G43: Groceries

Suddenly I found it much simpler. That’s a lie. It really wasn’t sudden, it has taken years and yet it now feels so elementary I can’t believe it.

Let me back up, I bought a bunch of jars to store my food sixteen years ago. I have used these jars and added to them with the free jars from spaghetti sauce with the lids painted black. I then added some plastic ones to the mix several years ago when I was trying to organize a group living situation (where we have all moved onto other things).

Last year I started giving myself a ‘pounding’ each month. I would go to the bulk food section and buy legumes, beans, nuts in one pound portions. This year my plan was to make cloth bags and continue this practice. That was before I started reading all of the predictions of peak oil, biofuels and greed pushing prices up. According to Casaubon’s Book, the situation is only getting worse with some needing to make the choice between eating and heating. My plan changed to calculating buying enough for the year.

Full disclosure means I confess that perfectionism has hobbled me for 7 weeks. First, I gave my local Henry’s bulk food manager a list of food I buy with the directive to let me know where each legume, grain, bean and nut is grown. He went on vacation, then gave me the list with assurances that the majority comes from California or the West Coast. Then I found Jimbo’s and more organic products. Where to buy? Next, my quest was to find free storage containers that were not plastic. I got one large jar from my son’s restaurant. He balked when I asked for a dozen more. They simply don’t go through that many olives or marichino cherries. Lastly, I didn’t have the cloth bags, so I didn’t want to go get my bulk order. Finally, the perfectionism became stupid.

Friday night I finally sewed six fabric bags. Let me preface this by saying that I bought this bolt of fabric (<$20) at JoAnn’s Fabric, Phoenix in 2001. I kept thinking I would make sheer curtains and I never did. Now, seven years later I finally decided to bust out the sewing machine and get busy. I made the bags and found the plastic jars in my shed (filled with cotton balls, q-tips, scrubbies, band-aids, etc.) and a large plastic bin ($.50) at the thrift store. Though I still lack some storage to do what I would prefer, but I believe I am getting there.

Sharon is offering an online course on storage, but I don’t have the income. Again, I think I will just keep moving ahead and learn as I go. If nothing else, I am happy to think I have most all the bulk food I will need for the year and Chile will be please with my Re-think It use of found objects, long after her challenge is over.

Here’s another thing. I read some time ago about using a personal wire basket for grocery shopping. I thought it was a great idea and was trying to figure out how I might pull this off without buying anything. Then it occurred to me I could simply use my laundry basket, the one I got at the thrift store right before Thanksgiving ($4).

Can I tell you how incredibly easy it was to grocery shop this weekend? I went to the grocery store with my laundry basket, bags and list of bulk foods. I went straight to the bins and filled my bags and put them into the basket. I had to use the twist ties as I hadn’t sewn on ties or pre-marked the bags for content, as I’d initially planned. But, the whole thing just made me grin at the checkout, very soon after I’d entered.

Then on Sunday I went to the Farmer’s Market for the vegetables and fruit for the week. I did get a treat of locally made pumpkin bread wrapped in cling wrap. But, all in all I see my grocery shopping getting more simple. Without packaged goods, convenience foods, paper products, toiletries or cleaning products – It’s. Simply. Food.


Chile said...

Hey, you're allowing comments!

Love the bags. Will you be storing the food in them for the long-term or transferring it to something more bug-proof? For large quantities, we use 5 gallong plastic buckets rescued from the bakery.

katecontinued said...

I won't be storing in the bags. These will be just for transporting bulk. Good tip about the bakery. I realized after I wrote the post that I needn't reserve myself to my son's restaurant only. I really want the glass with the metal lids. It is weird, but I haven't like plastic for years. On the other hand - perfectionism is a killer.

Yes, I decided to open this up to comments as an experiment. I really would like to have registered commenters. We shall see.