How I grocery shop. Part 2.

What a lot of people don’t realize is that the grocery shopping shouldn’t stop at the actual acquisition of groceries.

Sure, ya gotta get your goodies home and then put them away. Most probably stop there.

I don’t.

A slight digression.

Once upon a time, the family and I rented a house on the East Side of Cleveland. What we didn’t know at the time was the fact that the rental company that we rented from was run by a bunch of clowns who really didn’t give a fuck about the property as long as we were paying the rent on time.

As such, things like telling us that the basement was a wet basement wasn’t a priority. What was even less of a priority was the fact that when they replaced the roof (which they did without prompting) they didn’t think to check the integrity of the roof from the attic point of view. If they did that, they would have seen that the roofers that they had hired split one of the roof planks (thereby leaving a six inch gap the length of the entire roof that was only covered by the roofing paper and shingles that they used). In case you didn’t do the math, wetness from the basement + wetness from the attic = a mold sandwich that was waiting to happen.

What that sandwich had was a heaping side of really shitty windows. These were the turn of the century types that required you to put the storm windows on from the outside and had the accordion screens that stayed in place from the weight of the window.

As such, this house was the absolute fucking worst when it came to maintaining the integrity of our fruits and vegetables.

What also didn’t help was the fact that once the weather turned warm, it was game-fucking-on for the fruit flies. Seriously: check it out.

Greatest. Invention. Ever.

Greatest. Invention. Ever.

One day, my wife turned me on to vinegar. I don’t know if she knew this from previous experience or if it was something that she had found on Pinterest. Once I started soaking our produce, it has lasted twice as long.

As an added aside, you can do essentially anything with the stuff. Cleaning. Food. Cooking. Plus, it’s going to smell like Easter up in your house.

Giving your produce a vinegar bath certainly seems like one of those things thats easy to blow off. But you have to look at it this way: you know nothing about the life of the food that you want to eat. Wouldn’t it make sense to take the initiative to kill whatever bacteria is lurking (either through natural means or as the result of someone who is underpaid and under appreciated) on the food that you want to put in your belly?

So here’s what I have been doing to get our money’s worth out of our produce. 

 IMG_3325 IMG_3321In general, there seems to be a bit of a dispute as to how much vinegar that you are supposed to use and how long you should let your shit soak for.

Personally, I slosh enough across the top to make sure that more than half of the produce has gotten some vinegar.

Then, I fill the sink up with water and I go do something else. Typically, that something else is putting the rest of the fucking groceries away.

In general, I don’t let them soak for more than 15 minutes or so.

Make yourself useful and take care of those snacks you bought! Don’t look at me like that, I know you’re a mindless eater!

It’s the same routine as the produce: get all of the shit together. Then, put it in the tupperware that you and you’re wife bought. For me, it’s not so much about seeing exactly how much everyone is eating. It’s about keeping the tupperware cabinet empty because every time someone goes into that cabinet it looks like there was a fucking Earth quake.

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TA!

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FUCKING DA!

So, now that you have gotten the snacks and what not squared away (and probably had a little handful of everything because you feel entitled) turn back to the produce that you left swimming.

Time to rinse that shit!

There’s no real trick to it: drain the sink, transport the veg to the bin that you left open and pretend like you’re one of the jailor’s at the county lock up who likes delousing people.

Like, so.

Like, so.

You could go the extra mile and dry all of that shit by hand, but I like to work smart, not hard. I let everything air dry.

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This is usually where I fuck off and do something else for 30 minutes or so. After the appropriate amount of time has gone by, then I put all of that shit away.

The house is safe for another week.

The house is safe for another week.

Thus concludes “How I Grocery Shop”. Got a routine of your own? Share it in the comments section at the top of this post!

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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!

When my kids learn to drive.

Today’s child doesn’t really understand that driving an automobile used to be a privilege. Given the commonality of cars these days, who can blame them?

One of the things that grows from this commonality is a new level of impatience. People in general seldom drive for pleasure like they used to and when they do drive, their fellow drivers aren’t going fast enough to suit their needs. As a result of this impatience, car accidents happen more frequently. If you need evidence, google ‘auto detailers near me‘.

 When privilege become expectation.

The last automobile accident I was in happened when I was 14. My father was driving. I was in the front passenger seat. We had just crossed a major intersection on a two-lane road that our neighborhood was built around. Approaching us was a long line of cars, at least 5 deep.

I don’t remember what the holdup was for the oncoming traffic.

It could have been some old bitty, nothing but two hands on the steering wheel and a faint wisp of purplish white hair where the face should have been. I never knew. I was staring out the window, bored, like everyone normally is at that age.

My father’s attempts at bonding with me usually culminated in long car rides. Presumably this was due to the fact that it’s awfully hard for someone in their teens to ignore the person behind the wheel given the fact that the person behind the wheel is in total control of the environment.

As we began to pass the cars, that’s when I heard my father swear. At that age, I had heard my father swear before but this time, there was a hint of helplessness to it.

“You fucker“. 

I looked up at him and then through the windshield. Another car from the back of the throng was hurtling towards us. Neither of us were wearing seat belts.

Avoidance wasn’t an option.

The oncoming car didn’t have the chance to accelerate fast enough to do any real damage to us. The only souvenir my father had from that event was a knot high on his forehead and a totaled car. I had managed to escape with some bruises and some cuts on my hands because I was fast enough to put them up to protect myself from the windshield.

When my kids learn to drive.

Every kid expects their parent to teach them how to drive. With how common cars are and how glorified they are (The Fast and Furious franchise), it’s basically in their DNA by now. The idea of control, the controlling of a vehicle, of the fact that you are in charge of a destination hits all of the really gushy parts of their little lizard brains.

I’m not looking forward to the days when I have to teach my shit-heads what it really means to be behind the wheel of an automobile.

It’s not because I think that all kids (even mine) are dumb and reckless. It’s because I don’t want to ponder how they might feel or react to their fellow drivers who could potentially be less than courteous. It’s because, if they get into an accident (which might happen) that it won’t be due to the fact that they were being careless. And, it’s because I can only hope they will have the balls to call me when they know that they are too fucked up to drive. 

The bottom line is that other drivers, even you, dear reader, and even me, are assholes. The thing that I have been driving into my children’s brains since they have been able to interpersonally relate to people outside of the family, is that you can’t change an asshole: you can only give them a wide berth.