I just read a big egullet post about not shopping every week. The idea was that if you spend $100 a week on groceries, you can save that much by just eating what’s in your freezer, pantry, etc. and skipping every other week’s grocery run. I’m not so sure I think that’s a great idea.
I agree that it’s better to avoid having to throw out food that spoiled because you’ve purchased too much and can’t use it. I agree that if you freeze things and never use them that you might as well just be throwing things away. But, I see no value in depleting the larder when you still have money to buy. So, you only shop every other week? Will you really buy only $100 worth of groceries every two weeks? Or will it turn into $200? If you follow this plan for six months, I’m guessing you won’t have a full freezer anymore or anything to fall back on if hard times really do come down.
I think the key is to not waste food. I almost can’t believe that it’s me saying that. I can’t tell you how much rotten produce I’ve thrown out over the years. But, recently I’ve started to be more careful. I really do want to spend less. Given endless resources, I could easily spend $200 a week on food. Line up the $16 a pound scallops and $21 a pound beef tenderloin for me, please. Do I want those $4.75 a pound skinny French green beans? Hell, yes. Unfortunately, these are lean times and I realize I can do without that kind of thing every week. What I am trying to do now is use primarily what I have and replace the essentials as I go.
I sit down on Saturday morning and make a grocery list. Since I’m trying to rotate the stock in my freezer, I focus on creating dishes that use the meats that have been in the freezer the longest. I try to find recipes that include the produce that I still have from last week’s run to Central Market. I like to make a big pot of stew or soup that I can take to work for lunches. I find that by not eating out at lunch every day that I’m saving about $200 a month on that alone.
I don’t think I’ll participate in the egullet experiment. I want to go shopping every weekend. I’ll just spend a little less. I already use what I have in my freezer and pantry. And if I don’t use it, it’ll keep. I may be a little depressed about these depression-like times. But, I’m not going to let it stop me from enjoying myself and grocery shopping is one of my favorite things to do.