Sunday, May 9, 2010

Thoughts on food...

I married Mr Variety.

Or should I say Mr Buffet?

SM is a foodie.  He's not alone...they're everywhere.

(Wikipedia defines "foodie.")

** Although the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, foodies differ from gourmets in that gourmets are epicures of refined taste who may or may not be professionals in the food industry, whereas foodies are amateurs who simply love food for consumption, study, preparation, and news.**

Foodies think about food all the time.  In my experience, they demand a variety of taste sensations, different textures, smells and visual appeal. 

In a perfect world, SM would eat at a buffet line every day.

SM does not cook.  (He doesn't have the "cooking gene".)

I have the "cooking gene".  I enjoy cooking, but alas...I am not a foodie.  I can eat the same food day in and day out.  "Boring".  Oh, I get the random craving from time to time but I usually ask SM to make the call on what he wants to eat when it's time for dinner.

Fortunately, SM likes my cooking.  Actually, he says I'm a pretty good cook (as evidenced by our expanding waist lines.) 

Like alot of you, we carefully consider our food purchases.  A few years ago, I created a purchasing list of all the common foodstuffs that I buy and spent several hours comparison shopping 4 different grocery stores that I frequent.

No big shocker here.  Walmart and Sams Club have the best prices.  I still eyeball the "loss-leaders" at the other stores and sometimes buy from them, but the majority of our purchases come from WM & SC and Trader Joes.

For those of you who don't know Trader Joe's, they are a very reasonably priced, (mostly organic) alternative to the traditional grocery store. We had a Trader Joes open in our area a few years ago and feel very fortunate to have them as an option.



(I'm also interested in Whole Foods but they're not in our area yet.)

The idea of stockpiling is not new to me.  Everyone recalls Y2K, and yes, I stockpiled more than a little bit of food in preparation of potential insanity on the streets. 

(I endured a bit of teasing from SM during that time.  He's actually coming around to my way of thinking.)

We've lived in NC for 12 yrs and know how the locals can create a "run" at the stores for "bread and milk".  That's the big joke around here in the winter.  "Snow is forecast!!!  Run, get your bread and milk!" 

We laughed the first time we experienced this phenomenon.  But really...there's a pretty good reason behind it.  Hugo.  Ask anyone who lived here during that time and they'll tell you how Hugo decimated the area and impacted daily life.  No electricity, food rotted.  Trees were down so travel was limited.  People relied on each other.  Meat stored in freezers became huge neighborhood barbecues. 

When we moved into this house, the previous owner left his fridge.  We moved it into the garage and used it mostly for cold drinks (yes, beer).  I then started using the freezer as a back-up storage unit for my main refrigerator.  Buying in bulk or when items are on sale is great for the budget but storage is a pain.

This past winter I noticed that the freezer section wasn't keeping things as cold as it should.  I ended up tossing some things as I was concerned about food safety.

I've spent some time considering food storage as I do feel inflation (even hyperinflation) is around the corner.  I plan on more aggressive bulk purchases.  Dollar cost averaging.

We're considering buying bulk beef and chicken from a local farmer (organic...  SM doing his research again.)  I'd also like to think I might have excess vegetables from the garden this year, but I really have no idea of my potential yield.  I feel this years garden is more for fresh eating and we discussed expanding it based on what we achieve this year.

We've discussed canning vs freezing.  Both our families canned food but eventually moved to chest freezers with ziplock bags or vacuum packed storage bags.  For now, we'll be freezing.  (I may get back into canning next year.)

So we will be buying another refrigerator. 

Since SM is a "foodie" alot of his taste variety comes from condiments.  4 different salsas, 3 different barbecue sauces, 5 different salad dressings...the list goes on and on.  I need the extra storage space.  So another expense, but a necessary one if we plan on saving money in the long run.

Spend money to save money.  Ain't it the truth.

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