Putting your money where your mouth is, so to speak

August 11, 2008 at 1:31 pm Leave a comment

We’ve heard quite a bit about soaring food prices lately. Prices are rising and container sizes are shrinking. According to an article in USA Today, when food prices increase, shoppers start to leave behind produce in favor of caloric-dense foods, which are higher in fat and sugar. The article also describes the ways shoppers are dealing with higher prices, such as eating out less and cooking more with fresh ingredients.

But I have to wonder, is cooking at home with fresh ingredients such a sacrifice? It seems ideal to me. We used to buy packaged, preshredded lettuce, but then we switched to organic lettuce, and the price is about the same. It takes about 10 minutes of prep work at the beginning of the week to rinse and tear up the lettuce and whirl it in the salad spinner, but then it’s ready for a week’s worth of salads.

We used to buy salad dressings until we started making our own and discovered the difference in taste between something bottled with preservatives and something fresh, with herbs just picked from the garden. It’s hard to go back to Wish-Bone after that.

As for eating out, just watch one episode of Kitchen Nightmares if you want to be inspired to cook at home. (I kid, and I genuinely hope that the restaurants on that show are the exception!)

The part of the USA Today article about buying “fewer frills,” however, has been a bit more difficult. Cutting out extravagances such as my beloved pecorino and Brunello took some time. We save the fancy groceries for special occasions now, but still eat healthy, delicious food. We also have made a concentrated effort to not let our groceries go bad. Can’t even imagine how much we’ve wasted by not keeping tabs on what we had in the refrigerator. We’ve accumulated three bottles of bay leaves, for example. Two are unopened, probably because we bought a bottle, only to discover we had one already. Then we did it again.

The article offers great suggestions even if you aren’t inclined to cook your own beans or grow your own basil. Be sure to note the sidebar with eight ways to save money at the grocery store.

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Entry filed under: Food for thought. Tags: , .

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