Thursday, December 2, 2010

American Girl In the 2007 Recession

             My three and a half year old granddaughter was thrilled to receive an American Girl catalog last week. She loves looking at the pictures and calls it “my magazine.” What she likes best is the pictures of doll Rebecca’s furniture, especially her sideboard and Sabbath set. Of course, she wanted to know when she could have one for herself. (Probably no time soon.) The sideboard costs $135; its accessories can be had for an additional $63. For the uninitiated, Rebecca is the latest American Girl doll, a Jewish girl circa 1914 from the Lower East Side in New York. [American Girl dolls are a set of dolls with historic stories each with optional accessories.] Ironically, in 1914 Rebecca’s family probably could have lived on that amount for many months.

            Rebecca’s little friend Josefina Montoya from New Mexico circa 1824 has a clothes chest that is priced at $159 and a table and chairs set for $75. All the dolls in the catalog can have a clothes storage cabinet that costs $349. These dolls and their accompanying books each cost $95.

            Last time, I wrote about how people receiving Food Stamps have to try stretch their food budgets to eat on $21 per week per person. At the same time, other people are buying $349 storage cabinets for their daughters’ doll clothes. A main center for The American Girl is a store in Chicago’s Water Tower Place so we have observed people going there in large numbers. Obviously, there’s a large market for these items. Am I the only one who sees something wrong with this picture?

            For those of you who are stretching your food budgets and aren’t shopping at the American Girl Store, here’s the recipe for 7 Layer Dinner from Peace de Resistance. Preparation time is 10 minutes and it feeds four. The ingredients can be bought for a lot less than an outfit for Rebecca or Josefina.  I really believe that Women’s Strike for Peace would have been boycotting the American Girl Store on general principals.

                                                            7 Layer Dinner

2 potatoes, peeled and sliced
½ cup raw rice
1 onion sliced
1 lb. ground beef
1 large can solid packed tomatoes
6- 10 carrots, thinly sliced
1 large green pepper cut in eighths
Salt and pepper

Layer ingredients in order listed in a large, greased casserole. Salt and pepper each layer generously. Cut green peppers in crescent shapes and arrange in a sunburst effect on top. Cover casserole and bake in a 350-degree oven for 1 ½ hours until carrots are done.

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