1 red, 1 orange and 1 yellow bell peppers on blue willow plate

image: 1 red, 1 orange and 1 yellow bell pepper on blue willow plate

|| 20 July 2017

Food Shopping: Enough, But Not Over-Buying

Definitely a challenge. It’s definitely been a challenge for many Chic & Slim readers to develop the chic French women’s technique of keeping a slim pantry: buying enough food for family food needs, but not over-buying. Shopping so that no food is wasted, nor is eaten “because otherwise it would spoil.”

Chic & Slim reader Violet has been working to refine her system for a more French-style food shopping. She acknowledges that much of the problem in the USA is cultural. Merci, Violet, for sharing your experience. She wrote:

I've given some thought to why we seem so determined to over-buy food stuffs. Perhaps it is because in so many places and times in our nation's history people only had what they could provide themselves. Since most of the nation was rural for so long, trips into town were eagerly anticipated. There was always a need to have extras and pantry staples on hand, provided you could keep out the bugs and vermin.

Then came the Great Depression. So many of us of certain age grew up with parents who lived through that challenge, followed by war rations. Having a stash of food was essential to many families' survival.

Now, we see people acting more in their own interests, with no concern for others. Add to that advertising for new snack foods to allay our fears and insecurities, grocers who specialize in product placement to get the most consumer attention (and purchasing), and large "family-sized" packages, and we have a recipe for overbuying and overeating. If the food is in the house, it must be eaten before it spoils. We must not waste food.

I often seek out the bulk foods area in my local stores specifically to avoid the large packages. The downside is that many of these products (at least in my stores) aren't rotated often enough. Many times I come home to discover the "fresh" pumpkin seeds I purchased are rancid. Ugh.

During summer months, I make a point to patronize our local farmers' market. It's a great way to spend Saturday morning, and the produce I get is just the right amount for my family (and it lasts longer, too).

It's easy to overbuy, as I realized when I was on a recent pantry re-stock shopping expedition. I went to 3 stores in 3 hours, then had to take it all home and put it away. As I was restocking, I discovered I have more than enough food in the house for 7- 14 days. If we ever have a disaster, I know my husband and I will be okay on the food front.

Now, I want to work on simplifying my purchasing/storing so as to have better food choices. My husband and I will both benefit from eating in a French-inspired way.

Thanks for all you do to inspire us in our efforts. — Violet

be chic, stay slim — Anne Barone

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