I usually have the children and the iPad with me when grocery shopping. Kiddo keeps busy by taking pictures in the Photo Booth app while I shop. His work is featured today.
I’m a foodie. I enjoy the process of putting together a meal. Rarely do I have the time to plan and shop for elaborate menus. Usually I rush to make a list, check local specials, and plan meals for the week. When Man is sweet and squeezes in a supermarket run while I herd kids and tackle the mountain of laundry formerly known as our couch, he returns fuming. Like the kind of fuming that is, “thank you Lord he didn’t punch someone in the parking lot”. Then we spend the rest of the day madder than two wet hens and we barely accumulate enough food to last us a week or two. I inevitably forget to put something on the list, have to go to several stores to finish my list, or reach for an ingredient mid-week only to find it had already molded.
The whole process is giving me a nervous twitch.
I started doing a little research. The class I was teaching was knee-deep in a study over Omnivore’s Dilemma any way. I became more exhausted, frustrated, and annoyed — every eat on a budget article, post or pin was full of processed foods, cheap foods laced with God knows what, or hours of labor.
I do not have patience or time for hours of labor.
I am not naïve, Wal-Mart is not going anywhere any time soon, and a quick run to the mega store does have its place.
But, I want more than settling for whatever Wal-Mart or Target has on its shelves most days.
Can I split the difference between the supermarket and alternatives?
My aspiration is to feed my family based on the following:
- Be sure of what is in my family’s food.
- Know where our food comes from – preferably Texas, if not – then the good ole’ USA.
- Buy seasonal produce.
- Limit the amount of preservatives, chemicals, antibiotics, etc in our family’s food.
- Find high quality product on my shrinking budget.
- Avoid product that is overly processed or not on the up and up (enter Monsanto, chickens in the chicken feed, HFCS, etc)
I’m not unrealistic. Man is not giving up his Dr. Pepper. Kids should have cake and ice cream at a friend’s birthday party. I’m not giving up my chocolate. I like pizza dough made with white flour. I don’t see me baking or making iced tea without sugar. However, I am a dietitian, former personal trainer, and newly retired culinary arts teacher…if anyone ought to feed their family decent food it’s me.
That got me to brainstorming.
Of course I will still have to go to the “grocery store” for household items, but how long could I get eggs, milk, meat, produce and bread without it? Could I forgo Wal-Mart & Target (where customer service usually sucks) for neighborhood stores that give me a bag refund, offer to help me out with the groceries, and actually answer questions I need to ask while shopping? Could I find everything we needed at the farmer’s market in town? Would it cost me an arm and a leg to eat well?
I only have a foot.
Then I thought…in the words of Barney Stinson…challenge accepted!