There are those who consider grocery shopping a chore. There are others who genuinely love to do groceries. I’m part of the latter group.
Even when I was still young(er), Mom would ask me whether I want to accompany her to go to the supermarket. Oftentimes, I would say yes, because I like the experience—browsing aisle upon aisle on things that I don’t need nor want, discovering that people do invent weird stuff.
Since I got married, I’ve made grocery shopping some sort of a project. Since my local supermarket (Woolworths) offers fuel discount (4 cents a litre) when I spend AUD 30 or more, that number has become the weekly benchmark. I try my best in shopping the specials, changing my planned meals for the next week should the beef is cheaper than the pork, and vice versa. And it doesn’t really matter if I don’t need other stuff apart from milk, I’d still walk down most of the aisles anyway.
I’d go to several Asian groceries to find out which one sells the cheapest soya bean. And I’d buy fruits at another store—which are of better quality and cheaper price.
Yeap, I really enjoy grocery shopping. I wonder how many of you feel the same.
In those first few months of being married, for some reasons I often do groceries during the weekdays—first probably because I have nothing to do anyway, and second because the pantry and fridge are not yet well stocked. I haven’t had any routine, and I find myself going back to buy milk, coffee beans, or vegetables.
Then I complained to the husband about how heavy the bags are since I need to carry them by myself during the weekday shopping. He told me specifically to do the heavy groceries on the weekends. Of course I take up the offer.
Last week, I asked whether we could go to a different Asian supermarket compared to where we used to go—a bigger one, at a mall that has been renovated extensively since we last went there.
Tjok said sure. Even when the place was twenty minutes further than our local store. Even when it was Saturday afternoon.
There, I walked carefully, slowly, from aisle to aisle, looking at the Korean pear and Chinese fuji apple, finding certain brands of sauces and instant noodles that we can’t find elsewhere. I stuffed the basket, which he carried, with vermicelli, pork floss, instant mee pok, two dozen of eggs, spices, Asian fruits and vegs, and soju. This place is so going to be my local Asian supermarket—it even has a section dedicated for Asian alcoholic beverage.
Putting the red bean paste into the basket, I asked him, “Do you actually like grocery shopping?”
“Okay only,” he said. “But you love it right? I’ll follow lah.”
He spent half the time standing on the corner of an aisle, putting down the basket and catching up on news on his phone. Yet every time I was bringing something heavy in my hands, he would offer to be the one who brought it.
And so I beamed. For even though my marriage is merely six months old, he’s learned to enjoy the things I love doing.
Well that, or he’s just looking forward to his next wonderful homecooked meal.
Ps. I’d like to share a tip on cooking that I find really useful for the past few months: When buying meat, get them in bulk, cut them into pieces, cubes, etc straightaway, and divide them into cooking portions before you freeze them.
The old me would just chuck meat from the supermarket straight into the freezer, and not once in my six years of cooking I’ve done this. But now I find cutting and portioning them straightaway work like magic. If I put all the meat bought from the supermarket straight into the freezer, too often I would end up with too much meat, or have to work with half-frozen state of meat which makes it harder for me to cut.
Plus, it makes cooking so much easier, as it reduced prep time to almost zero (I always find cutting the meat as the most time-consuming thing ever).
Of course, in doing this you already have to know what kind of cooking you want to do, or just cut the meat in different sizes depending on what you feel like cooking next time. For example, when I buy pieces of chicken breasts, I know cut them in stripes, cubes and somewhat smaller cubes, so I can use them for making the usual stir-fry, chicken rice, or chicken noodle.
P.Ps. Another tip? Create a budget. While I am such a window shopper, I never buy things I don’t need.
Photos are used with Creative Commons Zero license.