Wednesday, February 24, 2010

How to Economize on Food

It's tax season. In New York State, it's always tax season, but now is the double whammy, county property taxes (as opposed to school property taxes which are due in the fall, to the tune of $5K) along with income tax season. I could rant about taxes, but that is not the purpose of my blog. Instead, I will talk about how I pinch pennies to pay those damnable taxes. After all, everyone has to economize at some point.

I used to disdain stores like Aldi and Price Rite. Inferior quality, low-brow, ghetto, I thought. Then Priscilla beat me about the head and shoulders until I came to my senses. There is nothing wrong with going to the low-rent grocery store to buy basics. But that is it. Don't be distracted by cheap meat or frozen food. By basics, I mean eggs, sugar, oil, milk, cream cheese, sour cream, bacon, etc. The prices are significantly lower than stores like my favorite, Wegmans.

In the summer, I go to farmer's markets where the produce is better than anything you can get in a store. That's a no-brainer, I'm sure you all do that. Or at least you should. And if you don't, I will think you are foolish, or worse. And we all know we don't want that.

The other great place to grocery shop is at small, ethnic markets. The chinese grocery is great for buying really fresh produce in the winter. A bunch of cilantro will cost $1.99 at the big grocery, and .50 at the Chinese store. They also have the most wonderful mangos, atulfo, or champagne mangos. Weggies sells these beauties occasionally for $3.00 a piece. I buy a case (because my kids will inhale them) for $12.00.

I go to the Amish store for bulk items like the five different kinds of flour I told you must have. (I think I have more than that, but you mere mortals can content yourself with five.  It is good to have a freezer to store all this bulk flour in because it doesn't get bugs in it from sitting.

Oh Lord, I can't finish imparting my wisdom right now, those children think they need to do their homework. More later...


Anonymous said...

Where's the Amish store?

The Mendon Foodie said...

The Amish store is in Seneca Falls. It is called Sauders. They don't have a webpage. Because they're Amish! Ok, they're Mennonite, but you get the picture. I can't seem to post a link because of this stupid loaner mac I'm using since my laptop was stolen, but google it to get the address. Or call me, even though I have no idea who you might be.

TexasHeather said...

I am just happy you can get more than one kind of mango, although I have no idea what a champagne mango is.

We have at least 3 varieties here and I am so not looking forward to our return to the US when we'll be lucky to get a single decent one.

Maybe we should look at moving...

adrienne said...

I keep hearing that I'm really missing something not going to the ethnic grocery stores. If you're saying it, too, it must be true.

PK said...

I am June's friend Priscilla - and have tried my best to get June to stop shopping at Wegman's so that she can buy good food for less and thus have some extra dollars to waste on my favorite cheap champagne and boxed wine. So a couple of things:

1) Aldi's is owned by the same brothers who own Trader Joes - so they are using the same suppliers. Aldi's is all about quality and value. You can get more than just the basics there, but if you are buying processed and/or frozen foods - to quote June - "You are an idiot and should not be allowed to serve dinner."

2) " Indian" stores offer the best quality and prices for Yogurt, Tea, lemons and limes (4 four a dollars versus $69 a pop and Wegman's), nuts, SPICES and all sorts of beans (ie dal). Each time I go into one of these stores I try something new, too - like a weird vegetable. Usually the proprietors are really helpful in explaining what something is and suggesting how to cook it.

3) Both "Indian" and Asian food markets have the BEST vegetables. June needs to cook and eat more vegetables and the best bargins in town are the vegetables at these stores. Again, the proprietors always have great suggestions and cookbooks help, too.

4) Notice that June did not mention coupons....that's because most coupons are for processed food and you know you shouldn't go there - or at least publically admit to it. The exception to this rule is coupons for Breyer's ice cream.

5. Wegman's is still the best place to buy all the stuff you can't get elsewhere like amazing bread, fancy cheese and fennel root.

6. If June hasn't had a cup of coffee when we drive to the public market (ie the local Rochester Farmer's market) at 5:30am, she is really, really scarey. And it may be safer for everyone else to shop at Wegman's.

The Mendon Foodie said...

Priscilla is right about everything, except the veggie part. I cook and force my kids to eat veggies every day. PK just cooks abnormally large amounts of veggies, like 10 servings a day. She usually serves three kinds of veggies for dinner plus salad. I serve one kind plus salad.