Last week I noted how my sister and I have varying values and habits when it comes to groceries. The next day I went off and did my grocery shopping. I decided to record it because I thought it may be interesting to visit the topic of grocery shopping since everyone needs to do it. So here’s what $63 worth of groceries looks like after a visit to the most rocking, awesome, ethnic-oriented market in my area.
None of these items are organic, and it’s obvious from the stack of items at the back right that there were some non-essentials purchased, too. If we ignore the extra baked goods purchased, the total bill drops to $50. (The Medjool dates were at least on special; I have no excuses for the cookies and the baklava.) It was my craving for sweet fruit that brought us into the store anyway.
Lately I’ve been craving tropical fruit badly. I tried to console myself with some bananas, oranges and (unripe) mango at from Whole Foods, but that’s not what I really wanted. Fresh Farms is the one store where I know I can get my beloved apple bananas. (See those little bananas on the left? Those are apple bananas and they were not yet ripe enough to eat in that photo. Don’t be fooled by those “baby bananas” you may see in the grocery store. They are not the same! Only little bananas with the label “apple bananas” are the real thing. Let them get really ripe and then indulge. Ahhh!) I also had this intense craving for papaya and knew that I could find it there.
As much as I love this store I avoid it on the weekends because it is packed with people. The first time we visited was on a Saturday after lunch. Wow. I’ll be sure to never do that again. As an example of how crazy full of people it was that day, when I realized I needed to go back through the produce section to pick up something I had forgotten, I found it nearly impossible to do so. There were so many people and carts in the aisles that even when I ditched my cart I found it extremely difficult to move against the crush.
What makes Fresh Farms so awesome is that it is like a mosaic of all the various ethnic groups who call Chicago home. I know that if I need an ingredient for a Filipino/Korean/Polish/Croatian/Persian/Indian/Mexican/etc. dish I can find it here. They even sell Spotted Dick in a can. All this bounty does make for a very crowded store, though, so last Sunday when I turned to Bob and said “I want to go to the crazy store,” he was quite surprised, but he knew what I meant.
While the papaya is all gone by now, I’m still working my way through the rest of the fruit. The kiwi, mango, and apple bananas had to get a bit more ripe but they’re mostly ready now. The haul in the photo is more than the two of us can eat in a single week anyway.
I roasted the chicken that night and we had two meals from it last week (one with a serving of roasted broccoli on the side), plus extra bits that were frozen as a great addition to some fried rice, and a carcass that will make some tasty stock. One of the three lamb shoulder chops was put in the freezer and the other two were broiled for another dinner, served with some Indian-spiced, sautéed okra on the side. One of the zucchini went into a frittata (along with some leftover mushrooms, onion, and linguine), and one of the red peppers was cut up and taken to work as a snack. I intend to make the cabbage into a small batch of sauerkraut some time this week (or I may just sauté it fresh), and use the scallions and yellow pepper in that batch of fried rice that I’ll likely cook for dinner tonight. (Note to self: take the chicken meat out of the freezer.)
I’ll still need to stop at a grocery store today to pick up coffee and a few other odds and ends, but I’m well set for at least a few more meals with the bits I haven’t used from this haul and things I have in the freezer (such as some fish and half of a Lesna or Forest Sausage from the Polish deli). Two things I have in abundance here at home: chard from the low tunnel, and eggs from the hens. But that last item merits its own post.
What are you cooking up this week? How does your grocery bill compare?