Friday, December 23, 2016
PORFLE PRESENTS: "THE 12 TATER TOTS OF CHRISTMAS"
(Here's something I wrote a LONG time ago for a now-defunct site called "Bumscorner." You'll notice the prices are a bit out of date now. Also, my diet has changed considerably.)
Usually I spend all the Christmas money I get on DVDs. I love DVDs. If I were Richie Rich, I would take all the money he wastes on stupid stuff like robot maids and genetically-altered dogs that have spots shaped like dollar signs and spend it on millions of DVDs, and Freckles and Pee-Wee would secretly hate my guts even more. However...
Something about the Christmas season makes me really, really hungry. So I'm taking the hundred bucks that sweet old Granny Bum gave me for Christmas to Wal-Mart to buy a month's worth of groceries. "But, porfle," you're thinking, "you can't buy a whole month's worth of groceries for $100." Well, we're certainly going to give it a shot.
I like to work the food section at Wal-Mart from right to left, so first we wheel our shopping cart into the dairy aisle.
2 gallons of cheap milk
1 tub house brand margerine
1 dozen house brand jumbo eggs
Money remaining: $91.50
Now we veer into the meat section. (I'll bet that's the first time today that you've heard someone say that.)
1 package of basic, non-fancy bologna
2 packs of standard, no-frills Oscar Meyer wieners
You'd be surprised how much stuff you can cook with just those simple elements. Two diced-up microwaved wieners provide plenty of savory meat for a whole variety of cheap dishes you can make with side-dish packets. And a single diced-up slice of bologna, fried with diced onions, really sets off a steaming pile of scrambled eggs mixed with diced tomatoes, jalepenos, and cheese. Also, four or five slices of bologna cut in half, fried, and served with canned spinach and tater tots is a feast fit for a king. Why, Donald Trump's fat ass never had it so good.
Money remaining: $87.00
Now we leave the meat section to procure some non-edible items. I know you'd rather stay there for awhile, because that's where the steaks, pork chops, rump roasts, and other wonderful, yummy things are. But we must ignore them. They are for people who have rich grannies.
Non-edible items which must be procured:
1 box dishwasher detergent
1 three-pack cheapo paper towels
1 pack of Raid Flea Foggers because I have cats
1 four-pack of deluxe double-ply Charmin toilet tissue (because there are some things you just can't skimp on)
Money remaining: $77.00
And now, although we are being as frugal as possible, we must have snacks. Snacks are what separate humans from the animals, because animals don't watch TV.
1 15-pack of Pop Weaver popcorn
1 party-sized can of house brand peanuts
1 family-sized bag of no-frills tortilla chips
1 large container of hot sauce (or "salsa")
1 package of cheap glazed oatmeal cookies
1 package of cheap chocolate-covered graham crackers
4 bags of Sam's Choice cheese puffs
Forget about those decadent name-brand Cheetos. Sam's Choice cheese puffs are only a dollar a bag, and they fill the bags up almost to the top. This alone is enough to make me glad Sam Walton was born.
Tortilla chips and hot sauce are a must, because they can either be a snack or a delicious side dish for almost any meal. If you're lucky enough to live in or around East Texas you can get Albert's Hot Sauce. If not, you must settle for an inferior brand.
Money remaining: $56.00
Moving on, it is now time to hit the aisles that feature canned foods, rice, packaged mixes, etc. These are highly important because they help form the basis for the wonderful and exciting super-cheap meals that we will prepare during the month.
I love spinach. A can of house-brand spinach is only fifty cents. Another brand has a picture of Popeye on the label, but you must resist buying it because it costs ten cents more, and that's just for the picture of Popeye.
8 cans of non-Popeye spinach
Cheap rice is only forty-eight cents a bag. FORTY-EIGHT CENTS! Half a bag of cooked rice mixed with a cheap can of chili and beans or vegetable beef soup, cheese, onions, and spices makes an incredible meal that will last most people at least two or three days. HOLY CATS! Paris Hilton doesn't know what the hell she's missing.
2 bags cheap rice
2 cans cheap chili and beans
2 cans cheap vegetable beef soup
Oh yeah, cheese:
1 block house brand extra-sharp cheddar cheese
Here's another mind-boggling bargain: a large can of brand-name spaghetti sauce is only a buck! And a pound of spaghetti or vermicelli is also only a buck! That's two bucks for a huge, steaming mass of spaghetti that will last you almost a week! It's almost too much for our puny minds to comprehend.
1 large can brand-name spaghetti sauce
1 package spaghetti or vermicelli
Money remaining: $41.00
While we're here, we must pick up some packaged mixes, such as noodle or rice based side-dish packets, potato mixes, mashed potatoes, and macaroni-and-cheese. These can be mixed with diced wieners or tuna to create delicious entrees. If you've never let your imagination run wild with this kind of stuff, you wouldn't believe how good it can be. That's right -- you can mix diced wieners with mashed potatoes, onions, and spices, pour some cheap gravy on it, and make a meal that would have Arnold Schwarzenegger himself vowing: "I'll be back -- for seconds!"
2 house brand side-dish packets
1 box mashed potatoes
2 boxes potato mix (scalloped, au gratin, etc.)
1 box macaroni-and-cheese
2 cans house brand tuna
Money remaining: $34.00
Bread, gotta have bread. Sandwiches are a great way to stretch your grocery dollars. And you must have buttered toast with your scrambled eggs and bologna. Get the cheapest bread available, and keep it in the refrigerator -- I guarantee you it will stay fresh for a month.
Sandwich accessories include pickles, peanut butter, and onions. (Not at the same time, however, unless you like really weird sandwiches.) And if you're like me, you also love tortillas. They're great with some melted cheese, onions, and hot sauce rolled up in them.
1 loaf cheap bread
1 jar cheap peanut butter
1 jar cheap pickles
1 package cheap tortillas
Money remaining: $26.00
And now for one of the most important food items you will ever purchase, the one that makes it worth getting out of bed in the morning and struggling through yet another grueling day of horrible, drudge-filled existence -- tater tots. Oh, the unallayed joy a pan of hot tater tots baked to a crisp, golden brown can bring. They go with everything, even other potatoes. They can be dipped in ketchup, mustard, or -- for an added thrill -- steak sauce. If I were John Steinbeck, I would have written a novel entitled "The Tater Tots Of Wrath." If I were Martin Scorcese, I would have directed a movie called "Raging Tater Tots." If I were the Beatles, my first single would have been "I Wanna Hold Your Tater Tots."
2 large bags house brand tater tots
1 large bottle cheap ketchup
1 large bottle cheap mustard
1 small bottle cheap steak sauce
Money remaining: $16.50
Gasp...give me a moment to catch my breath here. Okay, now we must have beverages. Especially the ones that I'm addicted to because they have caffeine in them.
1 large can house brand 100% Colombian coffee
2 family-sized boxes Lipton teabags
That's it for beverages. If it ain't coffee, tea, or milk, then it isn't worth whatever you have to shell out for it. And water is cheap.
Money remaining: $7.50
Wow! Look at all the cool foodstuffs we've bought for the month, and we still have some money left over! Now all we have to do is head for the checkout and -- uh-oh. Don't look! Avert your gaze! Rats...too late. It's -- the deli section. The place where they have crispy, spicy, marinated chicken tenders...juicy barbecued sausage on a stick...luscious mashed potatoes and gravy...impossibly cheesy macaroni-and-cheese...potato salad like Mom used to make...oh...drool...
Money remaining: $1.00
Well, that's it. We made it to the checkout with enough food for a month (well, sorta) for a hundred bucks, and a dollar left over. If we can just ignore all the impulse items they put here to scoop up your last remaining -- what's this? A DVD of "Bela Lugosi Meets A Brooklyn Gorilla" for only a buck? I'LL TAKE IT!