Friday, February 4, 2011


You may have noticed that I like to cook. Here's what I ran out of this week, while I was snowed in with nothing to do but hang out in the kitchen:

Flour: unbleached, cake, oat, bread
Oil: sesame, walnut, canola
Rice: arborio, brown, wild mix
Mustard: stone ground, dijon

In addition to the items above, I did not run out of whole wheat flour or corn meal, olive oil, long grain rice, basmati rice, couscous, or pastina, and I always keep a jar of yellow mustard, as well as ground dry mustard. I'm guessing these are things that most people don't have in their kitchens and never miss. But I always have them, and never think twice about restocking when I run out.

There is nothing on that list that I can't do without. I can make perfectly good meals with olive oil and plain old white rice, and I really shouldn't indulge my taste for white flour anyway when wheat is so much better for you (plus you can't find organic white flour to save your life, plus I have plenty of wheat). Bread flour is just a lazy indulgence (although it does make better bread, I swear it).

I stood there with my shopping cart full of these items (and they aren't cheap either) and dithered and rationalized. I am, after all a cook. It's food, not luxury goods. I use all of these things all the time. Just because "ordinary" people wouldn't know a bag of wild rice if it hit them over the head doesn't mean I shouldn't get it. After all, it's ordinary to me. Furthermore, I haven't bought any vegetables in nearly 8 months, since I was so successful at preserving the harvest this year, so that balances it out, right?

Ah, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. I skipped the wild rice and the stone ground mustard. Everything else is in my pantry now.

What's the verdict? Did I violate my rules?


  1. I love wild rice but cannot really afford it and we have pounds of white rice already. Sometimes I still get a small amount of it anyway, it is so good!

  2. I don't honestly know, my own shopping trip is tomorrow and I have spent more time today writing and then crossing off things on my list for this very reason.. I don't need this as I have that in the house that I can switch it with..

    My list started out fairly normal and is now down to about a quarter of that.. I think if its food and its something that we use all the time and its low or there is a really good sale on, I am most likely going to also add it.. but we will see what I decide in the end when I go though checkout.

    It certainly makes you think harder about each thing, that's for sure.

  3. Mocha Fu Man Chu, you are too cute. Does your human let you cook by yourself? ;)

    farmgal, you should have seen me sitting there with my cart full of indulgent foodie items. I must have looked like a nut.

  4. I disagree, Xan, that these are all "foodie" items, but then again we are peas in a pod, are we not? As someone who spends plenty of time in the kitchen you know that these items have certain qualities that can't always be mimicked by adding sugar or salt to flavor. You also keep your health in mind, otherwise you would've filled your cart up with 2/$1 white bread, and 3/$4 frozen dinners. In my book most of those are staple ingredients and last more than a month anyhow. I'd say if you normally stock and use those items then you're not going out of your way to exploit your means. Now if you were eating say... saffron and truffles every night then you may want to rethink your menu. =)

    This month I did skip on the arborio even though I'm craving your squash and risotto. My splurge? A hot chocolate at a book store where I did NOT purchase a book but instead enjoyed my sister and daughter's company.

  5. I too do not think you broke the rules. Those items are on your normal list. I didn't see any chips, cookies or other pre-processed packaged items, so I think you purchase is justifiable as they are things you use regularly. I think it is nice to know you stopped and thought about it because I think that is what makes a big difference in how we shop and spend. I have yet to go to the store since returning home after being gone 2+ weeks. That day will come and I am not sure I will need to think about it. Have been trying to buy just the basics for about a year and have been amazed at the reduction. So far my list has dried cranberries (for making granola bars) and fish oil. I think the list at the hardware store is going to be harder...Emily