Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Pantry

I admit, I've never understood people that hate to go to the grocery store. I mean, I see things to hate about the act (lugging all of the bags in and paying through the nose for it come to mind), but I love the endless possibilities of a grocery trip.

I used to shop willy-nilly (the technical term), picking whatever I wished with no regard to planning whole meals or anything like that. Because of this, I often had to go to the store several times in one week to get even the most mediocre of meals thrown together. I also did the majority of my shopping at our local fancy-dan grocery: The Fresh Market. Ah, The Fresh Market. It is warm, no harsh fluorescence, and soothing classical music is piped in. There is free coffee. The selection--be it cheese, meat, produce, candy--cannot be beat. But the prices. Oy.

So, with my new thrifty mindset (I'm really trying here), I've started planning. And really planning, it usually takes me a good couple of hours of sifting through cookbooks, magazines, and my cute recipe box to pick out what will be on the menu for the next week, then I have to make my ridiculous list. And yes, I am the first to admit that it is ridiculous. I split it up according to sections of the grocery store, so I never have to double back. This makes a lot of sense, no? But I get teased, even by the checkers. Sigh.

Anyway, the point I am trying to arrive at is that for the first time in a long time I have a well-appointed pantry. I have old standbys that I always have on hand, I have a good assortment of spices, I am generally well prepared for the repeat offenders in my culinary line-up. Most of the time I only buy meat, produce, and dairy at the market, with a few cooking supplies or canned goods to replenish the stock.

So, I thought that every few days or so I would talk about one or two of my pantry staples. I won't get too long winded, and I'm not going to state the obvious (we all have eggs, right?). But these are a few ingredients that my pantry feels indecent without:

Swanson Organic Chicken Stock

Yes, in a perfect world I have a constant supply of homemade chicken stock at my disposal, but in reality...no. That's not to say I don't ever make stock, in fact, I just popped two quarts of seafood stock in the freezer last week. But I use chicken stock a lot, a splash here, a cup there, etc. So, after spending too much on attractively packaged stock at the aforementioned fancy-dan market, I sampled this new offering at my trusty Food City. It is cheaper, certified Organic, and tastes just as good as the more expensive brand. Makes me a happy girl, it does.

I believe we are going out to dinner tonight (riding high on Christmas gift certificates), so I'm not sure if there will be a dinner entry this evening. I am, however, planning to post up a favorite vegetarian recipe for my silly non-meat-eating friends.

Mrs. C.

3 comments:

whyiautumn said...

Dude, your list is smart. My sister took it a step further and mapped out her grocery store, then set up an Excel spreadsheet with the different aisles on it, and she puts what she needs in the correct aisle.

Marianne said...

And now your sister is my HERO! I feel the need to step up my compulsion a bit.

Rebecca said...

It's so nice to see that somebody else does their list the same way I do! (translation: MAybe I'm not insane!) I used to use a preformatted list I created on my computer where I just check off the things I need but I am out of ink. I would just go buy more, but there's no food at Office Depot.