Sunday, August 30, 2009

Decade 4, La Tete.


* Decide whether you're the sort of person who comparison shops for the best deal among grocery stores or whether you prefer to stick to one favorite store.

A long time ago my husband told me that since he works for a major grocery chain here out West, that we would shop exclusively at that grocery store. I was pleased. It isn't the cheapest in town: but then I don't have to bag my own groceries: and I can actually find clerks who will help me locate items. Coupons and what not are an entirely different thing here: and running to different stores for the "best deal" takes a lot of time and gas. I'm happy to stick to the one store. That being said, our food bills are very, very high. (A lot of that has to do with where we live: we're a long way from everywhere, so it all just costs more--but I can do much, much better when I cut down on our meat.)

* Construct a list of staples that need to be kept on hand and routinely replaced as the supply runs low. If you are a solo cook accustomed to shopping for specific cooking projects (and eating a lot of Toast), you will be shocked at how much food you need on hand to get through a week at a reasonable level of variety. Roll with it. There is a sense of security that is achieved only by possession of that second can of Great Northern beans.

I did this a long time ago, a la Flylady. It really wasn't that hard. I saved a few weeks of grocery lists (we weren't doing the once a month thing, then) and just typed up the recurring items. Then I added stuff I'd be likely to buy every week (the produce and bread, mostly) and saved the thing on the computer. I print it off every month and whatever I don't need, I simply strike out. I "need" something when, for example, my recipes call for 4 cans of 19oz tomatoes and I have 4 (or even 5) on hand. I'll simply buy one more: just to keep that pantry stocked and retain that sense of security Wende mentioned. (It's my bounty, my security and my largess when there's a food drive for the local food bank.)

I recently re-vamped it and added a second page to keep track of the meat we have on hand. It sits with me when I do my menus--and since Tuesday is the First Tuesday of Spetember, I've already printed it off to do my menus today and tomorrow.

The ideal, of course, is to have this laid out according to the aisles in your grocery store--and I tried that once. But, after the store underwent renovations, I didn't bother to change things and it just seems overly fussy to me. Still, it may be helpful to some to whip it into store-order.

Next up: Recipes.
Can I say I am looking forward to getting my recipes sorted and organized?
I've been waiting for this since Day 1.

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