Saturday, June 25, 2011

Navigating our way around the grocery store

One of the hardest things for us to get used to is buying enough groceries to last us a week all at one time. Now that we have a ginormous freezer that I don't have to hack the ice out of, we can buy meat in bulk and freeze it. Now that our fridge is cold we can rest assured that the milk will not go off prior to the sell by date. It's wonderful. It's no secret that I love to cook, but I have to admit that I was looking forward to making the occasional box of rice-a-roni instead of making my own rice pilaf from scratch. I had bought a box of Uncle Ben's mushroom wild rice pilaf just to have in the pantry. Last night we decided to have it with dinner and it was disgusting. I threw it away and Wes didn't object, which is unusual. It was just so salty. I bought some store-brand fresh soup and we both agreed it was gross. Guess that's it for me buying the occasional short cut! I feel we've had a lot of 'lesson learned!' experiences with food so far.

The bummer is that some of the staples I had in my cupboards in Dublin is really expensive here, like plain wild rice or white basmati rice. It's hard to find a nice variety of lentils. We might have to buy chorizo from a speciality shop. Fish (even frozen) is very expensive. I had a pretty good spice selection in Dublin, so replenishing them has been pricey. And, don't get me started on the ginormous boneless chicken breasts we had the other night. Pretty sure they were all roided up! On the flip side, they have a wide variety of Fage yogurt, which is Wes' favorite. Beer is super, duper cheap. There are black beans all over the place. The cold meat selection is more than just ham. I eat a lot less bread because I'm not stopping at the store on my way home to buy bread to have with dinner.

We have a decent selection of grocery stores around us, it's just a matter of finding which has the best deals on the freshest stuff. Wes gets jazzed about bonus cards and how much we save after each trip to the store. I like not having to worry about having too much to carry home!


  1. You can get lentils and basmati at an Indian grocery for normal prices, I promise!

  2. The boneless, skinless thighs are less 'roidy. I hate giant chicken breast. Icky.

    Find a yourself few nice ethnic stores.

  3. The best (cheapest) place to get spices is Asian stores. We get most of ours from Indian ones. Let me know if you want to hit a few with me. A lot of them are over this way (Rt 40W area and Columbia). That's also the best place to get your basmati rice.

    Chorizo is definitely a 'luxury' import here. I don't eat it nearly as much. We've been getting fish at Costco. Again, if you'd like to go with me and split some or just keep it in the freezer, let me know.

    I think the best lentil selections are probably at Whole Foods and/or places like Mom's Organic Market.

    As for the short cuts, yeah, you'll find a lot of stuff doesn't taste nearly as good as it once did. Some things I've got used to again, but I try not to!

  4. The salt is crazy in the States. My palate hasn't adjusted yet to the no salt policy in the UK and still add quite a bit of it to any pre-made UK food.

  5. I am so jealous of your grocery shopping. SO jealous, I tell you ;) I'm really surprised that anything is more expensive in the U.S. than here. Our grocery bill is insane. Oh, and Tesco is still out of black beans... sigh.

    If your local stores are too expensive, you should see if there's a Costco in the area. Again, there goes my jealousy.

    Happy Shopping!

  6. Thanks everyone! Chatting with friends last night, they suggested we get a membership to Costco. I think we may, just for the low cost of frozen seafood and organic milk!

    Carrie - I'm a huge fan of boneless, skinless chicken thighs. They're much cheaper and much more flavorful. And you're right, they do seem less 'roidy!

    Caryn - I may take you up on the offer to go to an Indian grocer near you. Right around our area here, we don't really have any ethnic grocers. And they would definitely be cheaper than Whole Foods.

    C - I think it may just seem more expensive to us because in our minds we're converting one to one, which is wrong. We bought $105 worth of groceries the other day (actually $140, but saved $35 with our club card). It was quite a bit of food. At first we were like, $105! But, converted to euro it would have been about 75 euro. We never could have bought that much food for 75 euro.

  7. We have a Costco membership but I'm learning that a lot of their 'deals' (not all of them) aren't always so great and actually cost you more. If you are really looking to save money and still eat well start reading your store circulars, get coupons when you can, and do your homework. We're starting to do this a lot more and are saving quite a bit. It's time consuming but a good time killer while you're job hunting! ;)

  8. If you want disgusting go buy some fish from Walmart. It's freakishly cheap, and I'm guessing whatever it is was once inside a fish, but it certainly isn't fish. And meat does seem very expensive. But just think how jazzed up you'll feel say at Thanksgiving when you can buy a turkey for 9 cents a pound.

    In our house we like beans. I just counted in our cupboard and we have 24 bags of dried beans. All different kinds. And that doesn't include lentils. We eat way more beans than most and much less meat than most. Beans make our natural inclination for being cheap seem like we have a quirky culinary palette. But we don't - we're just cheap!!! Yay us!!