Anyone who has recently turned on her television set, glanced over at someone else’s copy of The New York Times, Post, Daily News, People Magazine, Enquirer, etc. during an early morning commute, or too closely followed another vehicle in order to read the red, white, and blue bumper sticker adhered to its rubber rear, knows that we, Americans, will be faced with a critical, yet exciting decision in the upcoming weeks: Is it time for Cloris Leachman to hang up her dancing shoes or should we cut this 82-year-old woman some slack? Though ageism is a real and relevant form of inequity (and if my blog entry has triggered sudden pangs of guilt, remember that ATT users can make amends via text message every Monday evening after Dancing With the Stars), it is understandably not one of the dominant issues on either campaign’s ticket. Rather, the 2008 election buzz words include (drumroll) pork barrel spending, middle class, alternative energy, exit strategy, Wall Street/ Main Street, Iraq, maverick, and budget.
I am a proud registered voter. I did the research and, as a result, feel confident in my choice of candidate. However, as a politically inexperienced, nearsighted, dinosaur-fearing, brunette female, I know that I should simply focus on smaller things and leave the country to the experts or the elected (fingers crossed that the two coincide). Now that you know where I stand, please note that when I whip out political jargon such as “balancing the budget,” I am referring to my own challenges in figuring out how to eat, play, and pay in Manhattan.
I have been living off of my mother’s pantry and subsequently, my Hofstra meal plan, for the past 22 years of my life; therefore I have little concept of both price of food and of how much I should be spending per week at the store. I initially figured that if I indulged in grocery shopping/stove slaving instead of resorting to take-out and grab-n-go, I should be able to comfortably survive off of a five dollar-a-day budget. Good news–this can be done…if you embrace your old college buddy, Ramen. If you do not know me or are unfamiliar with my picky palette, let me fill you in: I would categorize myself under the health-conscious herbivore column, not the freezer pizza fanatic one.
Organic vegetables and vegetarian protein sources are a) expensive and b) have a shorter shelf life than most other foods. A jar of Almond Butter at Gristedes’ Supermarket costs $15.99! An organic tomato has an “enjoyment window”of roughly four days! At this rate, a young renter’s salad would consist merely of lettuce (and maybe shredded carrots on the weekends). For the splurger, the whole ingredients for flavorful and colorful salads of substance would cost around $35.00 a week plus NY tax (for vegetables alone!). Eggplant, fresh portabella mushrooms, red peppers, onion, and zucchini, though light in calories, all add up in cost. I will post my most recent receipt in an upcoming entry.
In the end, I am not willing to compromise my diet . As a result, I must bite the vegetable bullion cube and accept the fact that eating green costs well, a lot of green.