Saturday, May 24, 2008

A penny a penny splurged

I am so cheap with money that I squeak. Really. And this desire to "save a penny" trickles down into most areas of my life. Somewhere along the line, I came to realize I could cook certain foods--or very nearly cook them--in a thermos. The germ of the idea probably came from a Mennonite book on frugal living that a friend gave me in the early 1980s. At any rate, we have a fancy coffee carafe-thermosy thing that R bought a long time ago that will keep boiling water steaming hot even after 12 hours. So I use it regularly to cook beans and whole grains with a minimum amount of energy. I boil the beans (or the grains) for 2 minutes on the stove and then put the contents of the pan into the carafe. It really works quite well; for example, pinto beans and great northern beans will be completely cooked within about 6 hours on the just the energy used to get the water boiling for 2 minutes.

The only problem is getting the beans and the boiling water to actually go into the carafe and not down the drain (I do have sense enough to place the carafe in the sink.) The shoulder of the wide-mouth funnel that I use for canning is a bit too wide and it does not sit firmly in the opening of the carafe. So if I accidently bump it while I am transferring the beans and boiling water then not everything ends up where it belongs. The next largest funnel I have is a bit too small: although it does sit firmly in the opening of the carafe, the beans jam up in the spout and must be poked through.

Now R has a square-shaped funnel with just the right-sized opening that is designed for adding oil to engines. This funnel would work fairly well, but we would need another one for me. So off we went to Big Name store to find one. And it cost $3.97. I didn't want to pay $3.97 for the funnel. So we wander on down the aisle, and there, low and behold, is another funnel for 97 cents that would "almost work." The first of inch of the spout is the perfect size to fit in the carafe and pass the beans, but then it tapers too much to permit the beans to pass. So R picks it up and looks at it for a minute and says, "you know, I could get the hack saw just cut it off about "here" - would that work?." Oh yes, you betcha it would.

So, we bought it, and he sawed off the end, and it works perfectly. Yea!!! And I saved $3.00. Count' em folks, 3 big ones. Which partly makes up for blowing $14 on this fellow at our town's equivalent of an upscale gift store...

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