Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Klatsch: a week without shopping


Klatsch team
 Share

Recommended Posts

I am still working at this.....has it been 6 weeks? 1 shelf in the cellar is cleared and the freezer has some spaces. Found kinds of bread there that has me wondering why I bought it. I don't LIKE black bread.

Large chunks of meat seemed to fall into my cart when shopping so that slowed progress. An Easter ham, at a very good price, is the latest example.

I'm now at the point where I am finding stuff just "too long" past use by date to use. DH insists on opening cans and dumping said canned fruits etc. on to compost. The woodchucks etc get a treat.

Next is the cupboard above the oven, old pretzels and other snack foods that we don't need and shouldn't eat anyway.

When the grandkids come they will get little Kibbeh things, done in muffin tins, from the freezer, instead of me making something new. "Maybe" a brownie mix will get used too.

I have a small jar of Spanish pate/meat spread that will make a nice treat some night. Condiments still remain a really big problem....lots of raspberry with/without chipotle type sauces. I'm always saving for an event or guests.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a small jar of Spanish pate/meat spread that will make a nice treat some night.  Condiments still remain a really big problem....lots of raspberry with/without chipotle type sauces.  I'm always saving for an event or guests.

For the condiments without the chipotle sauce (or maybe with), here is a great jam tart mentioned in the Recipes that Rock 2008 thread. I've made it a dozen times with the leftover and stray bottles of preserves in the pantry - it's wonderful!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We're in the middle of a 10-day beach vacation in North Carolina that I think we're going to get through on $20.64 worth of groceries. When we left home, we packed up a ton of the stuff that we never got to eat during the month-long challenge -- about 6 bags of groceries and one big cooler bag with ice packs. We went to the local Food Lion here to buy enough eggs, potatoes, onions and salad ingredients to last us most or all of the trip. I hear there's a farmer's market here on Wednesday so we might splurge on some produce there if they have anything good this early in the season. And sometimes there are ladies by the side of the road selling shrimp out of blue coolers for just a few dollars a pound -- we might invest in some of those, though again I'm not sure about the season. We'll see. The point being, in the past the food budget for a trip like this would have been more like $250. This time it could be as little as 10% of that and we'll probably wind up taking four bags of groceries back home anyway.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Like others, I'm finding this event has had a real effect on my thinking more intelligently about shopping in general. I just got back from a week in Portland OR, and I devoted a significant portion of my Saturday at the farmer's market. My choices were quite different than last time, when I got stuff that I didn't use or need. This time, save for a few gifts, I stuck to lunch (amazing wood-oven pizza), food I'd eat on the redeye back (a bagel from that same oven, some excellent Fuji apples, dried Italian prunes), some leaf lard that I need for a variety of uses but can't get around here, and an excellent boneless lamb shoulder I also can't get around here and that I'll turn into merguez sausage later this spring. I put back a bunch of impulse buys simply by asking, "You really gonna use that?"

Meanwhile, I've been noticing that I get pissed at myself for creating leftovers that the family doesn't finish off, and as a result, for my first prepared meal back, I shopped in a way I hadn't ever before. I make a little seared scallop salad that is a nice, light meal, and I nearly always get a pound of scallops and too much greenery. Because they're so rich, however, we never finish all of the bivalves. I bought seven -- three each with one smaller one for testing -- which worked out to less than half a pound, and instead of a big bag of mesclun I got a small head of superior frisee and a bunch of parsley and used that. Cost less than usual, of course, and no leftovers.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Today I bought basil at the grocery store and I handled it differently, according to my new paradigm of efficient use of my food purchases. I immediately picked all the basil leaves off the bunch -- all of them. I washed and washed them (they were very sandy), then dried them, then divided them into four sandwich-size zipper bags. Three of those bags went into the freezer and one went into the fridge. I expect to use the fridge allotment within a few days.

In the past, I'd often have kept the whole bunch of basil in the produce drawer, used a quarter of it during the week after purchase, and thrown the rest in the garbage. Not only was this wasteful, but also it meant I didn't always have basil when I wanted it. Now I will.

When I tested the frozen-basil approach during the Klatsch period, I found (as I'd occasionally found before) that in a cooked dish like tomato sauce frozen fresh basil is not, to me, distinguishable from fresh fresh basil. In a caprese salad, it's probably not the best idea to use frozen. I haven't tested it in pesto -- that's an experiment I'll get to at some point.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Although I did not participate in the challenge I have sincerely made huge changes in my shopping and food utilization. Today was Farmers Market day. I was tempted beyond human limits by the greens at the stand that has tons of Asian greens. In particular the red water spinach was talking to me. However...I had mustard greens harvested the day before from my father's house, plus spinach and chard in my own garden- I had to step away and use what was right in my kitchen. That theme has been in my face now and I can no longer justify purchasing items when my pantry/fridge/freezer have viable options. I have also made a conscious effort to avoid buying anything if there is the possibility that I can make do from the home stores. The challenge to creativity has been fun and the money savings are nothing to discount.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Since this project ended I've easily been spending $50 less a week (about 1/3 less) on groceries without any reduction in the quality of what my family is eating. Just avoiding waste and being smarter about planning has saved that much.

Yet, even with all this conservation, I find myself now with a refrigerator and freezer overflowing with food. So, today we're skipping the Sunday shopping trip to Fairway and going another week without shopping. I'm not going to Klatsch about it -- for the current Klatsch tune in to David Ross in Las Vegas -- but I am pretty amazed that I find myself in this position again so soon.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Just when you thought you'd heard the last of this, the Toronto Star's columnist tries a week without shopping.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am single and therefore cook for one. A recent examination of my bank statement showed that I had spent only $106 on groceries in April. Without even trying.

Of course, I'll go way over that in May, but I had let myself run low on staples. I have a new technique on buying staples: I keep a list of all that I'm getting low on, and every time I go shopping I'll buy one to three items that I'm the lowest on. Even so, there comes a time when you suddenly need a bunch of paper goods and non-food items all at once and this was the time. It's obvious I could save money by going to a discount place for this stuff, but my last trip to Wal-Mart resulted in about $80 in impulse purchases. Too dangerous.

Another aid to lower grocery bills is to make a list of everything I bought so I can better prepare menus and see when time is running out on latest purchases. I'm not much for rummaging around in the refrigerator, but I do refer to the list a lot, and that cuts down on food waste.

All this from reading postings, even though I didn't consciously participate this time, and really examining my food shopping and cooking habits.

Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Can't wait for GMA on Monday.

The latest on this is that we're probably looking at Thursday! I'm going to do everybody a favor and stop posting updates until there's an actual airing, after which there should be a link to the video available.

did this ever air and is it available online somewhere?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nothing new to report. As I mentioned, I'm going to do everybody a favor and stop posting updates until there's an actual airing, after which there should be a link to the video available. Rest assured, when there's a link or an air date, if there ever is one, you'll hear all about it!

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 months later...

Fantastic! We'll set up a fresh new topic on Sunday and make some announcements to get the ball rolling. I have so much junk in my refrigerator, freezer and pantry at the moment that I may have to do this for a year.

For those of you who didn't catch it, this is what we sent out in our NewsGullet email newsletter the other day:

It's time for another week without shopping.

Back in February, scores of eGullet Society members joined me in a no-shopping challenge. Instead of spending on groceries, we feasted on the bounty of our refrigerators, freezers and pantries. We ate very well indeed, and many of us discovered how much we waste.

Starting Monday, we're going to do another week. Remember, if you spend $100 a week on groceries, this experiment will put $100 back in your pocket quicker than you can say stimulus.

Stay tuned...

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sounds like a winner! And lots of fun.

However, for me a week wouldn't affect me much as I just "invaded" Trader Joe's Monday morning and loaded up on a good supply of necessities as well as a lot of goodies.

I also hit the Winco for bulk grains, flour and pasta and my egg man showed up later that evening with a basket full of lovely eggs, including a dozen guinea eggs (something new for him). Plus I shopped at Smart & Final on Saturday for milk and cream - they carry the manufacturer's cream in half-gallon cartons.

I am set for a month at least.

I hadn't shopped for quite a while and only did this significant excursion because I had decided to order a Thermomix and wanted to be prepared for its arrival with sufficient supplies for the recipes I had already downloaded and printed.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have continued (with very modest success) to reduce the quantities in the freezer, refrigerator, and pantry. This will be an excellent opportunity to focus once again on reducing what is on hand - and not spend money on food for a week.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So glad you'll be joining in. I'm hoping we'll pull in a lot of people starting on Sunday-Monday when we really start promoting the happening.

Andie, as you'll recall, last time we did this we had several dozen people do a week. Then we had smaller groups continue on for a second and third week. Finally, we had a hard core that went an entire month or beyond. I imagine you're going to be in the latter group. I'm probably shooting for that too.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just read this thread and it's inspired me just in the past few days! I am another single one, who works and goes to school. I have a very tiny kitchen that I don't enjoy cooking in, and ALWAYS dishes to wash. What tends to happen is that I will either not have time to go to the grocery store so I end up getting food from various places or I grocery shop but end up letting the food go bad because a) I am too tired from working to cook, or b)I'm too focused on studying to cook. It seems I end up at TJs or Whole Foods about once every 3-4 weeks or so to shop - if I go not hungry I'll hardly spend any money at all so have discovered I need to be hungry just to get myself to buy things! I just did my last shopping trip yesterday where I spent about $70. My goal will be to not spend money on food for the next week (hope this is OK!) and focus on just using the things I have in my kitchen and doing something with them, including making provisions to take to work/school. I'm not sure how successful I'll be, but we'll see how it goes!

Erin

"American by birth, Irish by the grace of God"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think I'm going to try this finally. The bad thing for me is going to a place like Whole Foods, I end up buying all sorts of pantry stuff that I think looks cool, then I never have a chance to use because I end up eating at the girlfriend's place, or getting home late, being lazy and eating some fast food, etc.

This week though, I have a decent variety of things, and am going to be making the effort to eat at home for the whole week. I'll update as it happens.

"...which usually means underflavored, undersalted modern French cooking hidden under edible flowers and Mexican fruits."

- Jeffrey Steingarten, in reference to "California Cuisine".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So what are the parameters for this new no-shopping week?

I want to do it - if only to rid my pantry of stuff so I can fill it with more.And I think the timing is both propitious and challenging, a week before Thanksgiving an' all.....

Do we just do it and write about it or what? Are there more stringent rules (i.e., no planning/shopping ahead, etc?)

M: Too many free radicals. That's your problem. James Bond: "Free radicals," sir? M: Yes. They're toxins that destroy the body and the brain, caused by eating too much red meat and white bread and too many dry martinis! James Bond: Then I shall cut out the white bread, sir. -- Never Say Never Again

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sometime tomorrow we'll post a whole bunch of material to get the ball rolling. In short, the mission is "Don't shop now." The idea is not to go out and stockpile for a week. The idea is to skip shopping this week and work with whatever is in you refrigerator, freezer and pantry. Stay tuned...

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, Steven and group, for getting this going again. It seems like every time I open the freezer upstairs (side-by-side, something falls out and begs for a toe-banging dinner). I'm assuming the rules will allow for milk purchases, and bananas for Heidi (she won't eat her lunch if she doesn't have one) and yogurt, which is a vehicle for delivering medication.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...