Notes on food and some other stuff

Some interesting tidbits I’ve found while surfing the net recently…

  • Lodge Manufacturing has stopped producing their ‘natural finish’ (i.e. unseasoned) cookware while a new  ‘Signature’ line of pieces has been released that are designed to look more modern ala Calphalon and the other expensive lines.   The old natural finish pieces are still available from online stores and some local shops I’m sure. The ‘Lodge Logic’ line is now their cheapest set… it’s a little more expensive than the natural finish line, but still quite serviceable.
  • F. William Engdahl has a new article up on Financial Sense dealing with corn, ethanol and food inflation. Worth your time, I think, and I agree totally with his argument that ethanol is nothing but a fraud.
  • The USDA reports that food prices are due to increase by between 3 and 4 percent this year. FWIW I shop at the local SuperTarget for food on a regular basis, and milk prices have gone from around $3.60 per gallon to over $4.30 per gallon. Some prices will go up only a little while others will shoot ahead. We’re now trying to buy meat only when it’s on sale.
  • If you’re like me and have trouble thinking of good recipes to make in the summer heat, here’s a list of 101 ideas.
  • The US economy is great if you live in Richistan.
  • Amanda Kottvattana has a nice article on the 7 habits of highly subversive people. I’ve got a couple of them down already… yippee!
  • The subprime mortgage contagion appears to be spreading according to Countrywide. The 2/28 ARM’s are starting to disappear, which is going to make housing costs drop. Anecdotal research I’ve been doing in the local market shows homes in the $300,000 – $600,000 range have already dropped by around 10% on average. I have a neighbor two house up that is desperately trying to sell his house at 2005 prices, and he’s getting no action whatsoever. He and his now ex-wife are both still living there since they have nowhere else to go and they both need the cash to find somewhere else to live. Will be interesting to see at what point they cry ‘uncle.’

4 Responses to Notes on food and some other stuff

  1. Mark Kelly says:

    Your posting on Original Finish Lodge Cast Iron is completely inaccurate. We did not end the line to introduce the Signature Series. Original Finish sales dropped dramatically after we introduced Lodge Logic five years ago. To maintain the wax finish line for original finish was expensive, and sales continued to decline.

    Lodge Logic, or foundry seasoned cookware, continues to sell well and is sold in stores ranging from independent hardware stores to high end gourmet stores.

    The Signature Series is seasoned cast iron with stainless handles. The primary handles on the skillets and grill pans are cool to the touch on the stove top.

    If you have any questions about Lodge Cast Iron, please contact me.

    Mark Kelly
    Lodge Cast Iron

  2. Bart says:

    Thanks for the note, Mark. It wasn’t my intent to link those two events but I see that my post sure made it look that way. I’ve edited the original note accordingly.

  3. Jim says:

    I’ve talked to three local realtors in the past couple weeks. They all seem to think things are turning around. But what I’ve seen in my ‘hood is that houses go up for sale and sit for months, if they sell at all. Three years ago, none of these houses lasted more than a couple weeks, and most sold in a few days. There are no prices printed on the little information flyers anymore, leading me to believe that price is a fluid quantity, changing (downward) from week to week. My mom would sell her house in suburban Detroit, but she’s holding out for a recovery and a selling price of what the house is “worth” according to the appraisals she has commissioned within the past year. I have cautioned her about her assumption that real estate is always going to increase its cash value, but she isn’t receptive to my view of the situation.

  4. Bart says:

    There have been a few homes sold in our neighborhood in the last few weeks, which could lead people to believe that we’ve hit the bottom of the market and that things will get better.

    My personal belief is that a few of my neighbors have finally accepted reality and priced their homes according to what the market dictates rather than wishing for someone to come along and pay them what they could have gotten a few years ago. As the Countrywide article indicates, the credit woes are starting to spread into the good credit market, and we still have plenty of ARM’s left to reset over the next year or so, which will probably drive market prices down and foreclosures up.

    And, as Jim rightly points out, there is still a huge excess of ‘inventory’ for sale right now, and it’ll take a while for all of them to sell. Until that happens, I don’t expect anything good to happen to the local housing market.

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