Irrational Grocery Shopping

Today’s post comes from Renee in North Dakota

We have had really bad weather the past two weeks. It started out with 14 inches of snow with tempestuous winds, and now we are dealing with really cold temperatures and wind chills as low as -35. I don’t have such a hard time getting around, although I find I am more fatigued than usual at the end of the day. Husband has a harder time of it, since he has to drive 100 miles north every Tuesday to work on the Fort Berthold Reservation.  The road there is curvy and remote, and fills in easily with snow the minute the wind gets above 20 mph.  The water pipes have all frozen up in the small trailer the tribe provides for him to stay in when he is there.  He has been quite stressed, even when he gets back home, and he is driving me crazy with unnecessary grocery purchases and compulsive baking of rye bread.

I would describe his mood as panicky, and he is even more fussy and particular than usual. He acknowledges how silly he is being.  This is also the time of year when our freezers are all full of this year’s garden produce, and our goal must be to eat out of the freezers so that there is room for more produce next fall. You can see from the photos that we have very little room in the freezers  for more food. I admit that two people do not need to have three freezers (four if you include the freezer that is part of the fridge in the basement. I admit it, we have two fridges, too).  I should add that we gave away pounds and pounds of produce this summer, and we still had too much to put up. The minute we take something out of the freezers, it seems we put more in because we bought bulk ground round, or we baked, or we made too much soup. I refuse to disclose how much butter I bought for Christmas baking. We needn’t discuss that here, but I admit it is substantial. After all, Family Fare had Land O’ Lakes butter on sale for $3.00 a pound!

Husband stored the beets from our garden in coolers packed in sawdust. He decided yesterday that we needed to use the beets, and he wanted to roast them. I love roasted beets, and would be content to eat them, all by themselves, with sour cream and butter. Husband insisted that we had to have them with salmon fillets and russet potatoes. That meant buying salmon. I reminded him we had good sea bass in the freezer, so why buy more fish. He insisted, since that was just how it had to be to fulfill his notion of how to serve the beets. Then he double checked  everything I told him we needed to buy at the store.

When we got to the grocery store, he said that since we had too much cheddar cheese in the fridge, he was going to get some apples so he could have cheese and apples. He insisted they had to be Haralson apples.  There were no Haralson apples to be had, and he wouldn’t consider any other apple. He noticed that the pears looked good, so he decided to get pears, which meant we had to buy Brie, because that is what you are supposed to eat with pears. Now we have too much cheddar as well as Brie. We arrived home with Brie and salmon, and announced he was too tired to cook.  He had microwave popcorn for supper. Then he mixed up a rye sponge, and went to bed.  We’re glad we have a strong marriage.

The high temperatures this week are predicted to range from 4 to -9.  I don’t want to think about what the wind chills will be.  We certainly have enough food to eat. We won’t starve. I just hope the freezers don’t break down.

What’s in your freezer?  

 

98 thoughts on “Irrational Grocery Shopping”

  1. Oh my I empathize, though I can’t say it is my husband who buys. I do more of it. I am interested in that storage of beets. I end up peeling, curbing and blanching all of mine before I freeze them. As for your freezers going out, we have ours in the car shed and in the winter I don’t think we would even need to use electricity for it. Haha. Hope you stay warm there, I keep worrying about the grandson walking to the bus stop in this cold.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Husband says the beets keep better in sawdust because they don’t lose moisture and are in an evironment that is stable in terms of humidity and teperature. I don’t think he really knows why it works.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. I would have thought the partridge would be cooked with the pear sauce, as it is traditionallly perched in the pear tree. The goose would be too busy a-laying to be cooked with pear sauce.

          Happy birthday, Wes!

          Liked by 4 people

  2. I once met a man, a retired soldier, who talked about food incessantly. Jim had several large freezers in his basement, plus several huge food storage racks of the type used by supermarkets. He once said that if worse came to worse, he and his wife could live five years eating the food they had stored in the basement.

    It took time for me to notice how obsessed with food he was. Every conversation eventually migrated to that topic. A typical comment was something like, “Yesterday I plucked and processed 40 chickens.”

    Jim was not a reflective man, and he was spooked whenever we asked about his former life (one tour of duty in Korea, three tours in Vietnam). Then one day he mentioned that he and a buddy had been trapped behind Chinese lines in Korea, moving clandestinely for five days while trying to get back to land occupied by US forces. For five days they had nothing to eat but grass. Jim wouldn’t say so, but I figured that was the key to his obsession with food.

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    1. My roommate’s father was a survivor of the Santo Tomas interment camp. He turned one of the bedrooms of their house into a pantry, so that there would always be food, and every year on liberation day he had a big lobster and steak dinner to celebrate not starving to death.

      Liked by 7 people

      1. We had relatives in Hamburg, Germany who, after the Second World War, would really over-butter their bread, saying that they did it because they never wanted to be hungry again.

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    2. My grandparents were a bit like that. Grandma could have run a small country or a chef’s kitchen–she could organize and execute like an efficient dictator. She was alway thinking about what was in the freezer and the canning closet. I asked her about it once. She said that during the Great Depression a day arrived when she had no meat to serve the family of ten. She had to butcher a “laying hen” (chicken which laid eggs) which frightened her terribly. Butchering a laying hen meant her future chicken flock would be smaller in the future. That caused her to feel so vulnerable about future food.

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  3. I am an organizational disaster…the chest freezer in the basement is a disarray of very old forgotten containers of I don’t know what…it’s been years since I cleaned it out (on the bucket list so no one else has to do it). If pushed to the wall I would have to admit to some road kill birds I was saving to paint…30 or so years ago…plus more recent items like chickens the dog killed but I captured before she at them for myself. I just might get to cleaning it out this winter…

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    1. Isn’t it amazing how we can swear we will know what we put in the freezer, so we don’t bother to label anything, and then find we have no idea what we have.

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        1. That is a nice phrase: “voyage to the bottom of the freezer.” It fits with my notion that digging down into a freezer is just like any archaeological dig that exposes stuff at the surface that was recently deposited but then goes deeper, going back further and further in time.

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  4. In the kitchen freezer, lots of leftovers, nuts, cheese sticks, spaghetti sauce, and a wide variety of items too numerous to mention. In the basement freezer, all of our bulk buys from Costco plus other miscellany. Pretty mundane. We freeze some fresh veggies from summer time, but nothing like Renee’s output. Our veggies are bought at the farmers market or gifted by friends.

    Chris in O-town

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  5. Our small chest freezer is invariably crammed to the top. In past years, we froze tomatoes and tomato sauce, but decided this year to save the space by canning those things. There are many bags of strawberries and blueberries we picked and we had a bumper crop of basil this year, so there are about three dozen jars of pesto. We’re going to have to ease up on the pesto next year.
    At the bottom of the freezer is my pack of negatives from a 1904 trip through Europe. They are on nitrocellulose stock and highly flammable, hence the freezer.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I lived two summers with an odd couple that was especially odd in terms of food. The husband was a millionaire, only he didn’t acknowledge that and behaved most of the time like he didn’t have enough money to buy weekly groceries. His wife was odder. I always thought Sari was weird enough that she could have been institutionalized if anyone ever looked at her carefully enough.

    These two people had eating habits I’ve never seen before or since. Sari would cook some strange concoction of her own invention. Not surprisingly, there were leftovers. Because they both were tight with money, the leftovers were carefully labeled and put in the fridge. And never touched again. For months. Many months.

    I learned things about leftovers I had never hoped to learn. I can tell you that leftovers of a certain age will develop a fuzzy off-white mold. When they have aged a few more months, that fuzz develops many stems that reach upward like the hair on a big dog, and then the stems begin taking on colors. I never mastered the science well enough to predict the colors, but it seemed that if you left something carefully packaged in the back of a fridge long enough it would usually sprout spores in blue, green or bright orange. Sari’s refrigerator was a biological experiment running madly out of control.

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  7. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    We are in AZ now, and there is just some meat we purchased at Costco that should last us for the next 6 weeks. (Arizona has no German/Czech/Dutch butcher shops like the Midwest. The closest one is 60 miles away in Payson. The meat here from grocery stores just is not of great quality). There are also several tamales in plastic which we may eat for lunch.

    In the MN freezer is Fareway meat from my last trip to the Iowa Faraway store where I purchase meat in bulk. The other day when we were discussing PJ’s expensive 5 pound pork roast with the rind on it, I suggested this grocery store in Owatonna as a possible source. If you are in Southern MN or Iowa and near a Fareway store, stock up!

    When I was a kid, my parent’s giant chest freezer was stocked full of stuff, and I suspect resembled what Cynthia described in her freezer. I was alway suspicious, and a little phobic about that freezer and its contents. There could have been a body in there, the thing was so large!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wifi in the waiting room.
    I grew up in a home that was a larder by late fall. Basement where mama put it all in jars. Huge freezer stocked full. Canned meat in jars in basement. Potato bin. Root crops in sand in by red wing crocks. My mother only canned beets. She did not keep them whole. There was something she kept in sawdust, carrots maybe. I remember it was a big deal that the sawdust was dry. But my mother had lots of things wrong. It took me awhile in college penury years early in our marriage to live “hand to mouth” as my mother described such away of life. Later we got a small freezer and bought a quarter of beef. But sandy could not adjust to planning meals and to thaw them ahead of time or thing about ways to use all the meat. I was a very young teacher and trying to learn how to teach and not yet cooking.
    I envy the European style of visiting the shops and market for fresh every day. Either that or have a stocked larder.
    Our freezer now is about 1/4 full of ice packs of various kinds I use on my back, neck, and wrists/hands.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My parents built a house (long ago) and had a couple rooms in the basement for various root cellar storage. I think they had two rooms because different crops need different temperature and/or humidity levels. Lots of squash, apples, carrots, onions, beets, potatoes…Plus my mom canned all sorts of things for our family of 6 but also for her sister’s family of 6 (and they lived in Illinois, not MN). The freezer was also well stocked. I wish they made houses with root cellars now. I can’t buy more than a few pounds of potatoes at a time because they are too warm in our basement.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’ve always wanted a root cellar…two would be even better. My cousins in Norway have a rather large “cool room” in their basement with controlled temps. That would serve as a root cellar…I covet one of them as well.

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    1. Dr. Was in middle of a surgery ahead of hers and suddenly got violently ill. He did manage to finish but then they had to hydrate him. Of course the OR is all contaminated. Sandy’s pre-op was 24 days ago. Back to square one but all we can do is laugh.

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      1. Thank you so much! I’m excited and nervous all at once. We’re in Lancaster, PA. We usually do not get much snow, but when we do, it doesn’t seem like anyone knows how to plow the streets.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. They know how to plow the streets here in my ND town, but do a minimal job and just hope it melts because they don’t like to pay for snow removal.

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        2. No need for being nervous! Welcome. I have been to Lancaster and Iam desconded from many Penn Dutch and Frieslanders there. Family name is Hammacher.

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        3. My family is originally from Johnstown, PA, but I will say I have found quite a few people with that name around here!

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  9. Nice job, Renee. Don’t worry about your freezer quitting. You’re living in a large walk-out freezer for the foreseeable future.

    Our freezer is the lower third of our “huge American refrigerator” (as my sister refers to it) but neither are large enough to comfortably accommodate the amount of cooking I do, so both are perpetually filled to the brim.

    Current freezer content: 2 homemade Danish leverpostej (for Christmas, don’tcha know!), 3 packages of venison steaks (from a hunter friend), 4 packages of ground pork, a pork tenderloin, and a stewing hen (all from a friend’s farm), large bag of frozen shrimp, several packages of nuts, a couple of packages of beef suet, a frozen flatbread pizza, a plastic container of homemade dog food, and a package of English muffins! (Husband is such a creature of habit and apparently lives in mortal fear of waking up one morning without an English muffin in the house.) There’s also bag of rhubarb mush and three raspberry popsicles. Oh, there’s also two packages of Amy’s Thai Red Curry, husband’s spontaneous buy to cover the eventuality of me asking him to cook dinner one night.

    I can relate to Renee’s wish to use up what’s already in the larder before adding to it, but it seems impossible to do. Husband just went off to the dentist, and on the way home he’ll swing by Aldi. I’m bracing myself for what he’ll come home with in addition to the items I had on the list. Hopefully it’s not something that requires freezer space.

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  10. I once spent two days as a guest of a couple living in the Judith Basin of Montana. Johnny was an outdoor writer and part-time guide. When he married Eileen, they were dirt-poor. Since John hunted a lot, they had no shortage of meat. Early in their marriage they considered grocery store meat a foolish luxury. They’d pay for some vegetables and things like rice, but never meat. They had a huge freezer filled with wild game. Unlike some folks, John and Eileen didn’t lose track of meat and throw it away after it had been around too long. The problem they had was keeping track of what they had in stock. One shortcut they invented was giving names to the critters in the freezer. That made it easier to keep on top of what was in the freezer. John: “I was thinking maybe we could eat some Harvey tonight.” (Harvey was a mule deer, or had been.) Eileen: “I’ve already defrosted Freddy.” (Freddy was a Canada goose.)

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  11. Kt is interesting to watch people shopping right before a big storm. They do seem to assume they will not lose electricity, such as to the microwave. In the early years we lived on the North Shore we would power a few times a year, sometimes for days.

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  12. There is not much of interest in my freezer, except a lot of frost in the basement freezer. The door got left open overnight this summer and now I will have to defrost sometime this winter. There’s some sandwich bread from new french bakery, some apple cider, some black currants, and some meat from Costco. Yawn.

    We used to have a huge chest freezer and I downsized to a smaller upright. It’s much easier to keep track of stuff now. The chest freezer was so deep that I had to hang over the edge to clean the bottom of it when I was defrosting it. I always found stuff buried in there that was questionable. It’s not as exciting now but a lot easier to deal with.

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  13. Several 1# packages of Canadian bacon (on sale at 2 for $4), 2# turkey lunchmeat, 2 chicken breasts, 1# bacon, the last of the pear sauce and raspberries that we DID bring with us when moving; frozen veggies (which I’ve learned to keep on the door so I can find them), 1 pizza, ice cream, popcorn, coffee, butter, grated parmesan, and a quart of duck stock.

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  14. I have lots of raspberries in the freezer, which will soon be made into jam and handed out as gifts at Christmastime.

    I recall there was a big panic about stockpiling food around the Y2K scare of seventeen years ago. I wasn’t worried about that, thought it was much ado about nothing. In subsequent years, though, there was some concern about pandemic flu and possible food shortages. I usually keep some canned goods and dried beans and pasta stockpiled, on the theory that in case of emergency I’ll have something to fall back on. Plus it’s always nice, if there’s snow and cold, to know you can get along without venturing out to the grocery store for at least a day or two.

    I also tend to stockpile coffee. I would hate to be caught without coffee in the house.

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  15. Our oldest cat fancies herself a great huntress who needs to provide fresh meat for her pride members. She never goes outside, so she compensates by bringing me as many plush toy mousies as she can in the night. She leaves them on my side of the bed, and yowls and croons as she gives them to me. I had 5 one morning when I woke up. Daughter had a whole pile of mousies outside her door when she was home for Thanksgiving.

    The orher day she was in the kitchen and started her yowling. She ran to me in the living room with a really wonderful prize-half a stick of butter, still wrapped in paper. She dropped it next to me on the sofa and looked so proud of herself. She is a terrible kitchen ccounter scrounger.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Guess that is why you buy all that “Christmas Butter” — cat toys!

      Many years ago I had a cat who had a similar drive to prove himself. We lived in the Northwoods of Minnesota in a trailer filled with mice. The mousies were the real thing, in pieces on the living room floor. And he would waken us by flying over the bed repeatedly, mouse in jaws. Shudder.

      However, he solved the trailer’s mouse problem like no other solution did.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. We had a cat like that. Pippin hunted at night, then arranged his trophies on the floor near our bed so we’d be impressed in the morning. He ate what he killed, mostly–all but the little button noses with whiskers attached. One morning I stepped out of bed to discover five identical sets of nose-with-whiskers trophies, all neatly lined up with the whiskers pointing the same way.

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        1. Funny you should say that, Bill. My dad had an OCD raccoon that regularly hit his garbage cans at his lake home (now my sister’s home). The coon would take apart the garbage and eat any residual food, then neatly line up the cleaned-out containers as if to apologize for messing with the garbage.

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    2. My younger cat “hunts” furry mouse toys, then starts calling the kittens, probably making the same noises as your cat. It’s funny and a little heartbreaking at the same time–she would have been an excellent mother, but even if the shelter hadn’t fixed her, we would have, knowing how many homeless animals there are. If we could bear to foster, she’d also make a great foster mom, but giving up the kittens to strangers would be much too hard. At least she gets to play momma to the youngest cat (who is now bigger than she is), and washes her ears for her with great thoroughness.

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  16. This is hilarious today, all the cat-mouse stories. Our Charlie-the-Cat would eat everything but the tails. Sister’s cat brings in all manner of trophies through the cat-door (Bay Area California, so open year-round). You can see WHY the cat became revered…

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    1. I have vivid dreams with hallucinogenic plot lines. I rarely mention them, but it might be appropriate to say that two nights ago I dreamed I was in a world where cats and humans had exchanged places. The cats were the masters and the humans tried to please them. When the cats were not amused, they had their humans “put to sleep.”

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  17. OT: I used to be able to hover the cursor over “My Sites” at the top and find somewhere to see if there are posts either Pending, or Scheduled. I know there are two there pending, but can’t find where to see that. Any clues, baboons? (Have clicked on Stats, Plan, and Blog Posts, they don’t show up.)

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  18. Using my phone, I press the word press icon and it gives a drop down menu. I press blog posts. It goes to a screen with the word “published.” Next to that word is a carot or arrow. Click that, and it tells you if posts are drafts or scheduled

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  19. sorry i missed the discussion. i didnt realize i went invisible for 3 days. unusual
    my freezer is boring. i put some french onion soup. my pet peeve is filling it up with cheap bread. it drives me nuts. bad bread frozen and thawed… yech. it is full of roma pizza, i buy them 20 or 30 at a time. , a couple of turkeys, 69 cents a pound makes me buy and extra or two at the holidays. my family loves it in pjs special cooker. juice walnuts veggie sausage and black bean burgers i use for easy quick flavoring in beans stews and soups. bags of veggies, a bag or two of chicken breasts they get eaten like gingersnaps. and a mix of happy surprises when inspection instincts take hold. maybe spanakopita or spring rolls chili , and two giant rotating tubs of ice cream one chocolate one vanilla

    Liked by 1 person

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