Two-headed ‘snake’ strikes

Allow me to speak figuratively. The ‘snake’ refers to sickness and, this week, I’m feeling two types: one a sore throat and the other, oh, is nasty – buyer’s remorse. It centers around a helpless chicken. A chicken that left me $17.30 lighter in the wallet. I came down with a scratchy throat on Tuesday, and, allowing the sickness to decide a meal, had a hankering for chicken noodle soup, like my mom makes. So, I set out for a place that is growing to be one of my favorites in Boston’s South End (I won’t give the name because I don’t want to give the wrong impression that they overcharge for chickens. The shop supplies poultry, meats, produce from farmers who practice sustainable, humane methods of raising animals and tending the land). For that reason alone, I like the shop. But along with that comes more expensive prices compared to supermarkets. One grocer had whole chickens going for $1.59 per pound. I paid around $4.50 per pound for my chicken. So I’m left with a chicken that will go into a pot, with water, two bay leaves and later, pieces of carrot, onion and celery, for tonight’s chicken noodle soup with good ol’ Jiffy corn muffins. A man at the store suggested I roast the chicken, but my throat is in the mood for soup. Tyler Florence’s blog has a recipe for bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts roasted with lemon and herbs with smashed broccoli and garlic.

Thus, Thursday afternoon and into the evening, the thought, “I spent too much on myself,” haunted me. Well, giving some soup to roommates could soothe the guilt.  But buyer’s remorse has hit before. I paid $10.50 for a quart of vanilla ice cream in August at one ice cream retailer. So what do I see Thursday in a supermarket ad? One company sells their ice cream (in 48- to 56-ounce containers) for $1.99. I called another ice cream retailer in town and a quart there sells for $9.50. I guess that is what you pay for premium ice cream, premium chicken, premium anything.

It comes down to cost and conscious. Do you sleep better at night knowing you paid a little more but have a chicken in the refrigrator that was allowed to run free, or paid less, but have a chicken cooped-up alongisde other chickens in a pen similar to travelers on a crammed Boston subway train?

While I like buying produce procured from local farms and fair-trade coffee, I’ll take spending less. Spending more causes guilt. But it’s ironic since most of the money I spend revolves around food (excluding bills). And, perhaps this is self-centric because the buyer’s remorse only affects me whereas how I spend money says a lot about what I support, a topic for another discussion. For this instance, it’s a process of learning to make budget-conscious choices. It took ice cream and chicken to reveal that I am a slave, somewhat to money, which is not a good thing.

Buyer’s remorse is like a nagging sore throat that strikes on occasion. To answer both sicknesses, there’s the key step: praying to God for healing. Then comes a little help from a chicken, pot of water, carrots, onions, celery.

About bster18

Hello. I am a 33-year-old living in Mission Viejo, Calif. and working towards a master's degree in journalism from the University of Southern California. I enjoy writing and food and have a bachelor's degree in journalism from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. After college I occupied the bleachers inside gyms and at fields reporting and writing about high school and community college sports as a sportswriter for a daily community newspaper. I wrote about sports for three-and-a-half years when, in September 2005, I switched gears to attend Laguna Culinary Arts' professional chef program full-time. The year or so leading up to this decision, I become excited and passionate about cooking. My mom is a really great cook and taught me much of what I know. She also gradauted from the same cooking school. So I finally decided to follow God's tug on my heart and take a risk. I left a secure job for an unsure future. As I've grown, I've realized life is uncertain. The saying, "Take it one day at a time," is such a cliche, but it is so true. You never know what tomorrow will bring. Be thankful for today. Embrace life - look for the joy in people and places. Stay close to family and friends. Enjoy the moment. Seek to serve others and love all with a pure heart. Here's to good times, good company and good food.

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