Our incomes are not going to rise to meet our inflated outgoes.

We gasp inwardly when we fill our gas tanks. We’re shocked when the grocery store checker rings up our bags of groceries that used to average $60 and now clock out at over $100.

But I’ve been around long enough to’ve experienced the ups and downs and consequences of the highs and lows in living in a world ruled by man. (Now don’t get your knickers in a bunch. I use the word “man” in the context it’s been used for thousands of years, i.e., as a reference to mankind/homo sapiens/all-people-inclusive.)

Living on my grandparents’ farm up in the North Woods during the Great Depression and World War II with ration books for gas, sugar, flour, etc., I half expect those to be announced any time now. We learned to do with less while, at the same time, how to improvise and substitute, how to trade skills for goods, etc. And we came even closer with our neighbors and communities, watching out for one another.

Up on the Ridge back then, all the farmers were “self-employed.” They provided the lion’s share of the families’ needs as to food, lights, heat. There were no utility bills and with no outside jobs to eat up gas. Our foods were a good 95% self-produced, grown, raised, hunted, fished and put on the table without the involvement of a cash register.

Big city folk didn’t fare as well in such times. Never have.

I’ve been grateful every day since I came back home t’Maine 41 years ago from California. That was on the tail end of the Carter years. Gas prices had gone through the proverbial roof. That, of course, drove the price of everything else, especially food.

Gas was rationed out according to the last number on your license plate. Even-numbered could only get gas on even-numbered days, etc. And Carter’s advice on food was to buy less expensive cuts of meat. By that time, I had already, for example, cut all the way down from rib roast to chuck to short ribs to oxtail. So I hi-tailed it back to Maine.

And here, we were struggling with not only the gas prices but to heat our houses. But in true Maine folk fashion, we rolled up our sleeves and cleaned the chimneys and mostly long-unused woodstoves and snuggled in. Then they tried making it illegal to use any stoves but the new, airtight ones, knowing many of us wouldn’t be able to buy and install them. We shoved that one back in their faces and a lot of us have been enjoying the friendly heat of our woodstoves all these 41 years since.

So here we are again. Grocery prices are again are climbing by the day.

So, it’s chicken thighs instead of breasts. Don’t like them as well but I remind myself they have more nutrition. Pork is still halfway affordable and I do love pork chops. However, I will not go down from my much preferred center loin. But I eat more pork chops these days than beef. I’ve reacquainted myself with Spam. I can get three meat meals from one can. (Spam, unlike baloney and such, is not made from “whatever” but only from pork shoulder. And it tastes downright good. Bacon flavored and turkey flavored are my favorite. I use it anywhere from cut into chunks and heated with beans to a plate of smashed red potatoes, chard and fried Spam. (I’m blessed with fresh vegetables from one of my sons who grows everything. )

I love our Maine apples but figure I get more bang for my buck with a jug of apple cider. And the seeds with their minuscule amount of cyanide are crushed in with the apples. Nature’s medicine?

I stopped eating much in the way of deserts some years ago, but I still hafta have my Weaver’s doughnuts now and again — especially the molasses. They’re just like the ones my Grammie Tucker made every Saturday morning.

We constantly see ads that tout the benefits of a glass of red wine a day. Why? For the resveratrol it gets from the red grape skins. Hmm. Why not just eat the grapes? Or peanut butter. Or a small piece of dark chocolate? They all contain the heart-healthy, brain healthy, super antioxidant, resveratrol. They just don’t have as powerful an ad agency. (And they don’t cost as much.)

Marion Tucker-Honeycutt, an award-winning columnist, is a graduate of Belfast schools now living in Morrill.

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