Eat smarter and cheaper


OU DON’T NEED A PHD INECOnomics to know that you’re getting walloped at the grocery store.

Let the eggheads of academia debate whether the nation is in a recession yet. What we know for sure is that eggs cost more than two bucks a dozen.

The cost of food gobbles up more and more of the family budget and the so-called experts haven’t a clue when or if escalating food prices will level off.

A decade ago, you were griping that milk was $2.63 a gallon. Now it’s edging toward $4.

Is all that grim pocketbook news making you blue? Then you won’t want to check out the depressing “inflation calculator” I found on the Web site of the government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics Web site (

With just a couple clicks you can find out that it takes $324.68 to buy the same goods and services that went for $100 in 1978.

With this handy device you can figure out just how badly your pay is not keeping up with your galloping costs.

One cheery note — this same Web site says that the cost of a pound of chocolate chip cookies is almost the same today ($2.68) as it was 10 years ago.

Sadly, the same cannot be said for ice cream, up more than $1 a half-gallon since 1998.

We can’t stop eating altogether. So what’s a consumer to do? Eat more chocolate chip cookies? Drink less milk? Cut out eggs and ice cream?

Iceberg lettuce, of all tasteless things, actually costs less today than it did 10 years ago. Fill up on the green stuff and feel satisfied? I don’t think so.

French design mavericks Jean Sebastien Ides and Ivan Duval, founders of the design firm ATYPYK (, came up with the elegant solution, available at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art ($12.95).

How simple. Make your grocery budget go six times further. Just cut the size of your dinner plate.

Bon appetit

UU.S. food prices rose 4 percent last year, the biggest increase since 1990, and are expected to climb as much again this year, says the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

U20 years ago, the average bagel was 3 inches in diameter, 140 calories. Today it has doubled to 6 inches and 350 calories, a 40% increas


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