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[P]
Bachelor shopping/food storage techniques?

By nightfire in Culture
Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 03:23:15 PM EST
Tags: Help! (Ask Kuro5hin) (all tags)
Help! (Ask Kuro5hin)

Like thousands of bachelors tired of the same old take-out and fast food, I've recently been starting to cook for myself.  The cooking part I seem to have down pretty well (thanks in part to some of the other food/cooking articles on K5), but I - and some of my friends - are having real trouble keeping a significant amount of food from spoiling.

If you share this plight, or have found a good solution, read on. :)


I usually do my shopping every two weeks (on or just after payday).  I typically end up spending $100-150cdn each time, usually in 3 main categories:

  • Basics (paper towels, cooking oil, dish/laundry detergent, noodles, etc)
  • Quick/frozen food (hot dogs, fries, meat pies, pizza pops, etc)
  • Perishables (beef/chicken, fruits & vegitables, bread, milk, eggs, etc)


Now, the basics are obviously no problem - they don't spoil, and can be bought as needed.  The quick preprepared or frozen foods are also pretty straightforward; so long as there's enough room in the fridge/freezer, they can last months.

It's the third group I've been struggling with.

The problem is, some perishables only last a week (ie. lettuce, tomato, bread), or sometimes 3 weeks (milk, eggs, etc), and thus spoil between shopping trips.  So freeze everything, right?  Some things (I've found out the hard way :) taste funny when frozen (ie. luttuce and onions).  Frozen meat gets tougher, and milk curdles.  And remembering to leave frozen stuff out to thaw for supper can be a challenge at 8:30am.

So, shop once a week right?  Well, every time I decide to make a quick trip to the store to get more perishables, I end up filling half a cart in the mentality that maybe I can avoid shopping for another two weeks (which doesn't really help).

I've tried just eating fresh food for the first week, then as it starts to spoil, tossing it and moving on to the frozen/prepared stuff, but having been treated with delicious and healthy stirfrys, sandwiches, and salads for a week, the thought of pizza pops and hot dogs is somewhat unappealing.  So I often end up back in the restaurants-and-take-out routine.  And, once in a while in the first week, I'll feel like something quick, leaving more food to spoil.

So, can any other bachelors out there offer any tips, tricks, or suggestions?

Have you found any foods out there that seem functionally equivalent, but last longer than their counterpart?  Are there any ways to extend the life of perishables that can't be frozen?  Any particular foods you avoid for this reason?  Or, have you found a shopping rhythm or mantra that seems to work better (minimizing trips and maximizing quality of food in between)?

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Poll
I shop:
o Every day, on the way home 12%
o Once or twice a week 59%
o Every two weeks 9%
o Once or twice a month 10%
o Almost never (eat out/convenience store TP, etc :) 8%

Votes: 132
Results | Other Polls

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Bachelor shopping/food storage techniques? | 122 comments (118 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
Some Ideas (4.83 / 6) (#1)
by elysion on Sat Aug 03, 2002 at 08:01:21 PM EST

There are lots of versatile foods that don't spoil that quickly. Canned beans a good example, and most places sell quite a few different kinds. Canned fruits, though probably not quite as healthy as fresh (especially since many are canned in syrup), are good if you only eat small amount of a particular kind at once. I love pineapple, but I usually don't eat enough of it at once to warrant buying it in anything but cans, and it tastes reasonably close to the fresh stuff anyway.

Also, buy items like rice dried and in bulk; they won't spoil, and they're quite easy to make. (You can also get beans this way.) It's also cheaper than buying the "instant" varieties, which really aren't that much faster; AFAIK, you have to boil water either way.

Oh, and one final idea. Host a few dinner parties every now and then. It'll help you get rid of food before it spoils, and few people will turn down a free home-cooked meal.

Dinner Parties (none / 0) (#109)
by 0xA on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 07:59:00 PM EST

This works very well, I have a standing dinner party every Friday night. Usually just one or two people but sometimes as many as eight. I make them all bring booze, and a couple of my friends are proffesional chefs so there are plently of helping hands.

It is always a good time.

[ Parent ]

look, it's not that hard (4.84 / 13) (#2)
by persimmon on Sat Aug 03, 2002 at 08:04:03 PM EST

  1. Plan to go grocery shopping at least once a week like everybody else
  2. Plan out your meals if you have to
  3. Make a list of what you need before you leave for the store
  4. When you consider buying perishables that you won't use within the week, slap yourself
  5. Repeat until you no longer have lettuce-water in the bottom of your produce drawer
  6. Do not ever freeze onions, dumdum.
If it's vegetables in general you want, get onions, cabbage, carrots, celery and other things that keep forever in the fridge. If you want your lettuce and tomatoes, suck it up and go get them. It doesn't take long if you're not delusionally filling up the cart for two weeks each time, and you'll stop kicking yourself when you throw out what used to be perfectly good chard.
--
So There.
freezin onions (4.00 / 1) (#3)
by turmeric on Sat Aug 03, 2002 at 08:24:14 PM EST

oniones chopped up in chile or in spaghetti sauce or whatever... they freeze ok. not great. but not bad.

[ Parent ]
No bachelor-sized raw ingredients (5.00 / 1) (#4)
by nightfire on Sat Aug 03, 2002 at 08:29:36 PM EST

Shoping more frequently (which can be a pain when you're a long way from the grocery store) doesn't always solve the problem. It's tough to find bachelor sized raw ingredients, and even when you can, they're expensive (sometimes even more than the whole ingredient; they pass it off as "prepared").

It's pretty tough to eat a whole head of lettuce, loaf of bread (and/or buns), or block of cheese in a week. I was hoping to get some suggestions on preserving this stuff longer.

Hmm, should have mentioned this in my post. :)

[ Parent ]

then you gotta suck it up (5.00 / 1) (#23)
by persimmon on Sat Aug 03, 2002 at 11:52:42 PM EST

  1. The whole point of cheese is supposed to be that it's difficult to spoil, at least relative to milk. If your only source of cheese is well and truly huge, cut it in chunks, seal in separate sandwich bags, squeeze out the air, and keep in the top back of your fridge where it's nice and chilly. I've never frozen cheese, so I don't know if it goes funny in the freezer.
  2. To make greens keep longer, separate the leaves when you get home, wash them in cold water, pat them dry gently, roll them in dry paper towels or a dry dishtowel, and put the whole contraption in a plastic bag in the produce drawer. If that's too much trouble, or it doesn't make your greens keep long enough, quit eating lettuce, or grow some on the windowsill.
  3. Bread freezes fine. Take a screwdriver to it to separate slices, and thaw it in the toaster. Super-dense whole-grain comes apart better than stuff that goes pouf.
  4. Accept that most perishables are, well, perishable, and there's not much you can do to extend shelf life. If you rely heavily on them, it's probably time to try planning meals that use more dry or canned ingredients, winter vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash (try making a winter squash rot without cutting into it), or frozen veggies. You can make milk last a little longer by getting a couple small cartons and using them consecutively, or you could get the aseptic shelf cartons.
  5. Have friends over to cook dinner, but make them bring ingredients.

--
So There.
[ Parent ]
Cheese can be frozen [nt] (none / 0) (#48)
by BLU ICE on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 12:27:16 PM EST


"Is the quality of this cocaine satisfactory, Mr. Delorean?"
"As good as gold."

-- I am become Troll, destroyer of threads.
It's like an encyclopedia...sorta: Everything2

[ Parent ]

freeze meat, buy perishables more often (4.25 / 4) (#5)
by Delirium on Sat Aug 03, 2002 at 08:35:32 PM EST

Meat isn't really bad when it's frozen (most meat anyway). It's usually better to freeze it raw, then thaw and cook it (rather than freezing an already-prepared meal and then thawing and eating). It's very common for people to have frozen ground beef in their freezers; I'd say most people I know keep some around (because they don't use a ton of it, and it's cheaper to buy it in large quantities). Perhaps I'm not as picky, but I don't have a problem with many other frozen things either; for example, I usually store my bread in the freezer, as that way I can keep it for weeks without it molding (this may work a bit better with wheat bread than white bread). By the time I finish making a sandwich with it, it's thawed enough to eat.

As for the produce, just go shopping for it more often. It doesn't take very long to go to the grocery store and buy some tomatoes and apples once a week. With things like milk this is easy to plan out -- just buy one gallon of milk, and go buy another one when it runs out. As long as you drink it fairly often so it finishes before it spoils (say a glass or two a day), this should work out fine.

I buy perishables every second day... (4.00 / 1) (#6)
by gordonjcp on Sat Aug 03, 2002 at 08:38:35 PM EST

... meat and stuff I freeze. BTW, $100CDN? How much is that in real money? My girlfriend and I both eat lots of fairly expensive things, and my weekly shopping rarely comes to more than 20 UK.

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


$100-150cdn =~ $70-100usd (none / 0) (#7)
by nightfire on Sat Aug 03, 2002 at 08:44:11 PM EST

Hrm. Good point - I should have mentioned that in USD I suppose.

Divide that by half for weekly budget, and I guess we're spending about the same.

[ Parent ]

Cooking for 2 vs cooking for 1 (4.00 / 1) (#80)
by rdskutter on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 09:33:06 AM EST

Cooking for 2 is cheaper than cooking for 1. You can use the leftovers before they go off and its less work each to prepare the meal and wash the dishes so you're more likely to cook properly instead of cooking ready-meals crap or getting a take-away meal.

I've been living on my own for 10 months now and its been quite expensive - 15-20 per week. Last week my new flatmate moved in and now and our weekly food bill is still about 15-20. The only difference is that less stuff gets thrown away.

Its not really the best use of my time to buy perishables every second day as the supermarket is a half hour walk away so shopping takes at least an hour out of my evening. I would rather be out riding my bike or climbing.


If you're a jock, inflict some pain / If you're a nerd then use your brain - DAPHNE AND CELESTE
[ Parent ]

Biking (none / 0) (#115)
by SDrifter on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 04:28:09 PM EST

Why not ride your bike to the store? I did this before I got a car, and it really cuts a lot of time off of the trip. Carrying the stuff home isn't really a problem. You'd be surprised at how much food you can cram into the average backpack. Also, you're biking, which you wanted to do in the first place, so you kill two birds with one stone.
--
It burns!!!
It's loaded with wasabi!
[ Parent ]
I need a less expensive bike (none / 0) (#122)
by rdskutter on Fri Aug 09, 2002 at 04:26:43 PM EST

I can't park my current bike anywhere without someone having a go at the lock. I've had two insurance replacements so far and I've lost count of the number of boltcropper marks I've got on my "unbreakable" lock. People have had a go at it even when I've left it in a busy place in broad daylight.

Bike thieves suck. They should burn for a long time in a very hot fire.


If you're a jock, inflict some pain / If you're a nerd then use your brain - DAPHNE AND CELESTE
[ Parent ]

A Few Thoughts. (4.40 / 5) (#9)
by Kaos on Sat Aug 03, 2002 at 08:56:10 PM EST

This is what works for me, but YMMV

I don't have the luxury of being paid fortnightly, I get paid monthly (yes it sucks). So after paying all of the bills for the month, I have what I'd term a weekly allowance, the key here is to stick within a budget.

I make sure I live within walking distance of the supermarket, this ensures I never buy more than a few days food at a time ( parking the car is much more of a hassle than walking if you are this close).

Use the had baskets at the supermarket rather than a cart, remember if you cant carry it round, you won't carry it home.

I only own a small refridgerator, this goes hand in hand with the previous points.

I'm never sure what I'll want for dinner so if I don't have something I'll just go grab it when I get home (thankfully here most supermarkets are open till midnight).

So for most things I end up not needing to store much, most things I use slowly are either dry ingredients (pasta, rice etc) or can be easily frozen (meat, bread etc).

For frozen items a microwave oven is a very usefull tool for defrosting :-)


Be wary of strong drink, it can make you shoot at tax collectors and miss.

$100-150 per week? (4.00 / 1) (#10)
by Evil_Skippy on Sat Aug 03, 2002 at 09:03:36 PM EST

Man, when I was bacheloring, I spent maybe $150 cdn per month on food and assorted things of that nature - including such essentials as pizza pops, ice cream, etc.

Well, same here (none / 0) (#12)
by nightfire on Sat Aug 03, 2002 at 09:28:45 PM EST

before.. :)

Like, pizza pizza pops - pizza pops covered in pre-shredded cheese and that precooked bacon.. :)

Or macaroni with tomato juice.. grilled cheese with balogne & mustard, or the convenient melted cheese in a bowl.. and other such travesties of culinary expression. :)

[ Parent ]

You Canucks are disgusting (5.00 / 1) (#17)
by fluffy grue on Sat Aug 03, 2002 at 10:58:33 PM EST

What's for desert, ketchup chips?

[ Parent ]
"Gotta be KD!" (none / 0) (#28)
by deniz on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 02:26:05 AM EST

How could you have forgotten about the wonders of Kraft Dinner? It's everything you could want. You can get them for 3/$2cdn (only get original) and then flavour as needed.

Have a meat craving? Slice some hotdogs in.
Want some veggies? Chop up a tomato and a pepper, toss in.
Want more tomato goodness? Add ketchup.
Want extra creamy? Add more milk. Grate some cheese and add.
Want to go classy? Add some white wine, mushrooms, and chives to the sauce.

There's no empty stomach a packet of KD couldn't fix! :)

[ Parent ]

OT: Kraft Dinner (none / 0) (#52)
by Mzilikazi on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 01:17:43 PM EST

If, for some reason, I came into possession of, oh, say a million dollars, I wouldn't have to eat Kraft Dinner. But I would, just lots more of it. ;)

Sorry, I just happened to be listening to that song when I came across your post. Here in the states we call it "Kraft Macaroni & Cheese", and I grew up on the stuff. Still have it once or twice a year, though my tastes have changed a bit. The worst meal I ever had using that was on a camping trip. The guy doing the cooking didn't know what he was doing and combined the macaroni and cheese, a packet of dried French onion soup, and a can of (undrained) green beans in the same pot, with water to cover. It looked and tasted like vomit.

Quick story:

For a couple of years, my father worked for KLM, so he would spend a month in Amsterdam, two months at home, repeat the cycle. One of his co-workers was American but married to a Dutch guy, and the kids had been to the States once or twice. They had a good time, but the best part of their trip was when they had K M&D for the first time, which isn't sold in the Netherlands. So every time he went over there, Dad would pack about a dozen boxes in his suitcase and trade it for Sirupwaffles, cheese, chocolate, etc.

Cheers,
Mzilikazi

[ Parent ]

no more kd for me (none / 0) (#114)
by superflex on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 02:19:55 PM EST

If you're near a store that sells "president's choice" products, and you eat mac & cheese, try the PC Mac & White Cheddar. It's damn frickin good, man.

But besides that, in general, some people have made some pretty good points. Living close to a grocery store is definitely the shit. My last apartment at school was nowhere near a grocery store, so my roommates & I would suck one of our friends into driving us every two or three weeks. Then we'd just pick up perishables like milk, bread, & eggs at the little grocery/convenience store nearby, because they were basically the same price. We didn't really have the urge to do mega-shopping there, though, because everything else was crazy expensive. The place I'm moving into in September is two blocks from a big grocery store. It's gonna be sweeeeet.

Another strategy someone mentioned for buying less crap is using a basket instead of a cart. When I've lived on my own, without roomies, I could do my shopping for a week with one of those baskets, and then ride my bike home with the food on my back. Finite amounts of room can make you ask yourself "Do I really need this?"

[ Parent ]

From a Canadian living in the US (none / 0) (#108)
by gmol on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 07:41:40 PM EST

Food is way cheaper back in Canada.

[ Parent ]
Alternative Solution (3.85 / 7) (#11)
by br284 on Sat Aug 03, 2002 at 09:23:29 PM EST

I'm surprised no one has brought this one up -- get a woman. Here's how:

1. Go out on a drunken binge, and take home the first one willing to go home with you.

2. While at home, have some fun with your new friend. Lots of fun.

3. When she's starting to get irritable about you not calling and saying something about a test, or something, invite her to live with you.

At this point, you have graduated from bachelor-sized things to couple-sized things. For several months, you'll find that the couple-size stuff works. After a while, though, you will get to expand your culinary tastes, as  your woman will start demanding stranger and stranger foods. Not too long after, the woman will spawn this screaming bald and wrinkly little thing. Then you get to buy all other classes of food. I've heard that it's not too tasty though.

By this point, weekly shopping should be the least of your concerns.

-Chris

PS. On a more serious note, kudos on the article, as I'm facing the same food-storage problems. OLd lettuce is quite nasty as I've found out.

Cook and Freeze (none / 0) (#13)
by mozmozmoz on Sat Aug 03, 2002 at 09:31:32 PM EST

It's a little more work up front, but if you a cook a few things the day you go shopping and freeze them it can work really well. Stuff like soup especially will freeze and reheat with little or no change. For a while I lived on a variety of thick vegetable soups (I'm vegetarian, another thing which makes life cheaper and easier), which I cooked weekly or fortnightly and froze servings of. My reason was simply that I was at university full time and doing live theatre full time... 7am-10pm-ish 6 or 7 days a week.

Vegetarian food generally keeps more safely than meat-based, simply because the protein-eating food poison organisms don't live on the high-protein vegetables in their raw state (as a rule). Once you've cooked them, the game is on. But especially things like chicken have endemic problems (most chickens have salmonella, you have to cook them to kill it before you eat them). All this means is that a big pot of vege soup with chick peas or kidney beans in it is "clean" until it comes off the boil, at which point you want to portion it out, cover it, and stick it in the fridge (cool as fast as possible). I Use 2l or 3l juice bottles (half gallon) with 4cm wide tops (2") and a big funnel. One of those lasts me 2-3 days of evening meals. For those to work you'll need a hand-held blender (cocktail blender?) to chop up the soup a bit so there's no big lumps.

The other advantage of soup is that you can put just about anything in it. Use whatever veges are cheapest on the day, and after a while you'll have an idea of what tastes you like (and what goes toghether). A little attention to dietary requirements and you're away laughing.

I'm not sure how this works with meat-based soups, I suspect you might want to freeze single servings but apart from that... hopefully a meat-eater will supply more information.

There's lots of comedy on TV too. Does that make children funnier?

some suggestions (3.50 / 2) (#15)
by speek on Sat Aug 03, 2002 at 10:14:27 PM EST

Buy a Food Saver. What is a food saver? It's a suck machine. It sucks air out of your food containers. You get these bags, put your food in, suck the air out - voila! Food that can be stored longer than normal. Frozen too, without freezer burn. Be sure to get one with a mason jar attachment, as the ability to vacuum seal stuff in your mason jars (get some) is great.

Make highly acidic foods, such as chili and anything with lots of tomatoes. Use lots of spices, as many have anti-bacterial properties. Cook, then store ... in your mason jars. Mason jars are cheap and everyone should have some.

Some produce keeps better than others. Lettuce, for example, is completely worthless, as it subtly rots in a couple days and is completely disgusting. Carrots keep well for a long time. Apples keep basically forever in a fridge. Oranges and grapefruits last a long time.

If you have trouble keeping bread, try bagels - they don't mold as quick. Cheese has decent staying power.

If you buy a lot of meat, vacuum pack it with your food saver as soon as you get home. Cut it up into meal-sized pieces first, and package separately.

Learn how to make banana bread. It's a simple and yummy use for rotting bananas.

--
what would be cool, is if there was like a bat signal for tombuck -

Bachelors only? (2.00 / 2) (#16)
by quartz on Sat Aug 03, 2002 at 10:18:07 PM EST

What about us married people? What, you think our food doesn't spoil?

--
Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke, and fuck 'em even if they can.
Nope... (2.00 / 2) (#32)
by Danse on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 04:46:16 AM EST

If your food is spoiling, then you obviously aren't disciplining your wife properly.






An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
Or... (4.00 / 1) (#66)
by wiredog on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 07:56:14 PM EST

...she isn't disciplining her husband properly.

Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.
[ Parent ]
ooook.... (none / 0) (#86)
by Danse on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 02:01:12 PM EST

A zero?? Methinks haflinger hasn't been disciplined properly either.






An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
Try different brands for breads and milk (3.50 / 2) (#18)
by Obsequious Rat on Sat Aug 03, 2002 at 11:07:01 PM EST

Not all bread, milk, etc. is the same. I used to have the problem of my bread molding within one week of purchase; this sucked, because like you, I found it difficult to make it through an entire loaf of bread in a week, and it didn't take many half-loaves in the trash before I decided to do something about it. So, I shopped around. After two or three tries, I found a brand of bread that lasted a long time, up to one week past the "sell by" date printed on the package. It tastes the same as the other breads, so maybe it's just a higher level of preservatives or something. I have had similar experiences with milk -- some brands seem to last longer, though only by a day or two (it's milk after all). My parents don't seem to mind buying two gallons of milk at a time (it's usually a lot cheaper that way) and freezing one gallon, but I can taste the difference and can't stand it.

As for other perishables, especially fruits and vegetables, you're probably stuck with either weekly shopping or living without 'em every other week. There isn't much that can be done to reduce or eliminate spoilage for many fruits and vegetables, especially things like lettuce.

Somewhat related, I don't have a shopping schedule. When enough stuff runs low (or out), I make a trip. This probably isn't the best method, but it seems to dramatically reduce my impulse buying (Oooh, look, cookies are on sale!) when I know I'm only going to the store to buy, for example, milk and bread.



"No doubt about it... the chimps gave 110%."
Alternate brands of bread from time to time. (none / 0) (#68)
by thogard on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 09:48:46 PM EST

I find that if I buy the same bread every week it tends to go bad faster than if I buy one brand for about a month then switch to a different brand.  I don't knwo why this is but thats what I've found.  I wonder if it has something to do with with slightly different yeasts. Keep in mind that yeast is a fungus just like the mold that wants to eat your bread.  The best anti-funglas seem to be other fungus.  After all this is how penicillin was discovered.  Two different fungi were fighting over the bits in petri dish and they formed interference patterns.

[ Parent ]
Several ideas (3.00 / 2) (#20)
by godix on Sat Aug 03, 2002 at 11:11:39 PM EST

I found that if leave food that's gone bad in the fridge for a few days it seems to accelerate other foods going bad. I suggest cleaning your fridge and make sure to frequently toss out bad food.

Leftovers. If you don't eat them, don't save them. What's really the difference between tossing food the day you don't eat it or tossing it two weeks from then after it's gone bad? This goes with the above point.

ziplock bags. Most produce comes in wrappings that don't store for long. Throwing lettuce, fruits, etc in ziplock bags will prolong their life, although not by much.

Freeze whatever you can. Don't buy fresh veggies if frozen ones are avalable to buy. Bread can be frozen, just keep one loaf out at a time. Some veggies can be frozen, some can't.

Learn your microwaves defrost settings. I have yet to see a microwave that has a good defrost, but if you forget to pull out meat before work what other choice do you have? Defrost somewhat in the microwave, then put into a sinkfull of the hottest water you can get (I run water through the coffee maker to get it quite hot). Consider the hour delay in your dinner a punishment for forgetting to pull out the meat.

Some things just don't store well. Lettuce goes bad quickly. Unless you absolutely love lettuce, just don't get it.

If there is a store on your way home from work try doing this: Buy just frozen stuff and plan your meals ahead of time. On the way home buy the perishable items that you will need for that days dinner. Make a rule with yourself, don't use a basket or cart on this mini-trips. If you do this daily then you won't need more than you can carry it in your hands.

Some thoughts (4.50 / 4) (#21)
by Canthros on Sat Aug 03, 2002 at 11:39:12 PM EST

  • When you buy meat, do two things: bag it into pieces (or, in the case of ground meat, lumps) you can use within a day or two of thawing, and freeze it ASAP.
  • If you're having trouble remembering to get stuff out to thaw in the morning, stick it into the fridge the night before. Plan ahead of time.
  • Freeze your bread. It'll survive. This is particularly important if you're buying things like hot dog or burger buns.
  • Keep onions, garlic, ginger, potatoes and other root vegetables in a cool dark place where it will be dry.
  • Don't buy iceberg lettuce, buy radicchio or something. It comes in smaller pieces and I hear that it tastes better, too.
  • With cheese, just cut off any mold you find growing on it and transfer it to a clean, dry package (a ziploc bag, for instance). It'll be fine. Just wash the knife before you go cutting anything else.
  • Check the settings on the crisper and meat drawers. You want to make sure the vegetables are dry (moisture accelerates rot), the meat slightly moist (so the meat doesn't dry out).
  • Don't thaw and then re-freeze your meat. It doesn't work out.
  • Weekly trips, man. Won't kill you.


--
It's now obvious you are either A) Gay or B) Female, or possibly both.
RyoCokey
Cheese. bread & mold (none / 0) (#77)
by BlueGlass on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 06:03:48 AM EST

Some people (like me) are very sensitive to/revolted by the mold that grows on cheese. For me, the mold flavour/smell permeates a chunk of cheese about two days before it shows visible signs of fungus.

My SO can't smell it at all, on the other hand. She's happy just slicing the moldy bits off. However, anything that a moldy/pre-moldy cheese has come in contact with smells strongly (to me) of mold.

For us, this means slicing the mold off is not an option, as (even cooked) the tainted cheese will ruin the entire meal, as well as result in dramatic retching event from me.

Interestingly, the situation is exactly reversed with regard to bread mold. To her, there's a strong, repulsive odour a day before the spots appear on the bread. She's saved me from biting into moldy bread more than once by noticing the smell wafting from my sandwich,

[ Parent ]

Wussies.... (none / 0) (#87)
by Kintanon on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 02:35:04 PM EST

I've eatten greenish bread, cheese with purple spots, a handful of other slightly moldy foods. Not even a hiccup... The only thing I'm cautious about eatting with a little mold on it is meat, and as long as that gets cooked up good I'll eat it too. This stuff won't kill you unless you eat some REALLY nasty mold covered glop... Oh, and don't ever mistake bad milk for yogurt... ugh...

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

Freezing bread (none / 0) (#101)
by Jacques Chester on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 09:45:28 AM EST

I grew up in sub-tropical Darwin. Freezing bread was as natural to me as keeping butter in the fridge. Leaving bread on the bench for a day or so meant mould, especially in the Wet Season, when humidity hovers consistently in the 70-90% range.

Moving to Sydney was very strange. Shit, you could leave bread out all day and wow, it didn't start talking to you!

--
In a world where an Idea can get you killed, Thinking is the most dangerous act of all.
[ Parent ]

Don't shop for food while hungry (4.80 / 5) (#22)
by yosemite on Sat Aug 03, 2002 at 11:51:13 PM EST

every time I decide to make a quick trip to the store to get more perishables, I end up filling half a cart in the mentality that maybe I can avoid shopping for another two weeks
Have something to eat before you go to the store. Shop for food while your hungry, and you'll walk out with everything in site.

--
[Signature redacted]

too true... (none / 0) (#24)
by JyZude on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 12:39:02 AM EST

Absolutely true. If you shop while hungry you buy everything. But, if you shop after a big meal it can be bad too. At that point food just turns you right off, and it'll be hard to actually buy food. You'll be walking down the aisle with the cookies and you'll be like "I don't need those cookies, they will make me fat." and then the next day you'll be like "why the hell didn't I buy those cookies?! Now I feel like cookies. Hell."

Be pleasantly fed and you should be okay.

-----
k5 is not the new Adequacy k thnx bye


[ Parent ]
And, (none / 0) (#51)
by Kinthelt on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 01:17:12 PM EST

Don't ever go grocery shopping while stoned. You'll just end up buying junk food.

Mmmmmmm.... Ice cream.

[ Parent ]

Canned Food Alliance (5.00 / 3) (#25)
by mortisimo on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 01:16:56 AM EST


I followed a link in somebody's diary to a flash game featuring Anna Kournikova's panties. It was a pretty bad game but as luck would have it there happened to be a banner ad at the top of the page to this site http://www.mealtime.org which is the homepage for the National Canned Food Alliance or some such nonsense.

These "canned food" people seem to have anticipated your dilemna by nearly half a century or more and have been working round the clock to produce bachelor sized cans of various foodstuffs that last a long time. Perhaps even longer than the sun.

They have recipes and as far as I can tell they seem to be advocating that canned food is not inherently evil. In fact they seem to be saying:

In most instances, canned food is equally or even more nutritious than its fresh and frozen counterparts. Plus, it's available year-round so it can easily be added to your favorite recipes for a convenient meal solution. To learn more about canned food research, recipe ideas and nutrition information, spend some time on www.mealtime.org. Before long, you'll discover that canned food really is the easy way to eat right.

I realize this might be too USian-centric so I've also included links to Australian Canned Food(No, not just Fosters), Canned Food UK and Canned Food Vietnam.

For the benefit of those that feel this post is too Human-centric I have also provided links to http://www.Alpo.com and http://www.ferretstore.com

HTH :)


You Ass (5.00 / 2) (#59)
by 0tim0 on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 06:04:22 PM EST

I don't want no steenk'n link to canned food sites. Give me the link to Anna Kournikova's panties!

(Sorry for the outburst ;)

--tim

[ Parent ]

EW Fosters! (5.00 / 2) (#70)
by mayo on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 09:50:50 PM EST

Dammit Australians do not drink Fosters unless they are mentally ill, forced to do so at gunpoint or possibly in exchange for threesome sex with supermodels. Real Aussie beers are easy to spot because they're easy to pronounce when absolutely off your face. Eg:

VB (yes, pronounced Vee Bee)
New

Of course, as any experienced drinker can tell you there are exceptions to this rule, such as Extra Dry, which is difficult enough to say when sober and all too easily becomes Esstra Dry after even just a couple of beers.

There are tons of great Aussie beers out there. I'm just saying that Fosters isn't one of them.

mayo.

[ Parent ]
NO (none / 0) (#75)
by jann on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 01:49:26 AM EST

Those beers are crap too.

Real aussies drink:
Coopers
Cascade
Boags
James Squire
Redback
or ... in a pinch
Hahn.

And they only drink draught beer.

[ Parent ]

It varies (none / 0) (#100)
by Jacques Chester on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 09:38:53 AM EST

I know people who swear by VB, even if I personally think it tastes like stale bile-duct juices.

Anything from Tasmania with "Premium" on it is good, so that's your Boag's and your Cascade.

But I've got a soft spot for Irish beers myself, and it's not hard to find in Darwin. Kilkenny's, Murphy's, Harp ...

--
In a world where an Idea can get you killed, Thinking is the most dangerous act of all.
[ Parent ]

My Habbits... (3.00 / 1) (#26)
by DoctorD on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 01:19:45 AM EST

I have found that I typically make a big trip to Sam's Club about every 6-8 weeks.  I'll drop approx $100-200usd on bulk items and fozen stuff.  Then on a more frequent basis I hit the local grocery story to get pherishable stuff or stuff I'd rather not have "economy size"

As for a few things...like frsh onions, I've used the freeze-dried variety fairly well.  Just put some of the freeze-dried onions in some water to re-hydrate them, and they're ok...kinda on the small side, but workable.  Not as tasty as the fresh variety, but I haven't had any complaints about them this way in stuff I cooked with them.

Shredded Cheese keeps fine in the freezer...just let the bag freeze on the top of things in the freezer, else it will be a pain to dole out amounts of cheese.

Bricks of cheese I can usually eat before they go bad...I'm a cheese freak in that regard..

Loaf of whole wheat bread keeps fine in the bottom of the fridge.  I just gets a little dried out in a couple of weeks.

Overall the majority of my food I keep around is frozen or canned, or just plain doesn't require refridgeration.  Granted this may change as I try my hand at cooking other ethnic foods.
.
"If you insist on using Windoze you're on your own."

Don't people east bread? (none / 0) (#27)
by Insaa on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 01:57:26 AM EST

Sorry, I'm not understanding something here. Why do you have bread going off?
Admittedly I live with my family still but I would say that I am the main bread eater in the house. In a year I see maybe a total of 1 loaf thrown out. Infact, since the rate at which bread disappears in my place is so fast, we usually throw out stale bread for the birds before it gets near mouldy.

Looking at your problem, there seems to be one very obvious (although I may be wrong) solution. This may seem difficult to get done in the morning but why don't you make sandwitches, and include the lettuce in them with some cheese and sliced tomatos and maybe a bit of left over meat, you could top it with a bit of dressing, and as a kiwi, I would include a bit of lightly pickled beetroot. Mmmm, This has to be good for ya.

Also, just a word to you about bread. Don't buy white bread as its no where near as good for you as wholemeal bread (brown bread). The flour used to create white bread is generally known as bleached flour (as I understand it), and it lacks the anti-oxidants that are very good for you as well as the goodness in the grains.
Also, a little test for you to try _after_ buying bread is to see how much bread you are actually getting. Get your loaf of bread and squash it into a ball. Hopefully, a good normal sized loaf of bread shouldn't get smaller than half its original size and it should return to its original shape afterwards too (give it a while). I've seen one brand of loaf squash down to the size of a tennis ball! The next thing to do is to get yourself one of those really nice healthy wholemeal small loaves of bread (can't give you a brand name for it because it will be different in your country). They are usually more expensive but try squashing one of those and you'll probably not get very far. That is a truely good loaf of bread. It should be very healthy, and it might even work out to be cheaper to buy than the normal bread because it will fill you up much more.

Brown Bread. (none / 0) (#35)
by bigbtommy on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 06:30:37 AM EST

"Don't buy white bread as its no where near as good for you as wholemeal bread (brown bread)."

Don't listen to him... anyone who likes brown bread must be the spawn of the devil. :D
-- bbCity.co.uk - When I see kids, I speed up
[ Parent ]

How about yellow? (none / 0) (#94)
by Happy Monkey on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 06:43:10 PM EST

I eat Martin's potato bread almost exclusively. It also lasts up to a month if kept in the fridge.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
Brown bread? (none / 0) (#36)
by xiox on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 06:49:10 AM EST

Some brands of brown bread aren't actually wholemeal, but are more like white with brown colouring. I'd go for brands which specifically say wholemeal. There's also a big difference in taste between different wholemeals, so it makes sense to try a few brands out, even if they are more expensive. A tasty bread will make you eat more bread, and so will improve your fibre (and nutrient) intake.

[ Parent ]
Whole Wheat Flour (none / 0) (#40)
by barnasan on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 08:57:38 AM EST


Also, just a word to you about bread. Don't buy white bread as its no where near as good for you as wholemeal bread (brown bread). The flour used to create white bread is generally known as bleached flour (as I understand it), and it lacks the anti-oxidants that are very good for you as well as the goodness in the grains.

Err..... that's not quite true.

First, whole wheat has better (more) nutrients, but it's not quite as "good for you" as the numbers make you think. It's complicated, but WW bread actually makes the absorbing of the nutrients more difficult for the body. It's not significant for someone living on a balanced diet, but can cause difficulties otherwise. A famous case was during the war in Ireland, where many children got very sick by eating just milk and WW bread (as one would think, a balanced diet). Had they eaten white bread, they would have been OK. (Of course, eating a balanced diet would have been even better...)

Another thing is that white flour keeps way longer than WW. So there are very good reasons for the existence and popularity of white flour, besides that some people think it's nicer looking.

As of bleaching, this is not what the difference between WW and white flour is. There is bleached and unbleached white flour. Then unbleached is actually bleached too, but not by chemicals, but naturally, by the oxygen in the air (which takes longer). Bleached has more, well, bleach in it - I for one use strictly unbleached.

Sorry, it's too late to look for links, but if anyone's interested, you can look it up in Harold McGee's book. He concludes something along the lines that not everyone can afford to enjoy the "healthyness" of WW bread, but if you are living on a remotely balanced diet (=everybody in the Western world), it IS good for you.

[ Parent ]

The simple answer (4.00 / 2) (#29)
by llamasex on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 02:32:13 AM EST

Find another bachelor and offer to spilt food/shopping duties.

Howard Dean punched me in the face
cans, man! (also, cook) (5.00 / 1) (#31)
by startled on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 03:07:57 AM EST

Cans! You can get a few great canned things that are still reasonably nutritious and taste quite good. Canned beans, for example, are great in quesadillas and a number of other dishes. Canned tomatoes make great pasta sauces, they save time from cooking down fresh tomatoes, and they don't go bad (also, try Pomi chopped tomatoes).

Also, things tend to last a bit longer after you've cooked 'em, so try to do that big, cook 10 servings with a huge tub of veggies soon after your trip, and with any luck it'll last you until your next shopping trip. Indian curries work well here.

geeeezus modern life is so haaaaarrrrdddd..... (1.00 / 2) (#33)
by dazzle on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 05:17:21 AM EST

Get a life and don't buy so much food. If you can't eat it all and it's going off perhaps you are buying too much.


---
the internet: a global network of small minded people


Here's what I do (4.00 / 1) (#34)
by Rainy on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 05:40:46 AM EST

I currently have two main foods that I pad with random things. Here they are:

1. Mueslix. Buy a huge container of old fashioned oatmeal, a few types of sliced nuts, a couple of big containers of raisins and optionally dried cranberry. Buy a gallon of milk. Add these things together in a bowl and eat. Yes, that's right - oatmeal is NOT cooked. This meal is ultra-healthy, never gets boring, and all ingredients store extremely well except for milk (which I buy once every few days). It takes 2 minutes to prepare, too. It's fairly variable - you can add all kinds of dry fruit - apricots, banana, ...; cinnamon, etc. Honey?

2. Tortilla. Buy a bag of tortillas (20 mission for ~$3), mozzarella, cheddar, mont. jack cheese, sour cream, ricotta cheese, optionally peppers, mushrooms, spinach, any leafy veggies.

Prep: take one tortilla, put sliced cheeses on one side, cover with sour cream, ricotta, sliced peppers, mushrooms, spinach. Any of this is optional, you can really just make tortilla + cheese, but other stuff makes it much nicer, especially sour cream, mushrooms and peppers.

Most of these things store really well, i.e. cheeses and tortillas.

I used to buy too much food, as well. Then I switched to vegetarian diet and when I walk down the aisle, most things are repulsive to me. I get to the store and I think "okay, I need to get some milk and raisins and mushrooms"; I go straight to the sections that have them, get them and out I go, never pausing to reflect on the excesses of our consumer culture.

I like it much better this way..

Hope this helps.
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day

I can't beleive I'm reading this (2.50 / 2) (#37)
by borderline on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 06:55:35 AM EST

Geez. Don't buy food you will not eat before it spoils. It's that simple. A twelve-year-old figures this out within a few weeks. If it spoils fast, by less of it more often.

Yes, but (none / 0) (#41)
by Jel on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 10:25:50 AM EST

... it's a little tougher (only a little, granted :) when you want to have a good selection of interesting foods in the house to quickly whip up an interesting meal from.  Especially if you like a good variety of interesting meals.
...lend your voices only to sounds of freedom. No longer lend your strength to that which you wish to be free from. Fill your lives with love and bravery, and we shall lead a life uncommon
- Jewel, Life Uncommon
[ Parent ]
Best before dates (none / 0) (#38)
by xiox on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 07:04:24 AM EST

Here in Britain (and I think most of the EU), most packaged food comes with a best-before date (BBD), which is the date you're supposed to eat it by. When looking through a shelf of packaged perishables, get the ones with the latest BBDs (they're usually behind the ones at the front - the supermarket tries to clear out their older stock first). There can be several days of difference.

Some foods in packages can be eaten by healthy people far after the BBD (I think they're pretty conservative and look at the effect on children and very old people). Some foods (eg processed meat products) are more dangerous to eat after the BBD, so take care! Smelling a food is a good way to tell whether it's still edible. If you store a food badly it will go off before the BBD. It's a good idea to check the temperature of your fridge with a thermometer to see whether it's cool enough.

For vegetables and fruits, learn to tell the good from the bad. It's in your interest to get the freshest and least-damaged vegetables. Try squeezing them gently (softer means older, normally, or can mean less ripe). However brown spots on apples have no effect on the lifetime or the taste (especially on the tastier apples such as Cox's).

lifestyle topic? (5.00 / 12) (#39)
by semaphore on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 07:29:54 AM EST

maybe it's time for a new k5 topic called lifestyle. just in the last few stories we have :

  • Courtship Techniques in Your Neck of the Woods
  • Bachelor shopping/food storage techniques? (this)
  • What's It Like In Your Neck Of The Woods?
  • Picking a flatmate
  • i could go on ...

    anyone else spot a trend here?

    most of these stories are appearing as culture, as there is nowhere else for this sort of stuff to go. to me, most of this is not really culture. unless we use the broad brush, and then, of course, everything is culture. ymmv

    spinoff of this could be an offline publication one day, like the official k5 geek's guide to life, and how to get laid, fed, roommate, a job, ...


    -
    "you want enlightenment? stare into the sun."


  • You're absolutely right. (5.00 / 3) (#46)
    by CheeseburgerBrown on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 12:02:42 PM EST

    The current set-up seems to run a little something like (Section, typical range of content):

    Everything N/A
    Diaries Informal articles, Formless nonsense
    Technology Computer innovations, Computing problems
    Culture Functions same as "Misc"
    F & P Political/philosophical articles, discussions of current events
    Media Books, Perspectives, Music
    News Functions as less fanciful "Misc"
    Internet As above, but with a software bias
    Op-Ed Op-Ed
    Columns Series of light research essays
    Meta K5 Kommunity, and the lack of a cabal
    MLP 5la5hdot

    I think that there are too many sections that end up being used as catch-alls. Since a glop of focus is better than a thin film, I think it would be best to merge News and Media into one section, and Technology and Internet into one section. Diaries should be somehow split (culled/extracted/edited??) to expose the personal essays from the navel-gazing. I agree that Lifestyle should be a top level category. That way, things might work a little more like this:

    Everything N/A
    Diaries Formless nonsense
    Personal Essays Informal first-person-singular slices-of-life, humour
    Technology Incorporates sub-section "Internet"
    Culture Articles dealing with culture, society, humanities
    Lifestyle Articles dealing with sub-cultures and lifestyles
    F & P If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
    News & Media It's merger madness!
    Op-Ed As is.
    Meta "
    MLP "

    ...Does anybody think this has any merit? Or is it blasphemous to suggest that categories that have stood so long be shifted? I don't want the black police of tradition to come and beat me in my bed.



    This is an excellent example of a fairly dull but decently spelled signature.

    [ Parent ]
    Addendum: referendum (3.00 / 1) (#47)
    by CheeseburgerBrown on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 12:05:56 PM EST

    Should Science be a category unto itself?


    This is an excellent example of a fairly dull but decently spelled signature.

    [ Parent ]
    Nope. (none / 0) (#61)
    by ramses0 on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 06:47:52 PM EST

    Science == Technology.  Overclassification kills.

    --Robert
    [ rate all comments , for great ju
    [
    Parent ]

    Vacuum seal? (none / 0) (#42)
    by Idioteque on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 10:56:02 AM EST

    What about that Food Saver thing from the infomercials. I've heard good things about it (from my bachelor friends) but never tried it myself. That way you can cook stuff and save it for later, much later...


    I have seen too much; I haven't seen enough - Radiohead
    Not that complicated. (none / 0) (#43)
    by MKalus on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 11:02:03 AM EST

    There are several possiblities.

    1. Pre-cook a lot of the food, then freeze it, if you have a microwave you can even eat if you don't unthaw it in the morning.

    2. Buy smaller amounts more often.

    I tend to go shopping every two weeks, on that trip I usually tend to buy things like canned stuff, drinks etc. etc.

    Perishables I tend to pick up on my way home from work, or max. a week beforehand.

    The amount of food I am throwing away is pretty limited, unless something comes in between and I end up eating out more (like last week, some tomatoes became a throw away candidate).

    As for freezing stuff: You can freeze pre-cooked food, I wouldn't recommend freezing fruits etc. Simply because most of it contains water and that does not only mess with the taste but also with the usability of the food.
    -- Michael

    Let the store look after foodstuffs for you (none / 0) (#44)
    by sypher on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 11:11:59 AM EST

    Buy when you need, eat when you are hungry.

    Claw back some of the profits the store makes on your purchases by letting them refrigerate your goods for you.

    Of course, this may not work out if you live miles from any store or deli, but it does for us.

    Slightly OT here, but I have always had a 'cooking rota' (and cleaning et al), choosing a meal 'on the fly' makes for some interesting creations, plus in the long run it seems to save money (you buy what you can afford, and dont end up with loads of stuff going spoilt.)

    Buy a big water bowser and leave your soft drinks or beers inside, own a decent fridge for eggs and salads, and a microwave with a defrost setting if you forget to defrost before leaving the house / flat / caravan.

    If such a service exists in your local area, have fresh milk and eggs and other fast perishables delivered, we get milk, eggs and butter in this fashion, they are usually 'fresh' (havent sat under a light for a couple of days.)

    Basically, buy smaller quantities, or plan meals around what you have to hand.

    You should have listened to your mother before leaving home ;)

    I dreamt of it once, now I fear it dreams of me
    Shopping mindset (none / 0) (#45)
    by dachshund on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 11:40:46 AM EST

    I've taken to buying meat and fish at meat/fish stores, rather than the supermarket, then freezing them in meal-sized servings. The savings is so dramatic and the quality so much higher that I'm never tempted to buy these things in the supermarket. Look for a farmer's market in your town, and try doing your weekly vegetable shopping there-- that might keep you from buying things you don't need.

    It seems like your problem is just one of self-control. Make it simple for yourself. Once a month (or every two weeks) stock up on all the staples you need, including things like onions and garlic. Then get used to making more frequent produce-only trips to the store. Limit yourself to a basket and commit yourself to using the express lane.

    I can't really answer the poll. (none / 0) (#49)
    by seebs on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 12:42:33 PM EST

    About once a month, I stop by the good grocery store, which has the good imported parmesan, and perhaps a few other specialty things I can't get elsewhere.

    About twice a month, I go to a much nearer grocery store, to stock up on frozen pizza, generic pasta, and other foods where I'm more price-sensitive.  (Also, some of the foods I like are not carried by the "upscale" store.)

    Probably every day to every other day, I walk a couple of blocks to the corner store to pick up pop, fizzy water, bread, and deli meats.

    This works quite well.


    shopping schedule (none / 0) (#50)
    by guyjin on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 01:02:03 PM EST

    once every 2 weeks? no wonder your food spoils. Shop more often, and buy less each time.

    If, however, you must keep the 1 per 2 schedule, pay extremely close attention to the expiration date, and only buy things that will last more than 2 weeks. if there is nothing that fresh availiable, shop elsewhere.
    -- 散弾銃でおうがいして ください

    My attempts (4.00 / 1) (#53)
    by Kinthelt on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 01:25:43 PM EST

    I've managed to get down to $50/month by eatings lots of dried bulk food. I get some rice, some beans, lentils, and some fresh produce and make myself a big-assed curry. Keeps forever if you put it in a tupperware container and use lots of spice. :)

    Oatmeal for breakfast is much cheaper and healthier than the over-priced sugar-loaded commercial cereals will give you.

    Pasta is quite filling. It's amazing the different things you can do with some cheap pasta. Add some chicken, vary up the cheeses you use. Try a different sauce (or go without sauce).

    If you're trying to lose weight, the best thing you could possibly do is start focusing your meals around rice. Very easy to make once you get the hang of it, and very delicious (to me at least).

    Don't forget baked beans! (none / 0) (#54)
    by MMcP on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 03:19:33 PM EST

    This would be the first time I talk about baked beans in an on-topic fashion, but here goes:

    Excellent source of roughage, protein, low fat.  Great for being lazy because baked beans live in cans and last forever.  Not to mention that they go on sale once in a while and become foolishly affordable.  

    That plus Malt-O-Meal makes my eating damn cheap.  More money for bok choy!

    Don't even get started on the farting business - my baked bean farts pass without notice each and every time.

    Varies from person to person (none / 0) (#79)
    by jackelder on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 07:56:52 AM EST

    Personally, I can't eat baked beans. Not only do I get extremely nasty gas, I also get incredible heartburn. Basically, eating more than a spoonful or so of baked beans is a guarantee that I'll spend the next hour or so suffering extreme pain and farting like mad. It's not pretty.
    __ sabre-toothed portillo
    [ Parent ]
    I Love Beans! (none / 0) (#91)
    by ScrO on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 03:28:18 PM EST

    Here's a lovely song about my favorite food.

    Lima, lentil, soy, and pinto,
    Navy, northern, and garbanzo,
    Kidneys and frijoles negros,
    I love beans!

    I love beans, woo woo woo!
    I love beans, how 'bout you?
    High in fiber, low in fat.
    Hey, I bet you didn't know that!

    When I eat beans I sit in my own little cloud.
    Nobody comes to visit me in my little cloud.
    I don't know why. Maybe it's 'cause I'm cuttin' muffins. Because...

    I love beans, hey hey hey!
    I love beans every day!
    Beans are an excellent source of protein.
    I love beans, dinky-doo!

    - Brak



    ScrO!

    [ Parent ]

    Things I've found (none / 0) (#55)
    by seanic on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 03:24:41 PM EST

    The previous storage tips are good, vegetables should be cool and dry (esp. lettuce), meat gets some humidity.

    When freezing make sure it is wrapped air tight to avoid freezer burn with as little air as possible.  I keep bread in the refrigerator as it tends to ice up in my freezer.

    I shop weekly and pick fruits and vegetables that have varing degrees of ripeness, some tomatos are red others are slightly green.  I've also switched to soy milk as I find it keeps longer and I don't drink a lot of it.  Fish gets eaten fresh as beef and chicken freeze better.

    I use my pda to keep track of shopping, but a small notepad will do just fine.  From my experience the best place to keep the pad is next to the trash or recycling can.  Simply write down what you throw away and stick to the list.  It's ok to buy something special now and then but try not to go wild.  HTH

    --
    --
    "The majority of the stupid is invincible and guaranteed for all time. The terror of their tyranny is, however, alleviated by their lack of consistency" -- Albert Einstein

    There's no way round it... (none / 0) (#56)
    by cowbutt on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 04:13:54 PM EST

    ...if you want to eat fresh fruit/veg/meat, you need to shop at least once or twice a week, especially in hot weather. Sorry, but that's the way it is - little and often.

    Even if you manage to get some fresh fruit/veg to keep a couple of weeks without being inedible, chances are it will have lost so much of its nutritional value that you may as well wolf down a Snickers or something.

    That said, there are some tricks; frozen veg are great - I keep spinach, peas, sweetcorn and a seasonal vegetable mix (some combination of peas, carrots, cauli, broccoli, green beans, peppers) which gives me a sensible choice of vegetables for most meals.

    Also, get some freezer-to-oven safe sealable tubs and cook big pots of chilli, bolognese, curry, chicken napoletana or whatever and freeze 2 or 3 portions then microwave them for 6-9 minutes (800W) from frozen and prepare some pasta or rice to go with them for a quick, but healthy "convenience meal".

    Finally, check the dates on everything before you buy - dig around at the back of the cabinets to see if they have fresher produce available. Consider also buying a combination of ripe (for consumption now) and unripe (for later) fruit and veg (bananas, tomatoes for example).

    Um... (4.00 / 1) (#57)
    by Protagonist on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 04:36:35 PM EST

    Why in the world are you reluctant to shop food more than once every other week? I mean, assuming there's a store on the way home from work, it'll take you all of ten minutes to grab what you need and get out of there. I personally shop for food every other day. Trust me, no matter how inventive you get with storage techniques, fresh stuff will always taste better than week-old stuff.

    ----
    Hahah! Your ferris-wheel attack is as pathetic and ineffective as your system of government!
    My Bachelor Cooking (and shopping) tips (5.00 / 6) (#58)
    by ToadBoy on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 05:53:36 PM EST

    1) Avoiding prepared foods ("quick foods").
    I'll admit it; I'm a fatty struggling to lose weight. The best thing I ever did was to cut out most of the processed foods from the diet. No more boxed Mac and Cheese, or hotdogs, or pizza pockets. These things are so full of salt, fat, and preservatives, it's not even funny. Top Ramen is particularly bad; one serving is nearly 60% of your RDA for sodium (if prepared as per the directions on the box / bag. Quick foods are also extremely expensive for what you get; I try to live on approximately $35/week as my food budget, and buying prepared foods would blow that in a heartbeat.

    2) Shop once a week, buy less, and plan your meals ahead of time, but don't be afraid to change.
    I usually go shopping once a week (often on Sunday morning), and have worked out the next week's meal plan in advance (usually over breakfast on Friday). That way, I have a dedicated list.

    However, since I also try to live on the cheap, if I see things on sale (such as a ton of pork loin or chicken breasts at a big discount), then I'll switch. Look for coupons or big specials, and plan your meals around that.


    3) Fruits and veggies.
    I make a conscious effort to buy small quantities. I like going shopping, so if I run out, swinging by the store on the way home is no biggie. Instead of buying the 5-lb bag of carrots, buy just a couple. Then there's no waste if you don't use them all. And most veggies and fruit (when in season) are cheap.

    4) Freezing stuff. If you're going to freeze meat, cook it up in a dish first. I find it freezes better. Often, I'll make a stew, or a big pot of chili, and freeze it in several of the small Glad-brand semi-disposable tupperware containers. Months later, it defrosts just fine.

    Oh, and IMHO, don't freeze a good cut of meat. Just buy it fresh when you need it. There are probably good ways to freeze meat, but I've never found them.


    5) Cook your meals ahead of time
    I make Sunday nights my "cook and watch TV" night. I can put on Enterprise, then Futurama, King of The Hill, the Simpsons, and Malcom in the background, and cook to my heart's content. I try and use small containers to partion out things by day and meal. It saves a lot of time during the week.

    During football (American rules) season, I switch to Monday nights, so I can watch MFN.

    6) Perishables:
    Bread: Buy fresh from a bakery. Avoid the prepped stuff. Buy only what you need, and feel free to stop in during the week if you need more.
    Milk: Unless you actually drink it, just buy condensed milk for cooking, and dry creamer for cofffe. Now, I go through a gallon and a half a week, but that's me. Most people I know don't drink milk on a regular basis.
    Lettuce: I usually use the bagged salad mixes. There's usually enough for a week's worth for 1 person, and you don't have to worry about a rotting head of lettuce in the crisper. However, you do pay a price for the convenience.



    Bread and Lettuce!!! (4.00 / 1) (#60)
    by Sir Spankotron on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 06:47:15 PM EST

    After poking through the comments here, I see two recurrent themes:

    1.  Bread molds fast.  I used to have this problem until I took 2 corrective steps.  First, I buy only fresh bread.  I think there's just less spores in it somehow.  Second, I've got a big tupperware box for bread.  I seal bread in there.  It doesn't dry out as fast as in the fridge or freezer, AND it rarely molds before I get to it.  I'm not a big bread eater, so this is a boon.  I also put corn chips in there once, and they stayed fresh for many weeks.

    2.  Lettuce doesn't keep.  What I do, is when I buy lettuce or spinach or $LEAFY_GREEN, I'll be sure to rinse it right away, and get it more or less dry, then put it either in tupperware, or back in the bag.  If it starts to wilt in the plastic, I'll add a few drops of water.  Regardless, I find if it's already rinsed and in manageable chunks, I can just grab some and toss it in a salad or sandwich with no work at all.

    yay


    Almost non-perishable milk (none / 0) (#62)
    by Lynoure on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 07:14:38 PM EST

    At least in Finland there is a kind of low lactose milk that is packed in a way that makes it keep for months unless opened. After opening it stays good for about 5 days.

    The negative side is of course slightly higher price (not as high as non-lactose milk). It being low lactoce can be a good thing (if you are sensitive to lactose) or bad thing (if you do not like the slightly sweeter taste) but anyway it works well in hot drinks, cooking and baking and if you do not mind the taste difference, it's also drinkable as it is.


    here in the States, too (none / 0) (#65)
    by lowca on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 07:53:06 PM EST

    Some grocery stores here sell long-lasting milk like what you mentioned. One brand, an Italian one called Parmalat, is very highly pasteurized milk that can last up to six months. It only keeps as long as regular milk once opened, however. I usually just buy regular milk, myself; it's cheaper.

    http://www.parmalatusa.com/

    ---

    "Every government is a parliament of whores. The trouble is, in a democracy the whores are us." - P.J. O'Rourke, Parliament of Whores

    [ Parent ]

    What everybody else said... (4.00 / 1) (#63)
    by lowca on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 07:45:50 PM EST

    ... and, get membership at a wholesale club - Sam's Club, Costco, BJ's, wherever. You can buy non-perishable items (and some perishable ones) by the caseload there - toilet paper, ketchup, cleaning supplies,* etc. Even if you're single (like myself), the savings more than make up for the membership fee you'd have to pay.

    Hell, some stores even have cheap members-only gasoline stations, like the Sam's Club near my place. Of course, you don't buy gas by the barrel there. ;-) It's just like a regular gas station, except that 1) it takes credit cards only, 2) you need to swipe your membership card before pumping, and 3) there's no convenience store.

    * Not that I use them very often - bachelor living hath its privileges. ;-)

    ---

    "Every government is a parliament of whores. The trouble is, in a democracy the whores are us." - P.J. O'Rourke, Parliament of Whores

    About gasoline at wholesale places... (none / 0) (#71)
    by fenster blick on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 10:17:27 PM EST

    I've heard that wholesale clubs like Sam's often sell gas that is of a lower quality than what you would find at Exxon or elsewhere. So it's probably not something you want to fill your Porsche with :-)

    Furthermore, most Exxons sell gas at cost or for a few pennies more. They mostly make their money in the convenience store.

    [ Parent ]

    Re: Gas Prices (none / 0) (#73)
    by Canthros on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 11:56:49 PM EST

    Furthermore, most Exxons sell gas at cost or for a few pennies more. They mostly make their money in the convenience store.
    Funny, around here, the gas stations are pretty blatantly gouging people. Prices have been known to jump 20+ cents on days when the one and only gas distributor in town hasn't been through.

    --
    It's now obvious you are either A) Gay or B) Female, or possibly both.
    RyoCokey
    [ Parent ]
    Grow your own veggies (4.50 / 2) (#64)
    by agentk on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 07:52:29 PM EST

    Grow your own vegetables, and you can pick 'em when you need 'em. They're tastier too when you've just pulled them out of your vegetable patch, pot, or windowbox.  If they're getting too ripe on the plant, give some to a friend.  Eggs and milk and other perishables can be got in small quantities at the local store.

    My local small non-chain grocery has somewhat more expensive packaged foods, but the vegetables are local, fresh and cheap!  And that means delicious.

    Regarding meat: one option that works for me is to eat meat a lot less, lately not at all. It's easier, healthier and in general causes less pollution and uses less land, water, grain and other resources.  

    soy milk (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by jeffycore on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 09:37:01 PM EST

    soy milk lasts about 3 weeks longer than normal milk. i personally think it tastes better too.

    even longer unopened (4.00 / 1) (#81)
    by raygundan on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 12:53:15 PM EST

    It will last for years unopened and unrefrigerated. I usually clear out the store's stock when it's on sale, and just keep it in a closet.

    [ Parent ]
    Rice Milk as well (none / 0) (#84)
    by shyy on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 01:44:12 PM EST

    The same goes for rice milk and I, personally, like the taste better than soy milk. Give it a try and see what you like. I generally like the Rice Dream brand.

    [ Parent ]
    If you do not mind paying $4 a "box" (none / 0) (#103)
    by jcolter on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 01:38:11 PM EST

    Sorry but this made me laugh.  My ex-girlfriend was a vegan and into soymilk.  I personally abhor the taste (and the sickly sweat aftertaste for that matter).  

    Not to mention how expensive it is.  I find it better to just by milk and throw it away when it inevitably goes bad.  

    [ Parent ]

    Soymilk is not that expensive (none / 0) (#116)
    by coleslaw on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 05:30:03 PM EST

    Goodness!  Where do you get your soy milk?  I just walk into some asian place where they press it fresh.  They fill up a couple jugs with warm, fresh soymilk and off I go.

    Soya beans are sort of an acquired taste.  In fact, I don't notice any special or distinct taste at all from drinking soy milk or eating tofu; but that probably has to do with my upbringing.

    [ Parent ]

    don't forget lactose free milk (2.00 / 1) (#106)
    by sacrelicious on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 06:31:00 PM EST

    for whatever reason, lactose-free milk also tends to last 2-3 weeks longer.
    lactose free means: just milk with the lactose already broken down... it tastes much sweeter, but has the same calories as normal milk.

    Funny thing is, in europe, they use UHT milk, which they sell in bricks on the shelf (no need to refrigerate until opening). Shelf life is approx. 6 months or so (until opening).

    [ Parent ]

    Four Words: (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by randinah on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 09:49:46 PM EST

    Make A Shopping List!!

    Oh yeah, and stick to it, too! I have also found that shopping once a week works pretty well, and allowing myself one little "freebie" item at the end of my shopping list to satisfy my desire to impulse by those really yummy Double Stuffing Oreo Cookies.


    "Why waste time learning when ignorance is instantaneous?"
    Agreed! (none / 0) (#93)
    by adamm9 on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 05:23:41 PM EST

    The simplest way to effectively shop is to make a list, and stick to the list. I take the time to pick out new recipes to try during the week and compose the list based on those choices. When you go to the market, purchase only those items on your list. Also, go shopping on a full stomach. You can avoid making those hunger-based impulse buys.

    [ Parent ]
    I have this problem bad (none / 0) (#72)
    by blisspix on Sun Aug 04, 2002 at 11:29:56 PM EST

    My partner and I get to the supermarket maybe once a month. It's sort of close by, but a major hassle, because we don't have a car and getting a cab is difficult.

    So yes, we resort to restaurants more often than not. we also work late and by the time we get home, do we want to spend the only hour we have left before sleep cooking?

    Your partner? (1.60 / 5) (#74)
    by BLU ICE on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 12:40:35 AM EST


    "Is the quality of this cocaine satisfactory, Mr. Delorean?"
    "As good as gold."

    -- I am become Troll, destroyer of threads.
    It's like an encyclopedia...sorta: Everything2

    [ Parent ]

    what about vegetable delivery services? (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by livus on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 02:43:15 AM EST

    If you really must insist on not shopping every week, have you thought about subscribing to a vegetable delivery group or alternatively ordering online, and paying a small fee to have a larger store deliver your shopping?

    ---
    HIREZ substitute.
    be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
    I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
    I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
    I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

    Freezing Food (4.00 / 1) (#78)
    by craigtubby on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 07:52:04 AM EST

    It all depends with what you do with it.

    As you say, some thing can't be (home)frozen - especially fruit, mainly because those freezers that everyone has work rather slowly.

    With meat either buy straight from frozen, or freeze immediately.  When defrosting, don't take it out in the morning and leave it on the side to defrost - take it out the night before and put it in the fridge.  

    Chicken is probably the easiest frozen meat - just make sure it is fully defrosted before cooking, and defosted tastes that same as fresh.

    Beef/Steak etc is the meat, I think, most affected by freezing.  The only other things than slow defrosting that will save it is are tenderising - get that hammer out and give it a good wacking - and marinading.

    Bread and Milk freeze and defrost easily - no idea why you have problems with curdling - again with milk defrost it in the fridge, but with bread take out the slices you need and defrost each individually, it doesn't even need to be in the fride and takes about 15 mins.  You can toast bread from frozen, and if in a real hurry put it in the microave for 30 seconds or so.

    try to make ends meet, you're a slave to money, then you die.

    * Webpage *

    defrosting milk (none / 0) (#95)
    by geoswan on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 07:37:25 PM EST

    Bread and Milk freeze and defrost easily - no idea why you have problems with curdling - again with milk defrost it in the fridge...

    Like the original poster, I am from Canada. Ontario specifically. And here milk is not sold in bottles. It is sold in cardboard cartons, that hold 250 ml, 500 ml, 1 liter, or 2 liters. Or it is sold in clear plastic bags. Three bags each holding 1 and 1/3 liters cost only a little more than a 2 litre carton, and less than 2 one liter cartons... And when these bags are frozen you can see the milk turn an ugly yellow colour -- as if it had curdled.

    You slide the bag into a specially designed pitcher.

    Anyhow, my contribution is to this thread is to suggest that you can safely defrost your milk more quickly if you fill the kitchen sink with cold water, and float the milk container in it. Water conducts heat 26 times more effectively than air. It should defrost in a about two hours. But the sink will stay cold for hours after it is thawed, so the milk won't start to go sour after it is thawed.

    [ Parent ]

    Just order it online each week. (none / 0) (#82)
    by Phillip Asheo on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 01:14:31 PM EST

    From your local supermarket

    --
    "Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
    -Earl Long

    If you are a linux user (5.00 / 3) (#83)
    by Phillip Asheo on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 01:31:39 PM EST

    You should immediately download and install Grocget for linux. This enables you to combine a boring task (shopping) with a fun thing (hacking around on your linux box). Be the envy of all the other geeks as you whizz round the store shaving valuable seconds off your shop time.

    Impress the cute checkout girl with your neatly printed shopping list with no Gate$ian contamination. Yes, friends, grocget for linux is the way forward. Hopefully someone will do a Win32 port then I can try it out too!

    --
    "Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
    -Earl Long

    Steam/Partially cook, THEN freeze. (none / 0) (#85)
    by Kintanon on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 01:53:22 PM EST

    First of all Onions will stay good for over a month if left in a cool, dark, dry place like a cabinet.
    Second, other vegetables can be steamed or partially boiled then frozen without losing flavor, you might want to look into techniques for that.
    Third, vacuum seal! My wife and I vacuum seal all of our meat products. We buy chicken, etc... when it's on sale, seal it with a marinade, and then freeze it. It keeps it from getting freezer burn or toughening up AND it comes out really flavorful.

    Those are the three things we use to keep our food from spoiling and make things easier on ourselves.

    Kintanon

    been there (none / 0) (#88)
    by hotpix on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 02:45:01 PM EST

    I used to just buy whatever looked good in the store, and then realize that I had only half the ingredients for any given dish I felt like making, and an alarming amount of the food started going bad pretty quickly... What I started doing was making a list of all the meals I'd plan to make, and then just buying the food I needed for those dishes. Radical concept, but it took me <ahem> okay, more years than I'll admit to figure it out. Now, I usually shop once a week, but sometimes it gets dragged out longer than that, so some of the same tricks for keeping food good longer are useful to me.

    I stopped buying more beef than I'd need for one or maybe two meals, and eat those right away. For most meals, I eat vegetarian, but there are a lot of meats that freeze well. We get the pre-frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts (get the Kosher ones if you can, they're juicier). You can defrost these in the microwave, but usually, I'll just rinse off the ice with hot water and then cut the chicken into small chunks while it's still frozen (it takes a good chef's knife, which is a worthwhile investment for many reasons). This works best for dishes in which the chicken is simmered for 10 minutes or more, like in a tomato sauce, but small chunks work well even for stir fries.

    Also, I almost never buy fresh tomatoes anymore, except for making salsa or the occasional sandwich. The canned tomatoes are just much better quality than the fresh ones I can get most of the time, and obviously last forever. If you do buy fresh tomatoes, never put them in the fridge: they become mealy and nasty. Store them in a paper bag or other fairly well ventilated container on the counter, in a cool place out of the sun. Try putting a paper towel underneath the tomatoes so that if one starts to go bad, the wet nastiness doesn't seep over into the other ones. Check them frequently and remove any tomatoes that have gone bad and wipe off any scum that got onto the other ones.

    Other meats that freeze well: I freeze bacon. You obviously can't separate the bacon into regular slices that way, but I use that sharp chef's knife again to cut crosswise against the slices for slivers or juliennes of bacon - so instead of cooking slices of bacon and then crumbling into pieces to add to a pasta or rice dish, I start out with small pieces.

    I've found a couple kinds of frozen heat & serve sausages that taste fine chopped into pieces and added to dishes. Also, Italian sausages (the kind you take out of the casing and crumble) can be used instead of ground beef for certain dishes and I've found it freezes better than ground beef. But you do have to defrost them, as using the microwave ends up cooking parts of the sausage before it's unfrozen enough to remove the casing.

    Don't forget canned tuna fish. Not exactly gourmet, but whatdyawant?

    Milk should be fine for your two week period - is it really going bad? Eggs, the same. Onions - cool dark place, not the fridge.

    Cheese - if you're currently buying pre-shredded cheese, chunks of cheese would last longer, and as somebody else already pointed out, you can always cut off the outside layer of mold on a chunk (but not on preshredded). For hard cheese, just put in plastic bags. For softer cheeses, like cheddar or monterey jack, if you're having a problem with them getting moldy, try wrapping the cheese in wax paper or parchment paper so it's not touching the inside of the plastic bag.

    Lettuce - I think here you've got to re-address your priorities. Either you want fresh lettuce enough to shop more often, or you give it up. Others have already commented on this, but to reiterate, the big thing is to keep it from being too moist.

    If you ever buy fresh herbs like parsley, rinse them off and shake to remove as much moisture as possible. Then store them in a jar or plastic cup filled with water - like a bouquet of flowers - in the back of your fridge. It will last a lot longer than in a bag in the crisper. Advanced technique, if you can remember: save the plastic bag the parsley came in. After putting the parsley in the fridge, come back some hours later to see whether the residual moisture has finally evaporated, and then put the plastic bag lightly over the top of the "bouquet" like a hair net. This will keep it at the right level of moisture. (If you put the bag on right away it gets too soggy.)

    I use lots of frozen vegetables and dry foods, like huge bags of rice and lots of dried pastas and frozen pastas (e.g., tortellini) - just add onions, garlic, and canned tomatoes, mmm.


    "Hey, I've been around! Well, maybe not around, but I've been nearby!" - Mary Tyler Moore

    fresh herbs (none / 0) (#104)
    by Hakamadare on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 02:49:00 PM EST

    If you ever buy fresh herbs like parsley

    an even better way to address the issue of fresh greenstuff is to remember that herbs don't start wilting and going bad until you cut them off the plant.  so buy a bunch of cheap plastic flowerpots and a big bag of potting soil, plus a bottle of plant food, and start growing herbs on your windowsills.

    no, really.  it's easy.  i'm utterly plant-incompetent, and i can do it.

    i would recommend starting with basil, thyme, and rosemary.  all three of these are fairly hardy, and you have your choice of buying packets of seeds, or buying living plants at your local garden store.  first thing to do is to repot them, if you bought live plants - the little plastic trays in which they are sold are way too small.  fill a flowerpot halfway with potting soil, gently dig the plant out of the plastic tray (leaving as much dirt clinging to the roots as possible), place the plant in the half-filled flowerpot, pour more potting soil over the roots until they're completely covered, and smush down the soil with your hand.  water immediately.

    once you've done this, place the plants in a sunny location (rosemary actually does better in partial shade, so put it at one end of the windowsill instead of the middle; basil, on the other hand, loves the sun).  next, mix up a batch of plant food; my SO and i were using plastic juice bottles until our flowerpot-garden grew too numerous for that to be practical, whereupon i invested in a watering can, but it's not necessary.

    water your plants daily.  give them the plant food mixture every couple of days (or, hell, every day - it doesn't seem to do them any harm).  and whenever you want to add fresh herbs to salads, omelettes, pizzas, rice, soup, sandwiches, you name it, just step over to your little garden with a pair of sharp scissors and snip off a few leaves!  be judicious in your snipping at first; it's a good idea to wait until you notice new growth before you start harvesting.  once the plants get established, though, they show an amazing regenerative ability; over the course of this summer we've harvested many times the plants' body weight of leaves from our prolific basil plants, as well as plenty of thyme (and the clump of thyme is larger than when we got it).

    good luck,
    steve
    ---
    Schopenhauer is not featuring heavily on the "Review Hidden Comments" page at the moment. - Herring
    [ Parent ]

    Forgot to Address Fruit! (4.50 / 2) (#89)
    by Kintanon on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 02:45:06 PM EST

    We deal with Fruit by making SMOOTHIES! These things ROCK and can be frozen, defrosted, and reblended later. We throw a banana, some strawberries, some orange juice, some ice and maybe a little water if it's too thick, into a blender. WHIRRRRRRRRRRRRR for a few minutes, and bammo. Excellent smoothie. You can throw all kinds of fruit in there, apples, oranges, etc... some stuff works better than others though. Great way to get your fruit.

    Kintanon

    damn! (none / 0) (#92)
    by hyperstation on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 03:56:46 PM EST

    why didn't i think of that? thanks!

    [ Parent ]
    smoothie recipes (none / 0) (#99)
    by auraslip on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 03:09:46 AM EST

    I usally use two bannanas and whatever I can dfind around my house. Orange juice is common. Milk or cream works well to make it creamy. Sometimes I add one or two scoops of vannila Ice cream. Often when I can't make a very good smooth I'll add some sugar ( two table spoons?). I don't think frozen strawberrys are very good, I tried them this week and they just made it look red but had no real flavor. Fresh strawberrys seem to have the same affect with a little bit of flavor. I also tried "fresh" pineapple, it was in a glass jar with very good juice (I enjoyed it more then the pineapple). But once again, I didn't really taste it much. I don't think I added enough maybe? I've never tried an orange but I will one day. Apples give it a distinct texture, not too bad, but intresting. Samething with pears, but pears are much better. I also once tried adding jam. It added color and flavor So here is how my smoothie recipe is usally: 1/3 ice (cubed so anything I pour in fills there too) two bannas a couple frozen strawberrys orange juice milk Maybe you can help me out cause it isn't nearly as good as I used to make them.
    124
    [ Parent ]
    Our recipe (none / 0) (#102)
    by Kintanon on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 12:39:38 PM EST

    We usually do 1/2 full with ice, fill with OJ up to the top of the ice or a little higher, 2 bananas, a packet of cherry koolaid flavoring, some rasberries when we can get them (A BIG handful, and after we've removed seeds if there are any), we do like to add strawberries, even if you can't taste them much, but sometimes I'm not too fond of the little black seed bits that they add, so I leave them out frequently. I don't add extra sugar, usually the OJ is sweet enough and I like a kind of Tart smoothie anyways. After a few minutes I usually add more ice to keep it thick.

    Kintanon

    [ Parent ]

    Correction to recipe (none / 0) (#105)
    by Kyrina on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 04:42:26 PM EST

    As the person who makes these I'd like to add I usually use a half a packet of koolaid (currently strawberry lemonade) and some sugar.
    If not I add about 1/4 of honey.

    Kyrina

    [ Parent ]

    Not spoiling. . . (none / 0) (#90)
    by McDick on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 03:20:46 PM EST

    Get some "Glad" 1 gallon zip lock bags. Put ALL fruits and veggies in them, make sure you get MOST of the air out as well. . .WORKS GREAT for tomatoes, lettuce, etc. . .

    McDick Technologist
    well if your having trouble with fruits (none / 0) (#96)
    by techwolf on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 01:10:30 AM EST

    then get em' before they get ripe. then just grab a bag and throw one or two in with a bananna, then place on counter. by night or the next morning both fruit and bananna will be ripe for the eating.

    other than that just shop twice a week, or let your GF do it:)


    "The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson

    Any suggestions for someone with no fridge? (none / 0) (#97)
    by phr on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 01:31:27 AM EST

    For vaguely space-related reasons I decided to get rid of my fridge at my current residence (the "vaguely" means don't tell me to get a smaller fridge--I have no fridge at all and want none). Can anyone suggest food strategies? Basically I can keep nonperishables (canned stuff, pasta, rice, etc). around and I have a supply of it. Fruits, vegetables etc. keep for a few days so I'm ok with that. If I want to cook some fish or something, I get a portion's worth (e.g. 200 grams) at the store, bring it home, and use it all immediately, so no storage needed, which also works, though it means a trip to the store, which is closed at night. The problem is stuff like cheese, spaghetti sauce, sausages, whatever. You really can't buy 50 grams of cheese at the store for a sandwich. You usually have to buy 200 grams or more, which is too much to use all at once, and it's hard to keep without refrigeration.

    What ends up happening is I make an awful lot of rice, spaghetti, etc. which are all high-carb foods. I'd rather make high-protein stuff, but aside from canned tuna which I'm sick of, it's hard to figure out good ingredients that I can keep around at home. Any suggestions?

    dunno, it's kinda tough (none / 0) (#111)
    by sacrelicious on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 08:23:59 PM EST

    I remember this kind of problem from my wilderness dayz, but...

    This seems like a real difficult thing to deal with. Furthermore, although I respect your decision, I don't know of many other people willing to put themselves through that. Doubt you're gonna get many useful replies.

    [ Parent ]

    Electric cooler? (none / 0) (#118)
    by nightfire on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 11:30:39 PM EST

    Well, it's sort of a fridge, but much smaller.  Have you considered one of those little electric coolers intended for cars/RVs?  They're cheap, small enough to stuff under a table, and could hold enough to get you by (a few fruits/veggies, condiments, meat, etc.

    [ Parent ]
    Tips (4.00 / 2) (#98)
    by servant on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 02:57:59 AM EST

    As far as milk goes, my local natural foods store carries an organic milk (much tastier too) that comes in quarts and you can store at room temp for months without worrying about it spoiling. Another thing is to use that freezer for more than your ice cube trays. I use small ziplock bags so this way I can split some spaghetti sauce in portions. When I'm hungry, I take one out, defrost it and have dinner ready. Glad and Ziplock also make these great "disposable" Tupperware-like containers that are reusable and very inexpensive compared to real Tupperware. If you leave something in the ice box for too long and it has gone bad, you can throw it away without losing money. For recipies, call mom. She raised a family and has had to cook dinner quick many times. She knows simple recipies that anyone can cook and she can also give you little hints about substitutions for ingredents and handy little things like that. Here's a handy one that my mom gave me that my friends and I have been enjoying for years. It's very easy, very cheap and I have had nothing but rave reviews from it. Don't question the ingredients, it's really good: Easy Beef Tips and Gravy: 2 lbs stew meat (or 2 lbs cube steak, cut into 1" cubes 1 can cream of mushroom soup 1 pkg onion soup mix 1 12 ounce can of Sprite or 7Up Throw all ingredients into a crock pot. Cook on high for three hours. Serve over egg noodles or white rice. Freezes well. Yeild: 6. Also, try posting a thread on chef2chef.com. It's mostly restaurant workers but there is an area where you can ask for advice and I have recieved a ton of advice from people there. They are all very friendly and would be more than happy to offer any advice that they have. If your local newspaper carries "Dear Heloise", read it every day. It's a little Ann Landers type column but for handy tips around the house. There is a lot of good ideas there. Yeah, she's a big bitch but Martha Stewart has some great, easy to prepare recipies. Next time you are in the bookstore, check her books out and see if anything sparks your interest. While you're there, look for books along the lines of simple cooking. There are easy delicious recipies in there and also a lot of handy tips for the kitchen. Also check with a local gormet foods store. They offer cooking classes that you sign up for one at a time. It covers the cost of food and you get to cook it yourself, eat a nice meal, hopefully get wine pairings with your meal and you get to meet new people. It's also nice to learn about your food. I work in a fine dining restaurant and it's really interesting to see where the dish came from, the history behind it and how to prepare it. Another hint: as a bachelor, ask a girl on a date for these cooking classes. They love it, they like that you want to know how to cook good food and it's a lot of fun. Much better than the trite dinner and a movie. Go ahead and drop the money to stock up on the basics to keep on hand. For a basic kitchen I suggest: Salt Flour Sugar White vinegar Red wine vinegar Balsamic vinegar Olive oil Vegatable oil Butter (real butter with no salt added) Boullion cubes (chicken, beef and vegatable) Pepper grinder Oregeno Chili powder Cumin Garlic powder Paprika Celery salt Onion flakes Crushed red pepper Seasoned salt Dry soup mixes (onion, beef, chicken, veggie) Plenty of pastas (spaghetti, penne, macaroni, fettucini, rissoto, orzo, egg noodles, etc.) As a bachelor with no roommates, another thing that I like to do is cook for my neighbors. It's very enjoyable and I love feeding my friends. It's hard to cook for just one person so i like to share my meals. A good meal tastes better when you can share it with someone. You will also find that the favor gets returned very quickly. Last night I cooked burgers for 15 people and just asked that each one bring a bottle of wine and throw me a few dollars for my costs. I spent $80 at the grocery and we all ate well and had a great time. We had salads, burgers, chicken and baked beans with more wines than we could sample. Each of us had this great time for under $15 a piece. Much better than spending $5 on a frozen pizza and then going to the bar and spending $30 to hopefully have a good time. Our dinner parties are always fun and everyone leaves happy with a full belly. I hope that I have been of help. Happy cooking!

    My god man, format that comment (3.00 / 2) (#110)
    by sacrelicious on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 08:18:32 PM EST

    Before you hurt someone!

    [ Parent ]
    format (none / 0) (#112)
    by servant on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 11:02:55 PM EST

    Sorry to do that to you. I was taken aback to see all of the grammar skills I had been taught look like that. I don't know what it is...I just started reading k5 yesterday and I guess there are a few tricks that I haven't learned. Any advice would be appreciated.

    [ Parent ]
    organic (none / 0) (#119)
    by transcend on Thu Aug 08, 2002 at 03:23:51 PM EST

    As far as milk goes, my local natural foods store carries an organic milk (much tastier too) that comes in quarts and you can store at room temp for months without worrying about it spoiling.

    And that you call "organic"? Now, I'm not sure about the term, but that kind of milk is anything but real. Real milk (freshly milked) at room temperature usually spoils in less than 24 hours, and in 36-48 hours at room temperature it turns into perfectly good product that resembles buttermilk.

    The stuff that looks like milk (but definitely does not taste like one), that can be kept at room temperature for months is UHT - ultra high temperature (200-300'C) - pasteurized, and most likely "enriched" with antibiotics or, better yet, with chemicals used in the laundry detergent, like chlorides (works even better than antibiotics)

    [ Parent ]

    milk (none / 0) (#121)
    by servant on Fri Aug 09, 2002 at 04:10:46 AM EST

    That's great that you spent time to tear me apart for what I have learned. I worked in a natural foods warehouse for years and the company that produced this milk went through a lot of trouble to develop a special container to store milk at room temperature. Yes, it is organic and was produced from grain fed, free range cows. Could it be that I wasn't talking about leaving a glass of milk on the counter for months? Could it be that you don't know what the fuck you are talkng about? could it be that you haven't researched every type of storage process in the entire world. In my opinion, those who spout off a ton of shit in numbers usually don't know what the fuck they are talking about. You could have asked what brand of milk it was and what their storage process was and I would be happy to tell but instead you decided to be a complete asshole about the entire situation.

    [ Parent ]
    For shredded cheese (none / 0) (#107)
    by gmol on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 07:40:36 PM EST

    Big bags of shredded cheese are great for many things (nachos, pizza, just on crackers, soup etc.).

    Buy one and keep it in the freezer, it'll never go bad.

    Silly but simple (none / 0) (#113)
    by jbm on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 12:11:26 PM EST

    "Peas porridge hot,
    Peas porridge cold,
    Peas porridge in the pot
    Nine days old."

    Chili makes for about two nights, and if you need it 10 days in the freezer. But when you're heating it up add lots of spices & pick up sourdough bread or something other than plain crackers/white bread.

    I usually pick up food every other night.

    Your freezer is your friend (none / 0) (#117)
    by digitalmedievalist on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 06:37:25 PM EST

    First, never shop without a list. When you sit down to make your list, perhaps with the local grocery specials advert in front of you, make it thinking of what you will cook and eat for the next two weeks. Do this in the most casual way, I'm not suggesting a written menu, but if you know you'll probably want x number of dinners come up with a rough list of what they'll be. Plan at least one no cooking/no clean up meal a week. When you shop, make sure that you're not hungry. Eat something first. I notice when I'm hungry I tend to buy more.

    Second, if you're going to buy in bulk, then cook in bulk. Make pasta sauce, chili, stew, casseroles, enchiladas, and freeze them in ziplock bags or rubbermaid or tupperware plastic containers. You can easily pop one into the fridge when you're getting breakfast, and it'll be thawed or close to it when you get home.

    You can buy grated cheese and keep it in the freezer, extracting a handful to put on pizza, pasta, salads, casserole at need. You can keep potatoes, carrots, onions for a month or two, easily.

    Canned tomatoes, canned corn, olives, are quite edible and will keep. Frozen vegetables will also keep and you can use part of a bag and leave the rest frozen. You can even freeze fresh pasta in those rectangular containers from the refridgerated section. Bread freezes well too, though you might want to split it into smaller packages. When you do freeze things like bread or meet, double wrap them, especially meat. If you're buying bulk meat and freezing it, you may need to rinse it off first. Don't refreeze uncooked meat or vegetables; if it's thawed, ya gotta cook it.

    In between pay days/big shopping, pick up a few vegetables, eggs, milk, things that won't keep. Make a list first. You might want to have a special budget for this to help control the natural desire to over shop.

    Shopping and cycling. (none / 0) (#120)
    by Matadon on Thu Aug 08, 2002 at 03:41:39 PM EST

    I like shopping for food (c'mon, what guy doesn't?), I like eating food, but I don't like being fat.  Would be rectal-pain-inducing, except for this little secret:

    I ride my bike to the store about three times a week.

    I've got a rack-trunk and a set of panniers, and I probably look a little stupid with the helmet and such, but it's a small price to pay -- I get in a litle workout (five miles to the store and back), don't spend money on gas, and can't do the load-the-cart-thing, because I don't have room on the bike to take home more than I planned for.

    Plus, since I go so often, my food is always fresh.

    It doesn't take more time than driving, either -- considering that my "parking space" is right up in front (I latch my bike to the cart-keeper), or I sometimes take the bike through the store and use it like a shopping cart.  You also save a whopping five cents for bringing your own bag.

    --
    "There's this thing called being so open-minded your brains drop out." — Richard Dawkins.

    Bachelor shopping/food storage techniques? | 122 comments (118 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
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