Monday, September 10, 2012

135: Variations on a theme

This week, being a little more hectic than I had planned for, I did no grocery shopping whatsoever.  The husband had his own grocery-fest to the tune of $99, bringing home bread and spaghetti and plastic bottles of this-and-that.  I admit I was too distracted to pay attention to the this-and-that.  This brings our grocery average to $135/week for the past 25 weeks -- a new Miser Mom low.  But next week will see a huge bump:  turkey kielbasa arrives on Tuesday.

What is it like to eat in a household where we haven't been doing much shopping?  There's been a variety of very plain dinners, if that even makes sense.  Eggs.  Chili.  One night where we just ate peanut butter sandwiches, with-or-without jelly.

J-son put away the food like the teenage boy he is.  One night, he ate 3 potatoes, a tuna fish sandwich, the leftover spaghetti, and a bowl of soup.  When he asked for ice cream, I suggested he ought to get some vegetables, too.  I'd cooked up a large batch of kale to feed the crew later in the week; maybe he should have some of that?  Too late, he told me.  He'd found it in the fridge earlier in the day and eaten the entire pot of it.  

With the weekend, a bit more sanity arrived . . . or so I thought.  I found, to my surprise, a pair of kielbasa links in the freezer, and so I put them in the fridge to thaw in time for dinner.  But come dinner time, they were the slimiest, limpest sausage links I'd ever seen.  How on earth did that happen?  I spent some time trying to figure out whether the meat was salvageable . . . and finally I realized that the kielbasa was actually a pair of bananas.  Oh.

My vegetable lovers help with the beans.  
On the other hand, when I started getting all our CSA vegetables cooked up and ready to eat for the upcoming week, I had a surprise of a different sort.  The kids begged to be allowed to help.  In fact, I first turned N-son away, but he pouted at not being allowed to snap green beans.  What was I thinking?  We blanched more kale, plus chard and corn and green beans, all in record time.

A variety of plain things.  Every number bigger than 5 (so said Lagrange, a famous mathematician) can be written as the sum of at most four squares.  My new low weekly grocery average would do Lagrange proud.  135 is the smallest number with seven (count 'em, 7!) different ways to write it as the sum of four squares:
  1. 135 = 1*1 + 2*2 + 3*3 + 11*11
  2. 135 = 1*1 + 2*2 + 7*7 + 9*9
  3. 135 = 1*1 + 3*3 + 5*5 + 10*10
  4. 135 = 1*1 + 6*6 + 7*7 +  7*7
  5. 135 = 2*2 + 5*5 + 5*5 + 9*9
  6. 135 = 3*3 + 3*3 + 6*6 + 9*9
  7. 135 = 5*5 + 5*5 + 6*6 + 7*7

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