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A Week of Groceries

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There was a recent interesting thread on SlowTalk discussing the book Hungry Planet, What the World Eats. It's a collection of photo essays documenting families from around the world gathered around their weekly groceries. There were some obvious connections made between industrialised societies with their huge amounts of processed and packaged foods, and less affluent communities with much simpler, more basic foods.

Today when we returned from the weekly shopping, I amused my husband by laying everything out and snapping a photo. Here's what we bought, although not everything fit in the picture:

oranges
lemons
strawberries
melon
broccoli
tomatoes
lettuce mix
scallions
shredded carrots
bananas
watermelon
cilantro
onions
garlic
parsnips
butternut squash
cucumbers
canned tomatoes
cheddar cheese
milk
eggs
hummos
flour tortillas
bagels
pasta
pita bread
rye bread
matzoh
sandwich rolls
chicken sausages
chicken thighs
sliced roast beef
sliced turkey
frozen peas
frozen chopped broccoli
salsa

The total bill was $149.45. I had always thought our grocery bill was high, but it's actually quite low in comparison to some of the families. This is enough for breakfasts, snacks, sandwiches for lunches, and three dinners-- pasta with sausage and vegetables, cheese quesadillas, and baked apricot chicken, with sides of salads, broccoli, and roasted vegetables. Produce is really expensive here, making healthy eating problematic for families feeling the pinch. I had some convenience foods, like the prewashed lettuce mixes, shredded carrots, and peeled squash; two frozen vegetables; and two canned or bottled items. This isn't everything we'll eat all week, as I buy some things in bulk and store them in the pantry (cereals, pasta, rice, grains, etc.) or freezer (meats). After looking at the photos of other families, I notice that we don't buy drinks except for milk (and wine, which I didn't include) and very little in canned or frozen prepared meals. If this pile of groceries had included my monthly trip to Trader Joe's there certainly would have been more frozen foods--chinese chicken dumplings, waffles, enchiladas, and ravioli are our staples from there. And the bill would be much higher, as you certainly pay for convenience.

But no, frozen fish sticks have never graced my freezer. This is Boston, and fresh fish, while getting increasingly pricey, is easily available.

Odds are I'll be in the grocery store again by Thursday. Two teen boys can easily go through this in four days.


Comments (3)

Eden:

Where are the bottles of vino to go with groceries? :)

Your shopping outcomes look pretty healthy and should cure your NTOH depressive disorder... well almost.

Thanks Amy for doing this, it is so interesting, I really should try this, too.

Kim:

Hmm...maybe I should do that tomorrow but it won't include our Whole Foods run from today (which beat your weekly shopping trip and that was to pick up a few odds and ends.)

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