Letter To The Editor: Dealing With Inflation

By MARK DEVOLDER
Los Alamos

Decades ago, I read an article about a 90-year-old lady on a limited income eating cat food.

When Sophia Loren left Italy, she was dirt poor. After becoming an affluent actress, she was quoted as saying something like the following, “Once you have been poor, you never lose the feeling that you could lose it all tomorrow.”

Depression-era personnel who worked at LASL in the 1940’s also knew how to deal with privation. Actually, they seemed to thrive on it and considered their experiences to be an adventure. Ah, the Manhattan Project days. Also during WWII, the Nazis took all available food from the populous of conquered countries and provided it to German soldiers. In some cases, French children were so starved that their permanent teeth did not grow into place until years later.

Every time a recession rolls around I start wondering what cat food tastes like. For more than 50 years, I have been a do-it-yourselfer (DIY). I have learned to do all sorts of things – appliance repairs, auto repairs, breaking down and mounting tires, carpentry / woodworking, electrical repairs, machining, glass cutting, painting, repairing cardboard and paperboard boxes, sewing, etc. Gradually, I have gone from consumer to recycler / repairer to re-purposer / manufacturer.

I have seen advertisements, “heat or eat?” In the early days of America, people ate corn for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They were lucky to have corn to eat. If food supplies ran low in the spring, there might be no food at all until more corn could be grown. From the movie, “Exodus” people can go 30 days without food and still survive. However, people do need water to survive.

Speaking of corn, Kroger Tortilla Chips cost $2.79 a bag (15.5 cents per ounce). Kroger saltine crackers cost $1.49 per box (approximately 9 cents per ounce). So it’s bye-bye tortilla chips.

During the Potato Famine in Ireland, children had green mouths from eating grass.

Around 1804, the Lewis and Clark expedition was faced with starvation in the Bitterroot Mountains of what is now Montana. There was no Food Depot to help out like there is today. There was no government cheese to help out either. Traveling with the expedition was Sacagawea and her infant.

Sacagawea had been exposed to hunger before and said, “I know this”.

Sailors of old had to do without fresh fruit and vegetables (a problem during the 1930’s depression, according to my dad and still a problem on modern American nuclear submarines). The lack of Vitamin C present in fresh fruit and vegetables caused scurvy. Then along came sauerkraut which did not spoil at sea. Although sauerkraut was not particularly tasty to some sailors, it did prevent scurvy.

Smith’s is currently getting $2.19 for a loaf of wheat sandwich bread. The price of bread is approaching the price of lunch meat. Fine. I now make my sandwiches with a half a slice of bread. The sandwiches still taste the same. I have noticed that a postage-stamp-size piece of pizza still tastes the same as a slice of pizza. Still, a small piece of pizza probably beats the taste of cat food.

The combination of foods like beans and rice provides sufficient protein to live. Switching away from a diet of meat and potatoes to a diet of beans and rice will drive a person nuts for about two months. After that time, your body will become accustomed to beans and rice and that will be all you want to eat. It is strange but true. Uncooked oatmeal with some apples and milk provides a nutritious breakfast. Your arteries and heart will love it, too. By the way, uncooked oatmeal is a lot cheaper than granola bars.

Don’t look to the government for help, look to yourselves. There is much you can do so that you do not end up eating cat food at 90.

LOS ALAMOS

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