There are some items that even small families or couples might consider buying in bulk, provided they have some storage space.
It always makes sense to buy the stuff that takes up a lot of real estate in the grocery cart: toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, napkins. If you are a young parent, add diapers and juice boxes to this list. If you are older, add oatmeal. It's the only thing you're allowed to eat in large quantities.
Something that I don't recommend buying in bulk is Nova Scotia lox. I don't really know what possessed me to pick up the package at Costco. But there is something about the authentic, salmon hue of authentic salmon that is enticing to the eye. The salmon almost jumps out at you, demanding you take notice while you bypass the usual brown sausages, burgundy slabs of beef and pale chicken parts.
I had never before seen such an enormous package of Nova Scotia lox. I picked up the glossy sealed parcel from the icy refrigerator case, and it was almost as if I had dipped my hand into the frigid waters of the Bering Sea and, not unlike Bear Grylls, had snatched up a big catch of the day with my naked, frostbitten hands. It was all I could do to stop myself from tearing off a hunk with my teeth.
You see, I like a good Long Island breakfast now and then: a fresh hot bagel spread with cream cheese, layered with some thinly sliced lox and a ripe, fresh tomato. Red onion or capers if they're available. Or chopped chives, when in season. This is the kind of hearty weekend breakfast that lets you get through the entire Sunday paper while you chew small mouthfuls and sip through a pot of coffee.
I must have been hungry that morning at Costco, like I am most mornings regardless of where I am. The lure of that bagel-and-lox breakfast for the coming weekend was strong. I thought about tossing the salmon back, but decided it was a keeper.
And it was, like most bulk items at Costco, an exceptional value. Ordinarily, a small package of lox at your local supermarket will set you back about $5. This whole Costco salmon was four times the volume, and only twice the price.
So I brought it home, proud as if I had spent the morning fishing on a charter boat instead of fishing at a wholesale club. I showed the hunk of salmon to my husband, and he said, appropriately, "Wow."
Then, as we continued unpacking, he said, "Are we having company?"
"No," I said. "Why?"
"I was just wondering. That's a lot of salmon."
"Well, it has a long shelf life," I said confidently. "It's smoked."
But it did suddenly occur to me that, indeed, that was a lot of salmon, for just the three of us at home now. I could probably feed the crew of Deadliest Catch with that salmon. For weeks. But I cast that thought out of my mind.
Nova Scotia lox is a real treat, and we all thoroughly enjoyed it that weekend. And we enjoyed it occasionally the following week.
By the next weekend, we enjoyed it, more or less. But we ate it.
Last week, I can't say I enjoyed it.
My mother called me the other day around lunch, and I told her I was just about to fix myself some lunch, probably a bagel with some lox. I sighed.
"Oh, how wonderful!" my mother said.
"Not really," I said.
I told her I had been on the Lotsalox diet now for about three weeks.
"I think you can freeze it," she suggested.
"Well, I might have to toss it," I said. "It's making me sick."
It's quite possible I have salmon-ella.
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