Sunday, June 7, 2009

What it's about

Let’s talk about grocery shopping. It’s as fine a topic as any, don't you think?

Lest you be deceived, grocery shopping is not just grocery shopping. It’s all about Who You Are. It’s about religion, politics, love, money, and sex. Well, maybe not the sex part...

I’m not going to get into all that now (and definitely not the sex part) because I don’t think of all those things when I go shopping. No, that’s not totally true—let me rephrase that: I may not think of all those things at the moment that I pull a bag of hand-twisted pretzels off the shelf of the bulk foods section, but I’ve thought about all those issues in relation to food at some point in my life, some more thoroughly than others.

I love grocery shopping. All my senses come alive the minute I walk into a grocery store. The place holds endless possibilities, making my head swim and causing me to grip my shopping list more tightly than necessary. I love ferreting out the rotten bananas, the day-old breads, and the drastically-reduced ice creams. I like staring into the refrigerator cases of cheeses, browsing through the unusual grains in bulk foods, dreaming over the chocolate. The samples, when they have them, put me over the top.

I do most of my grocery shopping at a small locally-owned store where the lines are short and the bag boys (some of them are short, too) offer to push your cart out to your car for you and then load the bags into the trunk while you shove your babies into their car seats. The bag boys are a big perk (and that is no way intended to be a lewd statement).

The other place I do most of my shopping is at a cooperative in Pennsylvania called Frankferd Farms. Every month I skim through their catalog (you can also order on line, but that’s too cumbersome for my slow internet connection), jotting down the item numbers on a piece of paper before calling in with my order. One week later, the order arrives at the drop-off point for our community (which conveniently happens to be our church) and Mr. Handsome (or I) stop by to pick up our boxes and bags. There’s a three-dollar fee for shipping costs and a three-dollar fee for church building costs. Most of my orders land somewhere between one and two hundred dollars.

This is what I bought two orders ago, to the tune of $115.72:


*6 pounds of mozzarella
*5 pounds of mild white cheddar
*5 pounds of green lentils
*1 16-oz bottle of vanilla extract
*3 bags of tortilla chips
*1 8-oz box of soba noddles
*1 3-liter bottle of olive oil
*1 20-oz bottle of Tarami sauce
*1 pound of nutritional yeast
*2 16-oz bottles of lemon juice concentrate
*1 16-oz bottle of lime juice concentrate

This last time my order was a bit bigger, requiring a wheelbarrow to haul it all to my front door, and it cost us $174:

*6 pounds of mozzarella
*6 pounds of provolone
*5 pounds of white cheddar
*3 pounds of colby
*1 pack of whole wheat sprouted tortillas
*5 pounds of raisins
*25 pounds of rolled oats
*1 pound of steel-cut oats
*25 pounds of quick oats
*3 bags of tortilla chips
*5 pounds of pinto beans
*5 pounds of navy beans
*5 pounds of demerara sugar


So now you know Who I Am. You know my political and religious views. You know my world view. You even know all about my finances!

Isn’t grocery shopping simply amazing?

5 comments:

  1. I *heart* grocery shopping. I could spend hours browsing. We won't discuss my spending habits in said grocery store, though. In my defense, that's my entertainment, so.....lol...

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  2. I can play this game.

    My groceries on a usual trip:

    bag of sliced carrots
    several large potatoes prewrapped for microwave
    prewashed baby greens in package
    box of grape tomatoes
    bowl of mixed fresh fruit
    large container of low-fat yogurt
    salmon or ribeye steak for grilling
    whole wheat linguine
    fresh mozzarella cheese
    six-pack of Corona Extra

    Who am I?

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  3. I try to stay out of the store as much as possible and fortunately we can order from co-op that delivers to several local drop points. It's so handy to have everything come in 5-50 lb sizes!

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  4. I love groceries- especially when they come in wheelbarrows!!! and to the front door by a delivery truck!!! thanks for sharing that site- I will have to call them and see if there is a drop off close to us- I buy a lot of eden products through vitacost...their prices on some things I buy in bulk like the 50# sucanat - are cheaper than what I pay at the mennonite store.

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  5. I love grocery shopping. It was one of the things I did most frequently with my father growing up. Luckily I transformed his general love of shopping into a more usable version, meaning I buy food we actually want need and like, even if it does take us a while to get through it.

    I do tend to spend more on food than is entirely necessary. I love ingredients and I love a stocked pantry, which when put together means a lot of food. However, more and more of it is basic, unprocessed ingredients, not packaged things, so I am finding that lowers my bill quite a bit. I recently found a large co-op on my side of the country that delivers to set drop points and as soon as we get into our new home I'll be placing a large order with them. I am so excited that I can buy the dry goods that I use regularly in bulk for way less than my area stores, even for organic.

    Most of my groceries now come from our local CSA and farmer's market(produce), health food store (bulk dry goods and stuff I can't find at the other places I go), Trader Joe's (for dairy and a few other basics), and Costco (for nuts, spinach and frozen fruit for our smoothies).

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