I would just like to say, first and foremost, that I think shopping for and feeding your family is a HARD JOB and those of you who said, "I'd like to read your tips on grocery shopping!" are going to be disappointed. I HAVE NO TIPS. Sorry! But I am going to tell you what we do, what works for us and what isn't working, and then spend a nice long time venting about Random Shopping- And Food-Related Quandaries. Ready?
First, some Background Info!
I grew up in a family that planned weekly menus and made enormous weekly shopping trips. We were two working parents and five kids, so it may be that this was the only way to ensure there was food in the house, but my siblings and I have had a grand time making fun of my dad and his lists. Everything from his handwriting to his menus, because isn't that such an OLD person thing to do? Plan MENUS? WHATEVER.
Then I became a Fledgling Adult and bought my own food, but I don't really remember cooking it. Oh, I would make little calzones when my sister came to visit my 10 square foot studio. And I would make this truly pathetic pasta and chicken dish for Phillip and his roommate. Phillip lived in a much nicer apartment directly across the street from a QFC (Kroger for the rest of you). I would park in the QFC parking lot, buy that evening's dinner and watch nineteen episodes of Friends with Phillip and Phillip's Roommate while we ate our pasta and chicken. Good times. Seriously!
This continued when we got married (and with the roommate! Well, he ceased to be the roommate, but we still ate pasta and chicken in front of Friends every night.) We didn't have a method for grocery shopping or making dinner, and in fact, grocery shopping turned out to be a fricking huge deal. People say the first year of marriage is really hard. For us, it was only the first month that was really hard, and that was probably because of grocery shopping. We shopped so differently that eventually we decided, for the sake of the marriage, that this was something we should not do together. EVER. You'd think we'd have figured this out while dating (it's not like GROCERY SHOPPING is one of those things you "save for marriage"!) so I don't know what our problem was. BUT IT WAS A PROBLEM.
After a while we got into the swing of things and we took turns buying and cooking. Phillip makes a million different kinds of stirfry (all of them delicious) and he would do all the stirfry shopping and cooking. I made sure we had things like flour and butter and bread and eggs, and I made everything that was not stirfry, although not very often because (and this will be important later) I am a rotten cook. We bought these things as we needed them - never on any schedule or system - usually on our way home from work, with no thought for what we might do the following night.
But now - NOW we are a one working parent, one stay-at-home parent and two very small children family and we cannot just dash across the street to the QFC, load a bunch of items we'll use only that night in the cart - without looking at the prices - and make dinner at eight. I WISH, right? I totally miss my child-less evenings of yore! But that kind of shopping and cooking is NOT happening. Not for a VERY LONG TIME.
Tomorrow: Menus! Not just for my dad!