Monday, May 7, 2012


This week we spent $72 on food,

bringing our average weekly grocery spending since March to $150.

The first $70 we spent for the week is boring:  my husband bought oil, peanut butter, tuna, apples, and hamburger buns.  The last $2 of the weekly spending, that deserves a bit more comment.  Because it represents the tip of the temptation of the iceberg of summer spending.
Not food, but for food.  Some canning jars and a corn tool.
Technically, that last $2 wasn't money we spent on food.  It was money I spent at yard sales.  I got 7 canning jars and and a corn cutter, and on this treasure trove, I spent $1.75 (okay, so I rounded up to $2).  But that small amount of money is a hint at what's to come.  Because I have Lust in my Heart -- tool lust.  Here are some things I am e-drooling over.

Lust #1:  A Corn Zipper.
In a small way, I am drooling over the "Corn Zipper", touted online as a quick way of stripping the corn from its cob.  The cute little tool I bought at a yard sale this Saturday gets somewhat inferior reviews form the online critics, but at 25¢, I figure I can afford the experiment myself at home.  The pricier corn zipper may or may not breach my walls of temptation.
Lust #2:  A Cherry Pitter.
More likely to win success at drawing my credit card from my wallet is a Cherry Pitter.  We love cherries, but I grumble at the work involved at saving fresh cherries for winter months.  If I can convince myself that this dozen-dollar attraction is likely to save me effort, and in particular if it's likely to get me to purchase even more cherries we can can or dry, well then, I might get it.  I wish there were a way to test-drive a pitter.

But the contraption that's really, truly singing the siren song that lures me onto the rocks is this odd-looking creature below:  a strawberry stem remover.

Because strawberries -- those first fruits of the year -- they call to me.   For the past several years, we've driven a half-hour to the strawberry fields, and we've picked strawberries together.  By "we", I mean, my friend and I.  My kids pretend to pick berries but mostly get distracted.  I stoop for several hours under the warm sun.  It is a lot of work.  The picking work is followed by a lot of work washing and de-stemming.  And this is followed by a lot of work canning.

Two years ago, I spent hours and hours on strawberries, and I put up a dozen jars of strawberry jam.  The first time I opened a jar, my husband ate half of the jar at once, and then asked for more.  When I suggested we might want to save some for later, he said, "Well, I thought you made this so we would EAT it!".  There is clearly a disconnect between the effort involved in preparing strawberry jam and the effort to eat it.  I'd love to reduce the former.  The contraption above gives me high hopes.  I lust.


  1. We made cherry pitters by pulling the eraser out of a pencil and pushing it through the fruit. The space where the eraser was holds a cherry pit perfectly. It works well enough that we managed to pit five gallons of cherries last year.

    1. I *LOVE* this! You can bet I'm going to try it! I am doing a little happy dance here. (As a mathematician, I have a large collection of pencils I can use.) YAY! -- MM

  2. Here's another home made cherry pitter -
    all you need is to buy a bottle of wine ;-)

    If you go for the real tool, my experience brought me to prefer the (borrowed) thing with the whole cage like the bottom one on this list
    I agree it maximizes plastics but it really minimizes collateral damage, cherry juice stains are terrible. It also increases work speed and kids like to use it. Maybe you'll be lucky enough to find one on a yard sale? Or buy one together with friends who also struggle with cherry pits?

    Bon amusement!


    1. Brigitte,

      What's the cutting tool in that cork? Is that just a paper clip? It seems sharper than that . . . This is going to be worth a try, too. It looks like it might even work for strawberries. Dang. Experiments are forthcoming. At any rate, my eyes will be wide open at yard sales this year. Thanks for the photos! -- MM

    2. Annalisa
      Indeed it's a paper clip in a cork. And it isn't sharp - the trick lies in the mouvement, like you would use an ice cream spoon. I've tried it but wasn't very efficient. Why not try on strawberries?
      I'm looking forward to the conclusions of your experiments!