How I grocery shop. Part 1.

I don’t remember the first time that I went grocery shopping as a stay at home parent. What I do remember is what led up to this being my responsibility: my wife and I would constantly quibble about who’s responsibility it was. She wanted it to still be her’s (even though she was working full time) and I wanted it to be mine (because I had the time to get it done).

Seems kind of stupid, but she had good reason not to trust me: I was raised on junk food.

My parents, although well meaning, didn’t know shit when it came to food and how it logically impacts your health. Things like “what to eat vs. what not to eat” and “how much is enough?” were ideals that were never really impressed upon me. I suppose that if I were to put myself in their shoes, they naively saw that I derived some sort of fucked up happiness through gorging myself. However, through this naivety I became the token fat kid in the neighborhood. I thinned out as I got older but my need to eat garbage has never really gone away. As a result, my weight has gone up and down like a bride’s nightie.

All of that aside, throughout the years, I have refined my grocery shopping approach. When I first started out, I was able to feed a family of 5 for $120 a week. I accomplished this by being the king of boxed food at the time. Pretty easy to be cost effective and time effective when that’s the case.

As I have progressed in my knowledge of food and have come to terms with the fact that fruits and vegetables have to be a priority, our grocery bill has inflated slightly to somewhere between $150 to $190 a week.

FYI: I don’t do coupons. Too much of a pain in the ass. Also, 65% of my cart is normally produce. Sadly, I have yet to shop somewhere that actually has coupons for their fruits and veggies.

That’s still pretty good if I do say so myself.

“But what about meals and planning meals and shouldn’t I make shit to eat that everyone will like?” I’m sure you’re thinking that if you haven’t all ready.

Yes, you have to plan meals (It’s a part of your job). No, they don’t have to be things everyone will like. And no, you don’t have to plan meals every night of the week (that shit gets exhausting real quick). In short:

FUCK THAT NOISE.

You are in charge of all aspects of the food that comes into your home. Not your wife. Not your kids. You. While you may want to please everyone, it’s fucking impossible. There’s always going to be someone around the table who doesn’t like the dish you put in front of them, or they don’t like something that is a part of the meal. They’ll get over it.

Personally, I aim for three planned meals a week. I could do more, but two out of my three kids have places to be in the evenings. As such, I have “throw away” meals built into dinner time for the week.

“Throw away meals”? These are things that I can make in under 40 minutes that generally don’t come out of a box and can be considered health conscious.

In sum, grocery shopping is a snap if you have a system in place.

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See how useful this motherfucker is? Holds recipes for the week like a fucking champ!

Envelopes are your friend.

Envelopes are your friend.

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Seriously, they are. Hell of a lot harder to lose a grocery list if it’s written all over an envelope.

 Behold the might of the Envelope in all of it’s splendor!

One glorious day, I turned around and saw them: the envelopes that I have had since I have moved in with my wife. They were just sitting there, taking up space and collecting dust on a shelf. Then I had a thought. I thought:

I’m gonna use the fuck out of them. 

For real: The best thing that I have ever done in terms of my system for grocery shopping was switching over to envelopes.

I have tried scraps of paper. Lost every single one of them.

I have tried a “food notebook”. Way too cumbersome.

I have tried creating lists in my “smart phone”. Also way too cumbersome because you have to turn the fucking thing on and off. While it seems like your trying to get your monies worth out of something that you have invested in, you’re really not: it’s just another reason to be tethered to something that has the potential to brainwash you.

Shopping has been a breeze since then. I don’t have to worry about remembering if I brought my list. I don’t have to fuck around with something that is unwieldy, and I certainly have gained some distance from my fucking phone.

Got a shopping system that works for you? Share in the comments section at the top of this post!

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A brief word on food.

One of the cornerstones of our society is the necessity of food. While our bodies can survive for nearly three weeks without it (Gandhi, yep the “Be the change you wish to see in the world guy”, also known as Sir Ben Kingsley to others…. survived 21 days of complete starvation. Obviously he had water or else he would have been dead inside of 5 days) one would think that it would be common sense for an individual to have a working knowledge of food preparation (e.g. you know the difference between your ass and a hole in the ground when you step foot in the kitchen).

Sadly, most people cannot make the aforementioned distinction. 

If you marked my progress in the kitchen from when I first started out as a stay at home parent, to now, it would be a thick, black line that traveled through smoke (the smoke being whatever the fuck it was that I was cremating in the oven), traversed canyons of boxed dinners (mac ‘n’ cheese was not only friend to my family but also really friggin’ versatile: seriously google it. People have taken that staple a real long way) and is currently supporting someone who cannot only improvise on the fly, but also follow some pretty complicated recipes.

Cooking is not scary. It is following directions. That’s all that it is. 

If you’re not completely sold on the idea that you should be working on being considered a wizard in the kitchen, cooking is also SCIENCE. And I would be remiss if I did not point out that (even if you aren’t a dad, husband, whatever) chicks dig a guy who knows his way around the kitchen.

Currently, I have a very modest collection of recipes here. Unless otherwise noted, most of them ARE NOT MINE. 

If they are not mine, I will obviously say so. I will link to the origin site, the original recipe or (if it’s something out of a book, for instance) I will link to the Amazon page featuring the book (if there isn’t any other stones for me to turn over).

While a lot of people would consider this a “hack” thing to do, I would also like to point out that they are missing the obvious: IF  A RECIPE IS ON HERE, IT’S BECAUSE THE ORIGINAL RECIPE DIDN’T HAVE ANY FUCKING PICTURES. 

My main goal in making recipes a part of this site is to educate people (men, specifically) that they should be cooking more instead of relying on simpleton shit like fast food or boxed dinners or any other garbage. The sad truth is that Men are less likely to get their asses in the kitchen if there aren’t any pictures. 

It is my hope that in posting the steps, with the pictures, and the general amount of time it took me to work through the recipe, that some of the sting will be taken out of learning how to cook.

Additionally, if people have a general problem with what I’m doing (be it the creator of the recipe or people in general), I warmly invite them to shut up: if you didn’t want people giving you free publicity about something you created, you shouldn’t have put it on the internet in the first place.