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The Kitchen
With the new Publix just a two minute drive we buy meats and produce to be eaten within 48 hours. I see no reason to fill a freezer with pre-frozen crap or a crisper with produce that will spoil. The freezer is for ice, soup (made in large quantities) and leftover dinners. That being said we have a large pantry of canned items and a giant spice supply -not to mention the hurricane kit.

How much does the drive time to your grocery determine what you eat? I remember my Mom filling up the station wagon when I was little. One of my best memories what when I was either 4 or 5 when my Dad and I would go shopping at Murman's Grocery store every Saturday and stock up for the week after my little sister was born...

I grew up in the suburbs (still live there actually) where grocery shopping was done once a week, and the pantry was stocked with canned goods and the freezer was stocked with frozen meals. I didn’t realize there was any other way of getting the foods you prepared for meals.

In my house, the stocking up wasn’t very organized, but it existed. In my best friend’s house, it was incredibly organized. If a can of tomatoes was taken from the shelves in the garage, a can of tomatoes was immediately written on the grocery list on the refrigerator. The new can, when bought, would be placed on the back of the shelf – behind two or three cans of the same item that already existed. Her family never ran out of pantry items.

In my early 20s, I visited a friend who had a nanny job in New York City. The family she worked for was away for the weekend, and she had been given permission to have someone come stay with her. When it came time for dinner the first evening I was there, we walked to a corner market to get ingredients. Not a prepared meal, not a frozen entrée, but ingredients.

We bought fresh pasta, tomatoes, fresh basil (which sadly, I had never seen before), and some other ingredients. We took it all back to the penthouse on the Upper West Side that she was living in and cooked a meal. She explained that the family frequently bought food from stores in the neighborhood each day for that evening’s dinner. It was such a foreign concept to me.

Now, two decades later, I find myself combining the way my family stocked the pantry and the way my friend introduced me to shopping on an as-needed basis. I stock up on things like canned beans (for all that hummus I make), ingredients like soy sauce for marinades, baking staples, boxed organic chicken stock, and nut butters. But, in my freezer, you’ll find frozen grass-fed beef, homemade meals I’ve made double of and frozen half, and some frozen vegetables because they’re better in a pinch than having no vegetables at all.

As I’ve become more committed to cooking for my family from healthy, sustainable fresh ingredients, my shopping habits have changed. I’ll run to the store or the farmers market when it’s in season on an as-needed basis for fresh ingredients because I love to cook from fresh ingredients. I’ll stock up on certain healthy staples when they’re on sale.

I’m thinking about this because Food Navigator is reporting that most people don’t expect to do a one-stop shop any more. Younger people, it reports, “are not pantry stockers any more.” They decide what’s for dinner that night when they walk into the store, not a week before when they’re making their weekly shopping list. The piece discusses how grocery stores are going to have to change the items they carry if they want what they have in stock to keep up with what shoppers want.

I’m curious. How many of my readers stock a pantry, how many of you shop several times a week, and how many do a mash-up of the two like I do? I’m always curious about what goes on in people’s kitchens.
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
If I had the time, and the finances I'd shop daily. But sadly I have learned that running to the grocery store not only takes up time it also tends to cost more.

Typically I do a weekly shop, with a few short hops to the grocery store through out the week to get milk and bread, and I also do a monthly shop to Costco. I have to be budget conscious, with 3 growing children (2 of which are boys with hollow legs I swear)
My local Aldi is just 2.75 miles away, with the new WalMart grocery across the street. And the Kroger is just three miles away, at a ninety degree angle from there. I almost always go by them when doing other things, so it is quite easy to just stop in and get what I need, when I need it.

I live right next to an Albertson's, my local butcher (with locally raised beef) is one block away, and the liquor store as well as four bars are within two blocks of me. All my important nutritional concerns are covered, I think.

Of course, I have a chest freezer, plus the freezer on my fridge which I keep fully stocked with meat, soups, and other things I made but could not finish, as well as some produce and fruits, breads and cheeses. My cabinets are full to the doors of canned soups, vegetables, meats, beans, tuna, etc. I do not like having to make a weekly grocery store run, and I quite amaze myself with how little I manage to eat as a single bachelor. I could go for many months without having to buy meat, even longer if I shoot something in the fall, and the same with vegetables, etc.

Fully one half to two thirds of my main refrigerator space is beer or wine. I also keep plenty of liquors stocked up as well.

I think my biggest fear is being without when something bad happens, or something happens to make me broke and unhappy for awhile -- at least I know I will not be starving to death.

One thing I will mention is that I do not have a microwave or prepare any of meals using one. It definitely forces you to prepare better foods for yourself, and is cheaper to cook a meal from basic ingredients than to buy the "convenient" stuff.

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