I also agree that the first day was a success. We didn’t have a plan (surprise surprise), but we managed to collectively and independently (at one point I had no idea where STA was in the store) stay mostly within our parameters. I did “fail” by picking up some Hormel ham. But I also bought some Holy Land hummus and pita–if you look hard enough, Oxendale’s does have some local products that are really good.
One interesting thing that I noticed, or was reminded of, about myself: I don’t like to shop. I tend to get a little overwhelmed and start to panic. Too many, yet not enough, food ideas come to mind and I lose my ability to focus and pick just one thing. That started to happen as I was thinking about what I wanted for lunch, and that’s why I picked up the Hormel Ham instead of thinking it through. While it may seem like I am rambling on (and perhaps revealing too many of my quirks), I think this admission is important for why I am interested in this project. I agree with STA that making smarter choices (ones in which we seriously consider where our food comes from and how it gets to us) is important. But before I even get to that point, I want to change my habits and my approach to shopping altogether. I want to find a way to enjoy it and not make it so stressful. I want to learn how to more readily (and without having to think too much) make choices that are healthy and responsible and that make me feel good. The nerdy ethicist in me really wants to unpack the idea of “good” right now, but I will restrain myself. Instead, let me return to a few more thoughts about the major success (with minor failures) of our trip today.
- We need a plan. I am sure STA is reading this and grimacing; he hates plans. Even more than plans, he hates when I suggest that we need a plan. Oh well. In this case, I think we need a little bit (just a little bit, mind you) of a plan so that we don’t forget key items, like milk or bread for the kids’ lunches, and then have to take another trip to the store later in the day.
- We should buy our vegetables at a co-op. STA mentioned this in his post too. One main focus of my mine is to increase my vegetable intake (it’s hard to believe that I used to eat mostly fruits and vegetables). I strongly prefer that those vegetables are local and buying them at a co-op seems to be one of easiest ways to ensure this.
- We could also buy our fruits and vegetables at a farmer’s market. In theory, I have always loved the idea of going to farmer’s markets and buying most of the food that I need. Somehow, it never seems to work out so easily. I am convinced that it is because I just don’t know how to shop effectively or productively at these markets. I don’t like to haggle. I also don’t like crowds. And, I don’t always know how to tell which vegetable to pick–is it ripe? under ripe? too ripe? STA, let me know if you can find an app for this!
aside: Many years ago, before we had kids, I used to love to cook. I can’t remember when or for how long I did this, but for some time I experimented with a different vegetable each week. While I can’t remember all of the vegetables I tried, I do remember learning to really love leeks (which I hadn’t heard of prior to my experiment) and sweet potatoes (which I knew about before, but only as a decidedly inferior form of potatoes to begrudgingly eat at a relative’s Thanksgiving dinner). It seems to me that in order to enjoy eating again, it might be helpful to not only think about where my food comes from or how it got to my table, but to learn a little more about what it is–is it really a vegetable, or is it merely a fruit that thinks of itself as a vegetable? When is it in season? What should I eat (and drink) with it?
Okay, that’s enough for tonight. I’m sure that as this experiment progresses, I will come up with many things to add to this list. One last thing: as I was quickly reviewing this post, I had an idea (STA, this is for you). I think it might be helpful to do some posts, or create a page (I think I like the page idea better) with useful links–to local stores we visit or want to try, to helpful resources about food, etc. Not only could this serve as a useful resource for our many readers (ha!), but it could be a great way for us to archive our process and to get suggestions for our own future store visits.