I've been thinking a lot about food lately. How much I should buy, what I should buy, what I should cook. Local, organic, expensive, generic, whole, processed, homemade, frozen, vegetarian...
This weekend, Joey and I went to the grocery store while waiting to meet some friends for lunch in town. Usually I do all the grocery shopping alone, so it was kind of fun to have Joey tag along for once. I had a short list written on the back of a GRIT magazine envelope. Lately, I have been trying to scale back on my grocery expenditures, stick to my list, and buy ingredients that will work for a few meals. I've also been trying to buy less prepackaged food and more basic, fresh ingredients, something that seems harder to do in winter, especially since I can't just run to the grocery store without driving 25 minutes there. I have to resist the feeling that I need to "stock up" and then overbuy. The only thing I usually stock up on is organic milk since I can't get it at any of the convenience stores around me.
Joey laughed at me when I took one of the small-sized carts instead of the regular carts (they have two smaller baskets and are probably for seniors since they're easier to maneuver.) But I told him its just one of my grocery store tactics: the smaller the cart, the less I can put in it, the less I buy. I could swear that they recently made the carts at Wal-mart bigger just so people will buy more stuff....and they don't have the option of mini-carts so I am trying to avoid shopping there at all costs.
I used to buy my produce and deli items at the grocery store since they have organics and better and fresher selection and then go to Wal-Mart for other groceries for the lower price, but I am tired of store-hopping, so I am trying to stick to just the grocery store. Also, it seems that whenever I go to Wal-Mart, something extra almost always sneaks into my cart...those sneaky DVDs!
The only problem I've run into so far is dog food. When Joey and I looked at the price of the dogs' food at the grocery store it was a lot more that what I usually can get it for at Wal-Mart. But, we were meeting our friends and Joey did not want to go to an extra store just for dog food, so we ended up spending almost $40 on dog food at the grocery store. Which resulted in the purchase of generic macaroni and cheese for $.33 a box for us. Jip is still eating puppy food until he is a year old (since it has nutrients for brain development, and needs as much of that as he can get) and Daisy needs food without chicken or soy products because she is allergic to them and has very itchy skin if she doesn't get special food. So both dogs are eating premium food. And sometimes we eat less than premium food.
So here are some of my food goals:
1. Spend less money on food, but do not sacrifice quality
2. Buy more fresh fruits and vegetables, cook with more fresh ingredients
3. Try to buy more local, in-season food
4. Grow more in our garden, learn how to preserve more through canning, freezing
5. Eat more leftovers, waste less food, compost kitchen scraps
6. Share more meals with friends
Last night, we went over to our buddy Matt's house to watch football (well Joey watched the game, I paid more attention to my Mother Earth News Magazine than the game...) I brought over a pot of vegetarian taco soup, Matt made chicken enchiladas, and Josh and Anna and their son Noah brought taco pie. Somehow we all made mexican themed food without communicating what each of us were making. Despite my lack of interest in football, I was happy to be there enjoying food with friends. It was a very nice feeling to sit back on a friend's couch with a bowl of hot soup and spend a lazy Sunday evening with friends. More than anything since moving away from home, I've craved familiarity in my new home. It's one thing to see the same people at the bar every weekend, but it's a whole different thing to share a casual pot-luck dinner and watch TV. I hope we can do it more often.