By LEON YOUNGBLOOD
At the outset, let me say for legal reasons, I will mention products with registered trademarks.
The holders of these trademarked marks will have to accommodate me, here, and I hope they will.
I do not have one of those little circled R symbol keys to indicate a registered trademark. I will replace it with an asterisk (*), and hope this will suffice; but all the same, keep the lawyers handy.
That aside, some persons among my friends and acquaintances who economize (for various reasons) have suggested I write a column about “cheap eats.” They think I am an authority on “cheapness.” This is not an accurate impression, however, for though I try, I am as foolish as 89.2% of the rest of the populace with money. Still, we will discuss cheap eats.
There are numerous options to save a few dollars, at home, or when you dine out. For example, at home, you can feast upon a couple of Banquet* assorted potpies for less than a dollar each. Chicken, turkey, beef, apple, peach—for less than a dollar apiece, they satisfy. They’re tasty, too. I love ’em!
Or, if there’s some special reason to go out on the town—contemplate the value menus at any fast-food joint. At Sonic*, I like the sausage and egg things wrapped in a flour tortilla, for breakfast, and for any other time, I like the cheap chicken sandwiches. I’ve had some of these that tasted like they were cooked the day before; but these need to be consumed while they’re hot, and it doesn’t take long for them to cool down.
At McDonald’s*, the value menu sausage biscuits or McMuffins* do fine. For less than two dollars, you will probably reach your “calorie count,” “sodium count,” and any other health-sabotaging count, for two days. Skip the overpriced beverages, and you can get out for less than two bucks.
But for a little more money, nothing beats Braum’s* biscuit and sausage-gravy breakfast. It’s served single or double, depending on what you want, and it’s relatively inexpensive. If the cook is a decent person, the sausage bits will be large. You will have to go to Poteau to find a Braum’s*. I have done it, though. For me, it requires getting up early at Briar Circle and driving 30 miles, but it’s worth it, occasionally, if I have to go to Ron’s*, or Atwood’s*, or Walmart* , or anyplace else* to get things I can’t find in Heavener.
Don’t eat out all the time, though. If you live in a college dormitory, you’re probably already aware of options. Popcorn is a cheap snack. For formal dining, Ramen* noodles, peanut butter sandwiches, cheap frozen pizzas, but whatever you do—don’t get the dollar-store hot dogs! Or any other dollar luncheon meat, either.
I confess, this may be the opinion of a 60-year-old digestive system; younger intestines might handle it better; but don’t ruin yourself. Ramen* noodles are hazardous enough. But if you eat cheap luncheon meat, you’re tempting the Lord.
These “mystery meat” byproducts are all right if you’re scrounging during the Apocalypse. Otherwise, avoid them.
So, if you need to eat “cheap,” be selective. Financial advisor Dave Ramsey*, a wise and good man, tells the debt-distressed members of his audience part of getting out of debt is economizing.
Live on a rice and beans diet! I agree with him. But add pasta and potatoes to the dietary list, too, and grits. And if the recipe involves boiling water, add chicken or beef bouillon cubes in the cooking process. If you have a couple of fast-food salsa packets, add them. Herbs and spices can be purchased cheap at dollar stores. They’re not “top-notch,” but they are good enough.
You will be amazed what the addition of a few cents’ worth of seasonings can do for a meal that would otherwise be pretty bland.
Due to space, I can’t cover everything, here. These suggestions perhaps do not apply to hunters who subsist on mustard sardines and Ritz* crackers while spending $387 per pound for their deer. But with these suggestions, if I’ve helped the college student, the bachelor, the newly wed wife living on a budget—well—good.
We’re all in this together, though. If you have any ideas or suggestions, send ‘em in.
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