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Posts Tagged ‘Groceries’

Unless you still live with your family (or a family of some kind), as a single woman you have, at some point, dealt with the issue of cooking for one. Although it can be a fun time to explore options and creativity and try new recipes with only your own health and taste buds to worry about, it can also get tiresome. Of course, you could eat out and get take-out for every. single. meal, but that gets quickly, ridiculously expensive.

I was doing some research to find ways to save on groceries that wasn’t the already-heard-fifty-times “Use coupons,” “Buy generic/on sale/in season,” and “Don’t shop when you’re hungry.” I found one great post on the site Wise Bread (which I had admittedly never read before) called, “Grocery Shopping for the Cheap and Lazy.” Despite its (honest) title, the advice is also good for singles, even if they are neither cheap nor lazy.

The article includes such gems as:

Sure, maybe I use too much salt and vinegar, but hey, it’s my palate, and if I want everything to taste like dill pickles, so be it. I’ll worry about someone else’s palate when the time comes.

Also, “Do not fear butter. It makes everything better.” I’m pretty sure I want that on a bumper sticker for my car someday.

Some of the advice is common sense: don’t buy things in bulk if you won’t use it all, and cook foods that will taste good as leftovers. Some of it is less conventional, but still makes sense: be sure to try ethnic foods and shop at ethnic stores, allow yourself one indulgent item that will make you happy to cook, and if you must drink, booze it up at home for cheaper.

Be sure to check out the entertaining article, and many of the links from it. You’ll learn something.

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First of all, I would very much like to create that magazine if it doesn’t already exist. It could have fabulous and helpful features like “51 ways to re-heat and disguise that casserole you made last week that really would easily have fed 12 hard-working adults” and “How do I know if these mushrooms are actually spoiled?” and other such gems. You’re excited already. I can feel it.

Secondly, one of the phrases I say at least once a week (this is not a discipline, it just comes up) is “I am so thankful that my family _____.” I am, among other things, really thankful that I get to use that phrase so often. My family does give me lots of reasons to do so. And one of those reasons is the subject of this post.

When I was a senior in high school, one of my Christmas presents was a 5-piece place setting of Fiestaware. It was in some fantastic color like cobalt. (Mom, if you’re reading this, I must say I love this chocolaty brown. Just an idea…). The next year she got me the same thing, in another but equally fantastic color.

When I went away to college, I had four place-settings and we put them into storage, which at our house means means that when I was finished with college and was getting ready to move, it took a long, hard search that included a rescue dog to find them. When I moved into my first real apartment last fall I took them with me and have enjoyed using them to serve up the experimental meals I have been concocting. At least the plates look nice.

So, you may be asking yourselves, why do I relate this moving tale?  It is because I am so thankful that my mother realized that having nice housewares was not the exclusive right of married people; that she knew that some people would like pretty dishes, blenders, and tool boxes while still living the single life. It’s because she knew that being married and being a grown up are not synonymous. And for that, I am so thankful.

Now I know that all of you might not have quite as much affection as I do for kitchen appliances and other such things. But I bet you can relate to the strange adjustment to adulthood, made all the stranger when the transition occurs more gradually, without some major event like a wedding to make it stand out.  But I believe it is very important as a single person for me to live my life right now, just as I’m planning to, not waiting for marriage to make “real life” start. And, for me, having nice things in my kitchen helps me live that way. So thank you, Mom.

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Today, I was at the grocery store, and I thought of Bethany’s post about looking for love to go with the organic leeks and beef boullion cubes. I was kind of smiling to myself in the produce section when I thought of it, and then I walked by a tall, reasonably attractive gentleman.

That’s … really as far as the story goes.

But what I found most amusing was that the expression on his face was a lot like how I felt—kind of in a hurry, and not particularly happy to be there. Because, honestly, despite its promise of romance, adventure, and intrigue, I hate having to go to the grocery store. Some chores are better than others, and while I enjoy cooking with the fruits (and vegetables, and meats, and … well, you get the idea) of my visit, I don’t like actually having to go. So I’m usually in and out as fast as humanly possible, and I don’t think much about the people there.

Now I’m wondering, *gasp* Have I missed the opportunity of a lifetime??? Honestly, as amusing as his facial expression was, there was a certain forbidden vibe about that guy. Not exactly Beauty-and-the-Beast-never-enter-the-west-wing forbidden, but, you know, mildly standoffish and unapproachable. And since I have an expressive face anyway, it would not surprise me to learn that I was wearing that same look of “Grrrr … Don’t talk to me, I just want to finish my task and be done with it!!!”

And that kind of thing doesn’t lend itself to friendly chatter. So maybe I should be more aware of my facial expressions and my general appearance in terms of approachability. You know what they say about being happy—you never know who’s falling in love with your smile!

</sickening cheesiness>

On that note, what could you work on to be more approachable, for the sake of being a friendly person, or for your future relationship, or as a Christian witness, etc.?

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Happy Monday! Sorry if that’s a bit too much enthusiasm for a Monday. I’m just taking a break from term-paper writing (spring break is a blessed five days away!) to tell you about one of the loves of my life: the grocery store. I love the grocery store. I love everything about it, from fascinating produce sections where you really need a field guide to sort out the different varieties to the organic section with gluten-free cookies and Annie’s Macaroni & Cheese to the aisle with all the brightly labeled canned, powdered, packaged and instant foods to the 3,000 varieties of olive oil.

(I realized recently that my affection for food might be a bit excessive when I was talking with a friend and told her, “I love Columbus – it has wonderful restaurants and grocery stores!” I suppose there are more criteria for judging a place than just its groceries – I should have also mentioned the fantastic local ice-cream manufacturers!) There’s always such a feeling of discovery at a grocery store, of adventure. One might come home with a package of rice noodles and a particularly intriguing fruit and have to find a whole new recipe in which to use them. Or one might come back with 5 bananas and a squash. Or sharp white cheddar. Or popsicles. The charm is – anything could happen.

In addition to this feeling of discovery in the food-realm, the grocery store also holds (for me, at any rate) the promise of romance. What isn’t romantic about the thought of meeting one’s soul-mate in the dairy department: “O! You too like European-style butter? Come and kiss me, my sweet!” or what isn’t fully adorable about seeing guys buy canned goods and ramen? It awakens a rather housewifely instinct, methinks. Add to this that my current grocery somehow has a surplus population of young and fairly attractive male customers, and I simply cannot help but imagine picking up pears, cereal, milk and a man on my trip to the grocery store. Though I’m pretty sure I couldn’t pick up a man if he were 3’2” and weighed sixty pounds, I can’t quite shake the hope.

So I’ve gotten pretty good at figuring out who’s single and who’s a good catch by quick observations. Of course, there’s always the ring check, but sometimes you just can’t count on that. So, there’s the grocery check: 24 pack of Bud-light, not so much my kind of guy. Organic veggies, high-quality pasta – maybe a bit high maintenance but probably a cook. Good stuff. Baby food? Not available, but isn’t it great to see men out taking care of baby errands? I haven’t managed to acquire a super-market super-boyfriend yet, but I have become quite observant. (Oh! If I manage to become a single elderly lady, I will have the perfect set-up for a charming detective series…) Thus far, the only romance my grocery shopping has afforded has been this one:

Mrs. Butterworth and Frangelico! Aren't they cute?

Mrs. Butterworth and Frangelico! Aren't they cute?

Don’t they make and adorable couple? (Frangelico is going in these Nutella cupcakes. I’ll let you know how they turn out.) In the meantime, do you have any locales which, while not traditionally romantic, are romantic to you? Please share.

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