One of the many virtues of living in the north is the endless expanse of land and waters that make up most of northern Quebec. It is a land of beauty and bounty, but something is making life a lot harder to enjoy and to stomach. It’s called the price of goods from the south. Things like our favourite bacon and eggs, milk and cereals and breads of all things, the basics of breakfast life.
Recently, on a foray to the local store, I nearly fainted when my breakfast for my little family passed the $60 mark. Then, on the same day, a little lunch actually made me swallow my own spit to conserve any moisture and to save on the price of water and basic soda pops and wish that I held back on the soda crackers in my soup de jour, some pea soup priced at nearly $15 per litre. After ranting and raving at the startled cashier, I popped a few pills to lower my blood pressure and to slow down some metabolism so that I could conserve whatever energy I had leftover from my pricey breakfast.
Later on, thanks to the annual migration of caribou from the sport hunting grounds of the La Grande River basin, meat was on the table, with enough protein to last me until the next slice of bacon. Don’t get me wrong, but bacon fat is now becoming a scarce commodity in the north, whereas fat on the body is a good sign of prosperity and often a necessity to ensure that there are enough calories to sustain your body heat during the long winter months.
Surprisingly, after my little rant with the cowering cashier, the prices came down, loudly announced with flyers and posters. My blood pressure lowered a bit, enough to clear my vision so I could punch in the PIN on the debit machine. The cold air freeze-dried the sweat on my face when I left the store and I headed over to the post office, where prices seem to be stable for years, or is it that the price of a stamp managed to climb unnoticed to a level where you don’t see it over the savings of email over snail mail. Lately, the biggest sales are the prepaid VISA cards where you can use this handy card to order groceries from Montreal and have them shipped up conveniently to the airport of your choice.
In the meantime, the leftovers from lunch are no longer left over or shared with the neighbour’s dog and are oft devoured as an after-school or pre-supper snack. Pop and chips are now considered delicacies and for some reason, everyone still buys junk food. I guess that these culinary delights will never go out of style and will forever be the bane of nutritionists worldwide.
So if I were in charge of what is considered as something that should be subsidized, I would definitely put bacon on top, then butter, then sugar (and sweetener just to be fair), chocolate and peanuts, cereals and oatmeal (which is about the only thing that hasn’t gone up in price), then any diet drink, and finally, white bread. At the bottom of the list should be anything already cheap that you have to add water to either cook or increase weight and of course, Perrier water, which is just about the most useless and yucky tasting mineral water of all time.
What would be the most logical thing to do is to send a cheque to everyone in the north on the list of communities worthy of receiving the Nutrition North program so that we can buy from any store and anything we would like to consume, because this program just doesn’t seem to reach my wallet nor make any sense to my bank manager. Meanwhile, I guess I will lose some weight, forcibly so, until bacon comes back to slap those silly politicians who decided to make some communities targets for the tax man. (I forgot, food isn’t supposed to be taxed, but what the heck, I said it anyways).