Rationing food reminds editor of childhood during WWII

For the past three weeks, I have taken the term “starving college student” to a whole new level.

What once started out as a joke has become my reality, but it’s not because I’m destitute or dieting.

I just haven’t felt like going grocery shopping in a while. I’m not a big fan of grocery stores.

I think it’s a combination of the lighting, the carts that always seem to have at least one rogue wheel, and the fact that no matter how hard I try, I can never seem to locate the syrup aisle.

Whatever is it I hate about them, I’ve managed to get by without stepping foot in one for weeks.

Milk, bread, eggs and other perishable items are long-forgotten luxuries that seem unattainable at this point. Which is extremely problematic because peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are usually a staple in my diet.

It’s to the point where I’m entertaining the possibility of simply eating the peanut butter and jelly together with a spoon.

Protein and fruit in a meal that requires minimal cleanup? It sounds like a win-win.

When I exhausted my supply of granola bars, I knew things were about to get desperate. I’ve never gone through three boxes of granola bars as quickly as I did when my bread ran out.

When those were gone, I began to despair. Surely I would have to force myself to dig my car out of the parking lot and drive to the loathsome place some refer to as Giant Eagle. Or worse, the evil place that entices you with delicious organic foods that rip holes in your wallet: Wegman’s.

But even though I was succesfully avoiding buying food, I was able to buy myself a little more time with the discovery of two boxes of spaghetti that I found shoved to the back of my shelf.

After I brushed off the dust, those noodles made some of the best meals I had eaten in days, until I ran out of any and all types of sauce. Undeterred, I altered my menu slightly by chowing down on some plain noodles,  until I ran out of those, too.

Things were looking extremely bleak.

Breakfast was a much easier fix, though. No bagels, no fresh fruit, no milk for cereal? No problem. I made four packets of instant oatmeal last for eight days. I don’t think I want to reveal the details of how I made that feat possible.

I’m also a pretty bad late-night snacker, so having minimal foods around to snack on at 1 a.m. was starting to become an issue until I discovered that Kraft singles taste just as good plain as they do on a sandwich. Plus, one cube of those things will last at least a month.

But I don’t want it to seem like I’m getting no nourishment whatsoever. Pop-Tarts have a thin layer of fruit in them, after all.

And I still have tons of frozen chicken in my freezer. The problem with that is it takes entirely too long to wait for it to thaw out. If I’m too lazy to go to the grocery store, there’s no way I’m waiting for the icicles to melt off of my would-be meal.

Unfortunately, I think my experiment in frugality and laziness is going to have to end.

I don’t think I can reasonably get any closer to rock bottom than rationing packets of instant oatmeal.

CHRISTINE PEFFER

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