Sunday, June 01, 2008

Grocery MeMe

My rambling post yesterday worked, my blog is unstuck and will scroll for me again. Yah.

I stumbled upon this grocery meme over at Janet's blog, The Lavender Loft. It's a perfect lazy Sunday post since I've been spending a lot of time thinking and talking about revamping our marketing and eating habits. Maybe not here so much, but with friends, and on one of my online lists we've spend the better part of a week talking about making reusable market bags. Of course I saw a lot of those over in Paris, even if I hadn't already been planning the switch before our trip. Too, Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable and Miracle, the account of her families attempt to eat local for an entire year, finally came out in paperback so I bought it and as soon as finish up with Obama's book, I'm diving into it.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, Library Edition

Let's get on with the meme.

1. How often do you go to the grocery store? When I lived in Sonoma I went every day, European fashion. I'd buy my fresh sourdough, fresh cheese, meat or seafood when we were eating it, veggies or fruit if I didn't have anything in the garden. In the next stage of my life, busy with the schedule and budget of a family of seven, I did a monthly major shopping, like Costco or one of those gigantic discount warehouse supermarkets, and then shopped weekly for things like milk and bread. Nowadays it's just sort of hit and miss. Hubby has a tendency to stop for things we might be out of, like soy milk or cereal, on his way home from work, so that saves me from doing so. And we eat out a lot when we're traveling or just home from or about to leave on.... well, you get the idea. Trying to do less of that but... I honestly can't say how often I go to the store. It's about as random as you can get. At least once a week but maybe only once or twice a month for anything major.

2. Do you love or hate going grocery shopping? I hate that it takes time and chops up my day but once I'm there I like to dawdle, talk with friends I bump into, be inspired to buy something new, read labels, stop afterwards for a Starbucks.

3. Where do you go? We live in a small town with two regular sized markets, a discount outlet supermarket, a small local meat market, and a health food store. I usually go to Safeway, sometimes to the other large market which is a IGA, depending on what I'm getting and where it's available or cheaper. When I need to restock the freezer or pantry, I try to find what I can at the outlet store first. I go on occasion to the health food store.

I used to garden so extensively that I supplied almost all our fruits and vegetables year round. I gave up trying to garden for anything but pleasure a few years back, just not enough time, space or energy, not to mention all the travel, so last year I tried to get into the habit of going to our local farmer's market. It's not really local, the climate isn't suited for truck farming here, so most of the vendors come about 100 miles away over the mountains in the northern valley of California. Still, that's a lot more local than Chili or Mexico or Florida where the local supermarket gets their produce. Our farmer's market is only open for about four months out of the year though. It's a morning market and the toughest part for night owl me is getting up and out of the house early enough before they close for the day.

I used to belong to a whole foods co-op and got a lot of my food there. But with just the three of us, it's not worth the time or travel to do either Costco or the co-op any longer. I do try to pick up things at Wild Oats or Trader Joes when I happen to be in the city, but I don't drive to the city just to do grocery shopping. Especially not now that a round trip to the nearest big city costs at least $50 in gas! Hmmm, I wonder how that will impact the growers who drive over the mountains to the farmers market? Will it still be worth the drive for them, driving farther and in a larger vehicle?

4. Are you a faithful list writer? Only for things we HAVE to have - like cat food, toilet paper, bread, milk.... Everything else I just buy what is on sale or what appeals to me in the moment. I have always tried to shop seasonally for most things, even when I'm not the one growing it.

5. Do you write it but never remember to bring it? I remember to bring it whenever I go out to the store intentionally. But if I stop at the store while I'm out for some other reason, the list is at home on a notepad magneted to the side of the heater by the phone. Sometimes I can call home and ask someone to read it to me.

6. Do you use coupons? Very, very rarely. Sometimes if I have a $5 off coupon for my total, Safeway gives those out.

7. What do you ALWAYS have in your fridge? Milk, soymilk, butter, cheese, yogurt, lettuce, veggies, jars of condiments galore (catsup, mustards, pickles, olives, horseradish, relish.....), salad dressing, cans of refried beans, chocolate sauce, wine, tofu, tortillas, tofu, yeast, miso, jam, jars of tea, eggs, leftovers

8. What is the thing in your fridge that is a "guilty pleasure"? I should say some refrigerator cookie dough but fortunately I just stuck it in the freezer instead, so I don't have to tell you about it.

9. What is that one or two things that you feel like you buy every single day? Nothing. We're always running out of something but it doesn't mean I run right out and replace it every day. If we're out of milk, I have toast and eggs instead of cereal. If we're out of bread, I use tortillas or make a salad instead of a sandwich. And so on. Drives the family nuts though, they aren't as flexible.

10. What items do your children consume in ABUNDANCE. William goes through tortillas, beans, cheese, frozen burritos, yogurt, tea, and sodas (when I had them in the house) as fast as I can buy it. Hubby goes through eggs, cheese, and bread. He's not supposed to eat either eggs or cheese without my permission (cholesterol and blood pressure is great without that stuff, high when he indulges regularly), but he does anyway. I know he's not a kid, but he acts like a kid, thinking the goal isn't to reduce those foods in his diet but simply to avoid getting caught EATING them. Can you see me rolling my eyes?!!

11. What's on your fridge? Geeze, there's probably more stuff ON my fridge than IN it.

12. Are the fridge magnets special, or random? They're all special I guess, in that they all have a story or were given to me by someone special or I like them.

13. When you go to the store do you just throw things into the cart, or do you stack them neatly? People stack things neatly???? I guess in as much as I put things that might get squished up in the top basket or heavier things in the bottom. Otherwise, nah, I just toss it all in.

14. Brand name or generic? Except for a few things, like Best Food Mayonnaise or a few favorite spaghetti brands, I usually buy the healthiest but cheapest. You have to watch carefully because it's not always generic (but often is) nor always the bulk container.

15. Do you read labels? Yes, although I have a large mental list of which foods I already know have the least additives or sugar, which crackers have trans fat and which don't, etc. So I only read labels when a product is unfamiliar or new.

16. Do you use paper or plastic? I use plastic because then we use the plastic bags for trash cans. But I talked to hubby about it and he says we actually have more plastic bags than he can use and he often recycles them - I didn't know that. So now I want to make some fabric bags I can reuse.


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