I often manage to put off my trips to the grocery store for three or four weeks at a time. My husband goes to a gym near the supermarket, so he runs in to buy the odd banana or potato when we run out. Otherwise, I have over the years evolved a number of strategies to avoid grocery shopping, which tires me out and depresses me.
Strategy number one: buy a freezer. In its recesses one can always find a long-forgotten piece of meat or fish that will do for one more dinner.
Strategy number two: plant a garden and keep some hens. The garden allows us to eat fresh, freeze or dry most of the vegetables we need, and the hens deliver fresh eggs daily. (BTW, raw eggs, with the yolk and the white barely scrambled, can be frozen.)
Strategy number four: give up milk, because it necessitates frequent trips to the store. I keep some cans of evaporated milk on hand for cooking.
Strategy number five: plan dinner according to what is actually present in the fridge, the freezer, or the pantry–not what some recipe calls for.
Strategy number six: don\’t eat lettuce unless you grow it (lettuce doesn\’t keep well). And give up the idea that sandwiches and salads need both lettuce and tomatoes. Combining the two is an unnatural act, since lettuce grows in cool weather and tomatoes in hot, and you\’ll have to buy one or the other at the supermarket if you insist on eating both together.
Strategy number six: for fresh fruit, buy things that keep well–apples, melons, oranges, grapes.
Strategy number seven: eat out once in a while.
It had been almost a month since my last trip to the supermarket, but today I had to go. We were out of things that I don\’t grow, such as potatoes and carrots. But also, for the first time in years, we had run out of our own frozen vegetables before the spring salad crops in the garden were ready. There was nothing for it but to buy green veggies at the store.
So I did, and found that you can get organic (frozen, not fresh) broccoli, green beans, peas–all nicely packaged in a plastic bag, ready to cook. For a brief moment, I played in my mind the movie of my typical summer: the planting, weeding, watering, harvesting, washing, cutting, blanching, bagging, labeling, freezing. And for a long moment I was tempted, sorely tempted to give it all up and become once more the supermarket\’s slave.