Spoiled on Necessities

 I like being spoiled; I just haven’t openly admitted it before. Always having a wide variety of beef on hand to fulfill my insatiable appetite for it has made me as well as my family, very spoiled. A well-stocked chest freezer of beef is an unlikely source for spoiled a person but it wasn’t until I surveyed our freezer recently that I realized having a year’s supply of beef is a comfort that’s spoiled us. We’re used to having more beef cuts on hand than any meat department in a supermarket and have become overly dependent on the availability and abundant variety of beef choices at our disposal.  When I found our quantities of hamburger, roasts, and steaks to be far less than I expected, a tidal wave of panic overwhelmed me. After counting the remaining packages, I scrounged the depths of my chest freezer in hopes of finding a buried stash of more meat but none existed. The reality that we have another three and a half months left before we’re able to restock our beef supply quickly set in. It meant we would have to ration what’s left and might have to buy it at the grocery store.  When people get spoiled they don’t consider having to do without the privileges in their life. I’ve rarely considered what it would be like to be without beef. I’ve witnessed consumers filling their carts with the meat department’s special of the week or picking through packages of beef trying to decide which cut to buy—a decision I don’t recall having to make before.  The discovery of our shortage of beef also raised an awareness of how much I’ve taken the convenience of readily available meat for granted. I only have to walk about five steps out to our porch freezer to make a selection. Unlike going to the store, there’s no “running” involved in picking it up. When I’m in a hurry, I rarely run into anybody except for our dog or the porch monkeys (barn cats) on the way to the freezer and I can walk away with any choice of beef without waiting in line first.  Once people are accustomed to a lifestyle of extravagancies, it can be devastating to suddenly have to give them up. When finances start to pinch, overindulgences can cause worry and stress. People are faced with making hard decisions about eliminating some of their superfluous belongings in order to pay for essentials like food.   Being spoiled on excessive amounts of beef has advantages over other comforts in that the bank doesn’t hold liens on or repossess food. Some families get into arguments over what possessions they should get rid of. Even though the basis of my family’s lifestyle isn’t built around status symbols, we still eat steak regularly but we’re not immune to being faced with dilemmas occasionally. We’ve had to make some tough decisions in choosing between rib eye, T-bone or sirloin steaks for supper or figuring out how to make all seven boxes of meat fit in our freezer. Problems I’ll happily embrace in a few months. Being spoiled gives people a bad rap but being spoiled from having a year’s worth of meat is a healthy luxury. If money gets tight at our house at least we can eat what spoiled us.  








Column originally published October 25-31, 2009

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