My most recent trip to the super market shed some of the anxiety I have had when shopping for nutritious food. I entered Super One on Arrowhead road, grabbed a cart and ignored the assault that generally happens as I passed the sale goods piled high in open bins. Past the PopTarts, Chips, meal in a box, crackers, sweetened juices, canned soups, and on and on, and then I saw oatmeal on sale. Ahh, made it to the produce section to check out prices. Finding higher prices than I can buy elsewhere I began the process to shop for our cupboards at home. One hundred eleven dollars later the only non food item I bought were paper napkins. For a few months prior I had gradually transformed my outlook on supermarkets and my purchases. During this foray I became a super market snob.
Like a chronic coupon clipper piecing together a meal plan I shopped for the deals. I also refused to purchase higher priced items when I could buy those same on my way home at a second market. The irony is the second market is upscale and will have many lower priced meats, dressings and produce. The key to savings is to know what the market prices are. To know this I will shop no less than three times per week. That’s more times than the average American goes out to eat.
The Hamburger Helpering of Americans has led to exhorbitant weight gains. Diet claims to lose weight sell magazines in the check out lane. Super One 04/01/2014
And living in Duluth Minnesota, going out to eat is dismal. Having a breakfast at a diner is a big whoop. On the other hand eating lunch or dinner out is just not on our radar. The corporate fare is generic. All the fast food we have come to loathe and Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Noodles. While the local food is good it comes with a price, no cheap eats in Duluth. We love BlackWater the Martini Bar. Chester Creek Cafe and the Duluth Grill do well. So, the draw to eat out is just not there when we shop like a snob. We prepare our meals at home most days. In the summer we cook over a wood fire outdoors. This is Northern Minnesota.
At the beginning of the check out lane I’ve just finished unloading my cart. I ask the cashier to do me a favor and apply the internet coupon deals which she gladly obliges. With in store mark downs and the internet coupon I save 14%. That’s just less than $19. What do the numbers mean to a snob? A super market snob is shopping for dry goods, fresh goods and frozen goods. These goods are for the day, week and month.
The conveyor belt transports my goods to be scanned and bagged. Dry goods, canned Northern Beans, cashews, peanuts, almonds, raisins, honey, peanut butter, lime juice, cranberry juice,L&P worcestershire,two types of Berio olive oil, oatmeal and one pack of powdered donuts. Fresh goods, a white onion, 5 lb red potatoes, clove of garlic. Frozen goods and dairy, hard parmesan wedge, 2 cracker barrel cheese, 6 Fage yogurt,2 packages boneless chicken breast, 1 lb ground chicken, 3 lb ground breakfast turkey sausage and 4 frozen bread loaves.
The super market snob can’t wait to bite into the powered donuts so I tuck these into my breast pocket. First thing I do is read the nutrition label when I am settled into my car seat. Doing the math there are 8 donuts, 250 calories per serving and two servings per container. Honest to god I have up to this day eaten dozens of packages and never read this label. True, I habitually snaked on two packages at once but, I also was bike commuting 25 miles a day. By the numbers 2 packages is 1000 calories. Super market snob instantly saw the light of day sitting there with powdered donuts and the options that lay ahead. Should I down them? Throw them away? Messy me will leave powder on my face and my wife will know I’ve strayed from my course to eat better. Asking myself these questions are all part of the game. Settling on the option to eat two powdery gobs, 125 calories and seal the package for another day. That was two days ago. I’ve got 5 donuts left. The snob could not have picked a better non-food than these donuts. The symbolism is too much. What I crave is no better or less than the packaged sugar, sodium and fat that Americans crave. By the numbers here is what one package of powered donuts contain. 500 calories, 36% total fat of Daily Value, 60% saturated fat DV, 16% Cholesterol DV, 24% Sodium DV, 22% Carbohydrate DV, Sugars 32 grams, Protein 6 grams. A token roll of donuts when eaten whole did not compute because I never gave a second thought about my craving.
A journey into super market snobbery is an event to be enjoyed with caution and preparedness. In some ways a grocery is like a city in that you have to keep yours eyes wide open. So imagine the produce section is like your finest parks. The cereal aisle is like the grubby parched land during a drought. The dairy section is like the rolling wooded countryside. The chip and soda aisles are like the fake sentiment of Super Bowl commercials with the promise that everything will be alright. The dry and frozen aisle of packaged meals are like the suburban strips we see in thousands of American towns and cities. Corporations are what’s for dinner tonight in many homes. Supermarket snob might be the best thing I can do for myself and family. At least I know what’s for dinner in our house tonight.
Don’t judge me before taking a look at my shopping list and further postings which round out our cupboards. I will leave you with a recipe for Pizza which I will be making as soon as I sign off here.
One pound frozen bread dough –cost $1–thaw for half hour on counter top the day before. Cut dough into 4 equal pieces. Place on dinner plate and cover with clear plastic wrap. Store in refridgerator for up to 48 hours. Dough will rise. When ready to bake. Flatten covered dough, unwrap clear wrap, flour countertop and hands. Press and spread each piece. When sufficiently formed each piece is about 6-8 inches in diameter. Put on Pizza stone or pizza pan. Set oven temp to 400 degrees F
Prepare Toppings- slice and chop with sharp knife
Todays toppings are 2 0z per topping per pizza –Portebello mushrooms, green peppers, onion, garlic to taste–cost $2.75-$3
Ragu sauce- spoon enough to cover to edge of crust and shred hard parmesan cheese—cost —$1
Rosemary and Thyme cut from live plants growing at home–cost– free–these plants bought spring 2013
Sprinkle toppings and cook on pizza stone for 13 minutes or tan crust
Total cost rounding up– $5 for fresh and good tasting
Feeds 4 individual zaaaaa
Won’t go into calories and blah blah. Will say most frozen pizzas are regularly in the $4 -$8 range. Dominoes delivers for $5 plus tax and tip. Homemade and fresh is always going to be better than frozen.
Think when you visit the store next time. The appeal of buying into the corporate,packaged and processed food chain is a sort of snob too. It’s what the food scientist have been creating for decades. The monster American food consumer to eat American stuff grown and packaged from our birth to grave. So all we do is pop in, spoon out, fill up, drive in and balloon out. This sort of snob you won’t find here. Stay tuned for good recipes and more choice at the supermarket.