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Sales, Coupons, and Specials

(by Carol Milberger)

A child of the Great Depression, my mother abhorred waste. Leftover bits of fruit and vegetables were stored in plastic bags, later to be added to soup or salad. She was a fan of sales, coupons, and specials, strategizing grocery shopping around what was least expensive. Dented cans, hamburger marked with a neon orange “Reduced” sticker, and day-old bread filled her grocery cart. Dad voiced botulism concerns while she boiled mason jars and lids for canning bulk-purchased tomatoes or peaches. My three brothers and I husked bushels of corn every August for her to blanch and freeze.

But few dinners included a sweet ear of corn. Most evenings featured well-done beef, iceberg lettuce, and a green vegetable.