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Bacon, $22 a pound?

Breakfast bacon, $22 a pound?

It's not even the artisanal kind -- just ordinary bacon, precooked. Here are some other ways you pay for convenience.

By Donna_Freedman 
Would a BLT be quite as delectable if you made it with bacon that cost three times the federal minimum wage?

Not artisanal bacon, mind you, or even one of the fancier versions of everyday pork. Just ordinary bacon that the folks at Oscar Mayer cooked in advance, ringing up at $22.22 per pound at a Seattle supermarket.

Sometimes convenience food is worth it because it makes life a little easier during hectic times. But if your grocery bill is over the top, take a closer look at the prices you're paying.

Yesterday I poked around a Seattle supermarket (from a regional chain with prices typical of other supermarkets), alternately laughing and shuddering. You might, too, if you did the math on what convenience is costing you.

Can't hardly wait?

For example, several varieties of "steam-in-the-bag" fresh vegetables are available for microwave cooking. The 2-pound bag of green beans cost $7.97. The same amount of loose green beans was $1.98.

I took home about three-quarters of a pound. It took approximately 90 seconds to snip the ends of the beans, cut them in half and toss them into a steamer basket. Cooking lasted around 10 minutes, vs. 2 to 4 minutes for the bagged type.

Seriously, you can't wait an extra 6 minutes for food? They'd be steaming while you put together the rest of your meal or opened your mail (or some wine).

Here are 15 other foods that caught my eye.

Pricey produce

"Baby-cut" carrots.
These were $1.84 per pound; whole carrots were 99 cents a pound. You're paying almost twice as much.

Ready-to-microwave potatoes.
Washed and wrapped in plastic, sweet potatoes were $1.67 apiece and regular potatoes were $1. Unwashed taters were $1.24 and 67 cents, respectively. Not much of a difference, but how much work is it to rinse off a potato? (Post continues after video.)
Shredded iceberg lettuce.
It cost $4 a pound, vs. 65 cents a pound for head lettuce.

Prebagged salad.
A bag of mostly iceberg was $2.40 per pound. The fancier blends are even more expensive.

Stir-fry vegetable mix.
The store chopped up a few vegetables (peppers, broccoli, cauliflower) and charged $3.99 a pound. Sold solo, those varieties cost no more than $1.29 per pound.

Vegetable tray.
This office potluck staple cost a whopping $12.99. It weighed 3 pounds, but 8 ounces of that was dressing; the tray and lid weighed several ounces, too.

Precut melon.
Someone's knife skills meant $3.99 a pound; whole melons were 99 cents to $1.29 a pound. Even though that includes rind, I doubt you're paying for $3 worth.

Other spendy stuff

Soup At Hand.
This is a microwavable variety of Campbell's, for $3.85 a pound. Regular canned soup is $2.22.

Applesauce pouches.
Kids love these things, but the per-pound cost is $3.77. Jarred applesauce is $1.24 per pound. Buy yourself some reusable containers, already.

Microwave popcorn.
The nuke-able stuff costs $3.89 to $7.96 a pound. Compare that to the $1.25-a-pound plain kernels on the shelf below. (I got it even cheaper at an ethnic market. For links to exotic recipes, see "The world's most frugal snack.")

A premium for proteins

Marinated chicken kebabs.
A few bits of bird plus pepper and mushroom go for $6.99 a pound. Boneless, skinless chicken breast was $4.99 (and buy-one-get-one this week, thus $2.50 per pound); marinade is easy to make.

Stir-fry chicken.
More of that boneless, skinless stuff, thinly cut for $5.99 a pound.

Seasoned beef flank steak.
Rub a few everyday ingredients (garlic powder, cayenne, et al.) on $7.99-a-pound flank steak. Now it's $9.99 a pound.

Shredded cheddar.
Too busy to shred the $4.50-a-pound block? Buy it pre-slivered for $8.58. They'll throw in some potato starch, "cellulose powder" and mold inhibitor for good measure. Yum.

Snack-sized cheddar cheese.
Handy li'l ¾-oz. pieces of the same kind of cheddar work out to a whopping $12.59 a pound. You should always cut the cheese yourself (assuming we're still talking about cheddar).

You're in a hurry. I get that. But when it's a "valued added" product, you can bet it's the manufacturer or retailer that receives the value.

This post first appeared on Recipe Wizard, please read the originial post: here

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Bacon, $22 a pound?


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