Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Curse of the Small Onion


In our house, grocery shopping is traditionally undertaken by yours-truly, as is every other task related to keeping our family in working condition. Cooking meals, cleaning the bathroom, shopping for toiletries, socializing with friends—these are tasks I tend to, so that in the rare event that Curtis had a free moment, it is not filled with time consuming necessities that could have been handled elsewhere.

Since all sorts of money and children are currently promised to Sallie Mae as thanks and repayment for a medical education, grocery shopping in our house has become a sort of game. How little money can we spend, while still purchasing the necessary amount of calories to survive another week?

(Note: Caloric intake has currently increased exponentially, due to husband’s marathon training. These days it is nearly impossible to have enough food in our house.)

Almost every cost cutting measure has been tried over the past few years. Making yogurt from scratch? Check. Homemade granola (later downgraded to plain oatmeal)? Done. Bulk purchasing? Tried it. Mostly vegetarian meals? Yes. Purchasing small onions instead of large ones?

Now you’ve taken it too far.

We may have one of the world’s smallest grocery budgets, but chopping those small onions is a pain. Have you tried them? They are nearly unforgivable.

A year ago I bought these lovely cost-saving items, and my husband and I grumbled through the whole bag. Months later my husband would tease me every time the little buggers were on sale about the faulty purchase. And we would laugh.

Last week, my household contributing husband was wooed by the cry of low prices (and the promise of fuel rewards), and the sirens convinced him that small onions were a worthy cost-saving venture. And when I opened the fridge after work I was stunned to see the ominous bag of vegetables.

“You bought small onions?” I ask incredulously.
“Yes?” he answers sheepishly.
“They were cheap, weren’t they.”

And we both laughed, except when we had to chop them up, then we cried.

Someday, when the budget is not quite so tight and we have purchased miniature onions enough times to never make that mistake again, I will smile at the yogurt thermos and the inexpensive recipe repertoire.

And I think, in a lot of ways, I will miss it. The urgency of cost-cutting, the rickety car we drove, and laughing over a bag of onions that we can’t believe we have been swindled by once again.


  1. Love this post. You have an award on my blog.

  2. Love your blog! I'm loving the snow and all the anticipation that comes with it. I also chopped up some little onions the other day --- never again. I may have a small budget too, but I sure as heck will buy super large onions. haha

  3. Aw, this post teared me up a little! The thought of you and your hubby chopping up your little private joke together is so cute!!

    How's The Hour I First Believed coming along? I am toward the end now and was surprised at the shift from focusing on the wife to focusing on his family background but man, Wally Lamb sure can make everything come full circle!