the last visible dog (intertext) wrote,
the last visible dog
intertext

Grocery Shopping Rant

Now that I have been On My Own for well nigh a year, I wish to discourse at some length on a topic of some annoyance to me: to whit, the difficulty of shopping for groceries for one person. Even shopping for two is bad enough, but for one is terrible. Those of you lucky enough to reside in the UK, with access to lovely Waitroses and M&Ss and Tescos, with their gorgeous array of small tempting portions of all variety of foodstuffs for every budget may smugly avert your eyes, or read on, in sympathy for those of us in North America.

I get so tired of being unable to get single portions of things. It's fortunate that I have several four-legged friends who can share a can of tuna or sardines, but what about soup? And it seems the smaller your budget, the larger the sizes. The supermarket near me with the lowest prices is also the one where I am unable to buy less than 1 litre of milk (which I can't finish before its sell-buy date) or an unbelievable 2 litres of soy-milk!

And the absolute worst is vegetables. Forget salad. You have two options there: you can buy the loose organic mix where you can get a very small amount but it goes bad after about two days, or you can get the stuff in the plastic clamshell. The consensus from friends of mine in the same boat is that the clam shell stuff is fresher and lasts longer and you can see the sell-buy date, but still I've never yet finished a whole package before it went off. Why the HELL can't they make small clamshells? They do, in fact, because they use them to sell pre-fab caesar salad for one at exorbitant prices. But why can't they do a nice fresh baby greens mix in a half shell? Notice I'm not even talking about whole lettuces or anything like that because they're just too big and wasteful. I don't remember the last time I actually finished a cucumber. And don't get me started on bean sprouts or snow peas, which for some reason our local supermarket has stopped selling loose and only sells in packages large enough to serve a Chinese New Year's banquet. Yeah, I know, you should buy local, fresh produce. But not all of us are lucky enough to live near a produce market or have a car to get to one, or the time to shop more than once or twice a week.

To be honest, things have improved, but when I thought about it I realized that "they" seemed to think that whoever it was who was buying small portions of things was a) relatively well off and b) had fairly sophisticated tastes, that is would prefer something with sun dried tomatoes and avocado oil to Kraft dinner.
Being, in fact, both of the above, I guess I shouldn't complain (except about the vegetables), but what about my student woman or man on a very tight budget, forced to eat monotonous meals for lack of small portions? What about the blue collar man who buys bulk luncheon meat and puts it in the freezer? I still remember my university friend Michael, who bought a case-lot of tuna and ate tuna-fish sandwiches every day for almost a whole term.

There are glimmers of hope: "Single Gourmet" microwave pizza! Wonderful. Stouffers single serving lasagna is divine. (for those of us in Victoria) Thrifty's stuffed chicken breasts and the Market on Yates (but that's pretty high-end). Let this trend continue! Can it be all that difficult to cater to the single person? Are there so few of us????
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  • 15 comments

  • RIP Ray Bradbury

    I wanted to write something about Ray Bradbury

  • The Weakness in Me

    Robinson's death has hit me hard. Also, the general feeling of doglessness. I haven't been without a dog, except for when on holiday, for eighteen…

  • Profound Gifts

    My tribute to Robinson, blogged elsewhere.