I just needed some cream cheese.  I walked into the Fresh Market just intending to buy cream cheese. My behavior, though, I am quite sure engendered some curiosity or even alarm from my fellow shoppers. On the way to the cream cheese I passed an iced bin. In it were whole ribeye loins that if individually cut would yield about twelve lovely steaks.  I approached and inspected the meat. It was pretty.

Then I looked at the price. Seventy dollars. Gosh, that seemed like a lot of money. Maybe I’d pass them by. I continued on to the cream cheese section and got my container. But the steaks were calling me. I meandered back to the bin and inspected them again. Seventy dollars. Maybe I’d just buy a flank steak. I went over to the butcher case and looked at the flank steak. It was $8.99 a pound. This is the Fresh Market. Too expensive. I figured by the time I got done cutting the steaks, they’d be about $5.99 a pound. But seventy dollars. I went back to the bin of steaks. This was my third trip and by now some of the people around me were staring. Maybe I’d get a free olive from the olive cart and mull this decision over. Oh, hell. So I just picked up that hunk of meat and headed for checkout before I changed my mind.

So here I am. Cutting up ribeyes. And that’s really the lesson for today. Just like buying a whole chicken and cutting it up is cheaper than buying the already processed pieces, buying a whole slab of beef  is cheaper. And the great thing is you can cut the steaks to just the thickness you like.

So at the end of the day, I got twelve steaks for $5.99 a pound, Mark got his favorite meal (he’s such a meat eater…it’s a legacy from a childhood when only beans and cornbread were on the table many nights) and my cheapskate tendencies were well fed.

And just look at how pretty they are. If you serve them up with some sour cream smashed potatoes, your stomach will do the happy dance all  night long.

Sour Cream Smashed Potatoes

1 pound baby fingerling or red potatoes

½ stick butter

¼ cup milk

2 heaping tablespoons sour cream

Salt and pepper to taste

Bring two quarts of water to a boil. Cut each potato into quarters. Boil until tender when pierced by a fork. Drain and put back into the pot and let potatoes dry for a minute. Add butter and milk. Mash with a potato masher (this is a simple device but the best one for the job – if you don’t have one, invest in one). Stir in sour cream and salt and pepper to taste.

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