Some weeks I feel like I’m spending every free moment thinking about what to feed my family.
Whether I’m physically going to the grocery store, writing lists for the grocery store, looking up recipes (“healthy foods that toddlers love”) or actually preparing, serving and eating the food—it’s on my mind constantly. How domestic am I? And obviously I’m trying to keep it interesting, healthy and within our budget.
I always try to get everything I possibly can for the week in one shop (oh to dream!) because that return trip always means temptation. I also tend to be much more sensible at the beginning of the week, but if I have to go back for, say, chicken or dill or toilet paper, I’ll walk out with another $30 worth of groceries. And one slip begets another and before you know it I’ve blown the food, gas, and play budget–and possibly other budgets–all on food.
I have become so weary of this return shop, that I often put off replacing anything that runs out mid-week. If I run out of fresh proteins, I dig around for seeds and nuts and dried grains and go veggie (and hope Leni will eat it!). The worst is those weeks you run out of like 8 big ticket, but pretty essential items (which are often not food at all) and you’re like, what do I need more, laundry detergent or cooking oil? Essentially, you get stuck in these weird conundrums like choosing between clean clothes and the ingredient you use in every other recipe.
I am trying very hard to do all of my shopping at Freshco or No Frills these days, but Loblaws is so enticing, what with their delicious Montreal style bagels and glorious array of colourful produce. It’s also directly across the street from Freshco and has a Joe Fresh, which makes it very hard not to, at least, you know, take a quick peek. And don’t even get me started on all the lovely Farmer’s Markets and boutique organic grocers that have popped up nearby. Sigh.
The thing about food is that, well, presumably you’re eating it so, ahem, inevitably you’re going to have to wrangle up some more. And because we’re not hunters and gatherers, typically that means spending some cash money.
I know that people do this with much less than we have and with many more mouths to feed. The thing is, I also really love to eat and want to provide food for my family that is healthy and delicious and surprising on occasion, you know? Is this unrealistic? Maybe I need to take a page from the ‘60s and start making things like tuna casseroles and meatloaf. At least there would be leftovers for Jose to take for lunch.
I’m pretty much just bringing home the same-ish ingredients every week without even glancing at the other million things I could be trying. Mostly out of habit, partly because I don’t know what the heck to do with Romanescu or pork cheek and then of course the budgetary stuff plays a part too. I can’t retrofit my pantry any time I decide to try a new recipe, sadly.
I feel like these problems are a lot more grown up then I feel. I’ll think I’ve figured it out and then I somehow run out of food by Thursday again. What’s that all about?