Friday 19 November 2021

My Big Fat November Grocery Shop


Every year, around the middle of November, there comes a day when herd mentality seems to kick in and the holiday shopping season begins. Store parking lots fill up, road traffic increases, and shoppers are less genial. When that day comes, I make a point of going to the grocery store one day soon after and doing a big, early morning shop. I stock up on enough food that, other than buying milk or eggs, I don't have to darken the door of a store again until the new year.

This year, that beginning-of-holiday- shopping feeling happened last Saturday and I did my big shop on Tuesday. The storm that happened in the days between, and the infrastructure damage that resulted from it, made it feel more urgent but I'm not a panic buyer so I stuck to my tried and true shopping plan, polished over years of practice.

It's always been my habit to keep a well stocked pantry with enough dry goods and non-perishable food to feed me for at least two weeks. In the normal course of things, when I use something from my pantry I add it to my grocery list and replace it the next time I go to the store. There have been times in my life, though - when I haven't had money for groceries or when I've been unable to leave home because of illness or weather - when I've eaten from my pantry until the shelves were bare.  Those were the times it stood m in good stead. I was very grateful to have that food on hand. The meals might've gotten boring but I was able to eat nutritious meals despite the challenges I was facing.When times got better again, I worked to restock my pantry, even if I had to do it bit by tiny bit.

Which brings me back to this year's pre-Christmas shop. My pantry was already in pretty good nick but I eat a lot of vegetables and knew I'd need more on hand to get through December without shopping. I bought veggies chosen for their long shelf life; mostly cole crops (cabbage, both red and green, and Brussels sprouts) and root vegetables (onions, carrots, beets, rutabaga, potatoes, and parsnips). I supplemented my fresh veggies with canned, which I'll use once the fresh veggies are gone.

I do plan to do some holiday baking, not nearly on the scale I have in past years, but some. I was low on flour and sugar so I bought those too, and enough butter for both the baking and for day to day use.

My average monthly grocery expenditure over the past 6 months has been $156/month. So far this month I've spent $279. That's a big jump but it'll be offset by spending almost nothing at all for the rest of the month and all of December.

Now I'm reading posts about panic buying like we saw at the beginning of the pandemic. **sigh** Some people never learn. That kind of behaviour is awfully selfish.

I guess some people - those who don't know me - might interpret my big November shop as hoarding but ky response to that is a big fat "nope!"  If you keep your pantry well stocked, there's no need for panic buying. My pre-holiday shop is a component of good planning and it may serve me even more well than usual in the coming weeks.

For those who are interested, here's a list of the dry goods, non- perishables, and household goods I regularly keep on hand in at least a two week supply:

  • all purpose flour
  • bread flour
  • sugar, both white and brown
  • molasses
  • honey
  • yeast
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • cornstarch
  • herbs and spices
  • salt
  • canola oil
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • vinegar (white, cider, and red wine)
  • raisins
  • dried apricots
  • dried cranberries
  • dates
  • prunes
  • pot barley (whole grain barley)
  • a variety of rices (white, brown, red, purple, and black)
  • cornmeal
  • oatmeal
  • dried beans (navy, garbanzo, pinto, lima, and black)
  • lentils (red, green, black)
  • mung beans for sprouting
  • radish seeds for sprouting
  • sunflower seeds for planting so I can use the shoots
  • peas for planting so I can use the shoots
  • walnuts
  • cashews
  • raw, shelled sunflower seeds
  • assorted pastas
  • cocoa powder
  • canned vegetables (beets, corn, green beans, whole tomatoes, crushed tomatoes)
  • canned convenience foods (soup, chili style beans, sauerkraut)
  • canned fruit (peach slices, applesauce, crushed pineapple)
  • evaporated milk
  • coffee, tea, and herbal teas
  • toilet paper
  • laundry soap
  • dish soap
  • basic toiletries
I'm interested to hear what you keep on hand.  Are there things on my list that you'd never use? Do you have items you'd like to add? Please stop by my Facebook page to leave a comment.  I learn so much from you guys! Your imput is always welcome.

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