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Zen and the Art of Budget Grocery Shopping

I hate grocery shopping. There, I said it. I’m kind of not a fan of shopping in general (unless there’s something cool I really want and I have the money for — a rare, rare occurence these days) but grocery shopping for someone like me … there’s always a point, about halfway through, where I just sort of lose the will to live. This usually happens in the spice aisle, when I’m looking for some very specific ingredient my wife needs for a recipe off of food network. Fivespice? Really? Can’t I just, like, grab some randoms spices in the house and make my own.

I know, all of the foodies and chefs in the audience just cancelled their pre-orders for my upcoming cookbook, “A Geek’s guide to kitchen survival: 100 recipes using just hamburger, tortillas, and Worcester Sauce.”

I cook a lot, because I am the one who is home. But nothing complicated. And, at my wife’s request, nothing that involves the use of knives. If you have to wonder why, you have obviously not been paying attention.

Anyway, I have a very specific list and try not to wander far away from it. And in these times, when money is really tight, I have discovered the joy of store brands, and this little magic label below every shelf called “price per ounce.” I love the price per ounce label. And I make a game of everything, calculating the prices per ounce against the main brands we usually by, and the “value-difference,” which is what I know of the difference between how some things taste compared to the brand names. On most items, the value difference is 0. In some cases (store brand instant fruit and cream oatmeal mix), i actually like the store brand better. There’s really only been one thing that is better in the brand name, and that is Honey Nut Cheerios. Tried the bag variety. Not. As. Good.

So, I play this little math game, hum songs to myself, ignore my six-year-old grabbing things off the shelf to scan the prices (unless he accidentally trips an old person, which requires attention), and 2/3 of the way through the trip, a few aisles past the spice-search induced meltdown, can reach this calm, serene place that gets me through at least to the meat section, when I have to fight with the little plastic bags that always stick together, but which I require to protect myself from the chicken gunk that always congeals on the outside of the package. Seriously, what’s up with that stuff? It’s really, really gross.

Unless my daughter is with me, and then she can open those bags.

I don’t really know what the point of this was, except to further illustrate the already well-established fact of my dorkitude, and expand it into yet another category. But I guess that is its own achievement.

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2009 in life

 

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