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Cruel the Prices we Pay for Gruel

Naomi Ariel's description of her visit to two different opticians was, to put it simply, eye-opening (ConsumerWatch, ESRAmagazine #194). The moral of her article was crystal-clear: "It really is worthwhile to check the prices of more than one supplier -- in other words, shop around, especially when an expensive item is involved." The difference can be dramatic. If I did my sums correctly, in Naomi's case it was well over NIS 1,000.

Turning to quite a different item yet also leading to the same conclusion ("Look around before handing over your hard-earned money.") I have noticed a huge difference in the price of porridge oats. At home, we consume a fair quantity of this humble cereal as both my husband and I enjoy a bowl of hot porridge in the morning - yes, even in the summer. In addition, we frequently snack on a bowl of home-made granola. Both porridge oats and granola are nutritious, quick to prepare and inexpensive. A tin or package of porridge oats containing 500 grams can cost around NIS 30 in a supermarket, depending on where you buy it. That is NIS 60 shekels per kilo.

At the shuk in Haifa I pay NIS 7 (yes, seven) per kilo. The difference lies in the packaging. The NIS 60 per kilo cereal comes in a pretty colored box (or tin) whereas the oats costing NIS 7 come in a plastic bag, and you can choose - coarse or fine. You don't need a calculator to see that the difference is NIS 53 per kilo. Not as dramatic a difference as Naomi's over NIS 1,000, but still worth considering, especially when I buy a kilo of the cereal every two weeks.

A friend asked why I make granola at home. The answer is two-fold: first of all, I know exactly what goes into it and, secondly, it is much cheaper than the commercial product which costs NIS 25 a kilo package at our local supermarket. At that price, I can make over two kilos.

My recipe for granola


3 large cups porridge oats

1-2 tablespoons light brown sugar

A large pinch of salt

½ glass honey

½ glass oil (not olive oil)

1 teaspoon almond or vanilla essence

½ glass chopped nuts (walnuts, cashews, almonds - a mixture is fine)

½ cup dried fruit (raisins, sultanas, cranberries)


1. Pour boiling water over the half-cup of dried fruit.

2. Mix the oats, sugar and salt together in a large bowl.

3. Mix the oil, honey and almond (or vanilla) essence in a glass and pour over the oats mixture. Stir well until all the cereal-sugar-salt mixture is coated then spread it into a large, lightly-greased baking tin. (Lining the tin with oven paper (pergament) reduces cleaning to a minimum.)

4. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 5 minutes. (The temperature should be slightly above medium and position of the baking tin should be about two-thirds of the way up, no higher or the granola will burn.) After 5 minutes, remove from oven and stir. Return to oven for 4-5 minutes. Use a timer. Leaving the granola in the oven for longer will probably result in a baking tin of blackened cereal. It should be golden brown. Turn off the oven. Stir the cereal well and add the chopped nuts and dried fruit. Return to the oven and wait until the cereal is cold before transferring it to a jar or tin. B'teavon! 



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Monday, 24 June 2024

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