05 January 2009

Pastors can't be choosers

And neither can their wives. Wir sind Bettler.

A hazard of being a housewife is that you're concerned with household nutrition and read magazines underwritten by advertisers. After a few minutes with Martha Stewart Living or even Better Homes and Gardens, you're suddenly asking why Aldi doesn't carry Greek yogurt and blood oranges and edamame and spelt.

Then factor in The Leftovers. I'm not talking about yours. I'm talking about that stack of bleached refined flour pancakes that came over from the church breakfast or a post-potluck troughload of 100% prefab ingredient mostaccioli. Am I going to toss all that food in the trash because my family is too elite to eat it?

I'm concerned about health, but by golly, we have to live within our means. The occasional infusion of pancakus vulgaris isn't going to kill anyone, and a free meal is a big deal when you're feeding a lot of people. My grocery budget just can't rock out with a food snob or "health" snob shopping list. Once you're moving through six+ gallons of milk a week, you start thinking pretty hard about whether you're going to pay $14 or $30 for it. Maybe we're just lucky that we don't make up the difference in doctor's visits and prescriptions, or maybe somebody has a vested interest in convincing people that they need to pay $3.49/lb for peaches in the middle of peach season.

The good news is that being home allows you the time to negotiate an agreeable middle road. Our potatoes will never be from Urban Haute Foodery* or even Petite Bourgeois 'N Save, but they're not from a box either. Everybody loves to talk about the sacrifices the poor pastor's family makes. Well, amaranth is a privilege, not a right. Set your heart on things above, and your table with what you can afford, which probably won't be that hard on your heart anyway if you put some time into it.

*Don't sweat it. By not shopping at Whole Foods, you won't be bankrolling employee abortions covered by the company's health insurance provisions. Also, did you know that this bastion of enlightened liberalism won't allow its workers to unionize? :D


Lauriinnc said...

Oh Rebekah! This is why I CAN'T read those magazines and have a hard time listening to folks who talk about what is best for us...No one I know can support a family of 4 on what dh makes let alone a family of soon to be 12. Do you know WHY? Because we eat what God provides...whether it be beef parts that someone donated or food pantry cast offs or expired milk that the guy at Sav-A-Lot marks down to $.99 a gallon for us...even if it is chocolate or whole. Dh is a fabulous coupon shopper. That said, he comes home with stuff my educated mommy brain has a hard time serving..but it was free. Hamburger Helper?! You want me to make this? So we use the noodles and call it a day.

We tried the donated homemade even, shrimp creole, honestly, we did...that was one thing that had to go. LOL

Right now we eat chicken. Every day. Because it is the only meat we can buy for less than a dollar a pound. When we lived in Kansas, we ate aLOT of beef and pork because it was cheap and people kept giving it to us!

I am personally waiting for God to provide steak and pot roast, but it hasn't happened yet..which is probably good.

My oldest dd goes to a giant state university with a FANTASITC meal and laundry plan. She misses both desperately now that she is home on break. I told her she was getting spoiled and to enjoy it while it lasts. (I wish I was her!LOL)

tmi, I am sure, but I just really wanted to say thanks for writing what I have thought for many years.

Glenda said...

My favorite "leftover" is all the sausage links from the Easter pancake breakfast. Homemade pizzas galore are easy when the meat is already chopped and in bags in the freezer.

Dakotapam said...

Another church leftover eater here...pancakes freeze beautifully, and make a quick breakfast when you are out of the healthy stuff!

And who can even complain about funeral flowers?

Joy said...

I feel like Such. A. Snob.

I know it's the thought that counts, and I'm genuinely touched that they think of us first. But hello?!? If it's trash to you, it's probably trash to me too. But I'll write a thank-you note anyway.

Reb. Mary said...

Lovin' the leftovers here too! It's a parsonage perk I didn't know to anticipate, but greatly appreciate.

And a timely post, as I just picked up some criminally cheap "enriched macaroni product" instead of the whole wheat stuff :)

Please tell me, Rebekah, that you're not already going through 6+ gallons of milk a week! I'm a-gonna have to start lobbying for a nice Jersey cow instead of a dairy goat...

I still covet your Aldi: I'm just glad that milk is finally under $3 a gallon here lately (!)

Gauntlets said...

I miss Aldi something terrible. RM: I'll split that cow with you, 50/50. Though by the time we feed her properly and cart her between our houses we just as well split her more literally and make a feast of it. :D

Am I a bad person for looking forward to funeral ham? Because I do.

Rebekah said...

Lauri, we're going beef free this year. Dad brought home two big deer in November and we are powerful grateful.

Glenda and Pam, my freezer is also loaded with church sausage and pancakes! :D

Joy, I'm not saying there hasn't been a thing or two over the years that we literally couldn't stomach . . . .

RM, sad but true on the milk. No more recreational drinking of it for me, which breaks my heart, and I use powdered for almost all cooking now to try to offset.

Gauntlets, I'm out of rejoinders. You're on your own.

Gauntlets said...

No trouble. I'll just add it to your tab.

Pam said...

Thanks, Joy.

While I too appreciate it when someone passes along extras to us, it's the thought that counts.

The balance we've come to is to accept anything that's offered, then it's up to us whether we want to eat it or not. The gardener with a surplus of tomatoes, for example, is giving them away because he can't eat them all. If he didn't, they'd quickly rot.

I'll gladly take them, but if they rot on my countertop before I get to them, or if I toss them out when they get close, I don't feel guilty at all.

Joy said...

I also feel snooty because I can't relate to the sisters who have to budget shop. I don't think twice about buying rib-eyes or eating out. I can't help it that the church pays the Rev over district guidelines, or that he teaches at the Lutheran high school, or that he gets royalty checks for writing.

BUT. If it engraciates me at all, he is insanely busy--often gone 80 hours a week. I'm a single mom.

Ethan, Zach, and Emma's Mom said...

This was a great post! I'll never turn away free food. I wholeheartedly agree with Pam, however, that if the food goes bad (in the case of some cabbage I thought I would try to freeze--that doesn't work, BTW) I feel no guilt in throwing it away. I like to remake lots of the leftovers. Example--I made leftover spaghetti and chili from last weekend's youth trip into chili mac. Life a a pastor's wife is all about give and take. You give a little bit of your husband, you take a little leftovers! ;-)

Lauriinnc said...

Joy..all I can say is God be praised that you get to enjoy financial freedom. God provides is the bottom line and we all STILL have burdens to bear/share this side of heaven.

The Parson's Wife said...

"Set your heart on things above, and your table with what you can afford..." what a great statement! I think it is funny that people gift us items from the monthly gov't funded foods... beans, velveta, pasta, dry milk, oats, canned meats, dry eggs... I have learned to use all of these for fine dining (sort of funny that I am paying student loans for culinary school LOL) I thank God for these items!

Rebekah said...

Joy, I didn't know there was such a thing as paying over district guidelines. ;) Not complaining. I love it here.

EZEM--not a fair trade, but apparently one we can live with!

Parson's Wife, isn't that a good one? Like eating meat sacrificed to idols! :D

Joy said...

Lauri--when I'm caught up to you I'm sure we'll be wishing we'd saved every penny. I have 3 girls and I'm thinking unpleasant thoughts about paying for 3 weddings! I have *almost* fond memories of subsisting on Ramen noodles and tomato soup during the sem days. Mmmmm....MSG.

Lauriinnc said...

Joy! LOL seems we never grew out of those days..which rank right up there with "first year Lutheran school-teacher" days!

As for weddings...we girls in the family were really hoping this "last" baby would be a girl to even the score. When I found out it is a boy, someone mentioned the clothing savings (I hadn't thought of that!) and then I thought about the wedding savings! LOL

Truly I am just happy this one-to-be is healthy. I adore my wee boys. I wish the 13 yo was still wee :(