ebay/craigslist) Ok--if I spend $200 that would amount to about $4 per week for one year's use. If you plan to use it longer than 4 years-- its $1 or less per week. So you see it can be a reasonably good investment if you use it long term. Of course you still have to buy grain. If you buy grain in bulk and keep it in air tight containers it can last a very long time. I used to keep my wheat and other grains in 5 gallon food grade buckets. I got mine free from Dairy Queen but they are buyable--it is also possible to purchase screw on lids instead of the ones they come with.

The thing is to really be honest--what's going to fit your lifestyle and budget better? Expensive flour or a pricey gadget and grinding/mixing your own?

Sometimes if you watch freecycle or craigslist in your area someone may just not want their old one too. I sold mine I think for about $75 --which was a deal to the buyer--but it was free to me and I had used it for years. They are not usually so cheap.

There are websites and books galore on the topic if you want to learn more.

Mary T said...

Oh--one more thing--you can SHARE the cost with others--if you know anyone else that uses whole grains for baking. You maybe could even find someone on Craigslist or maybe through some group you belong to--that would like to share a grinder.