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Hoping for the Best is Not a Plan

Lee Manigault

Since we have several PhD's in Food and its Many Uses and Feeding the Family Nightly , we are the perfect experts to lead you through the Grocery Store.  

If you go to the supermarket at 10:30 a.m. you hit the yoga Pilates crowd.  If you go at 3:30 p.m., you slam into after school mom's.  And between 5:30 - 6:00 p.m., you encounter the onslaught of Afterworkers. The Deans like to go at 8:00 in the morning.  We are fresh and plucky and like to get this chore done early.  A small caveat: sometimes deliveries are running late and the selection is from yesterday, not today.  This means a last minute menu change and dinner becomes Bottles, Cans, Boxes and Jars.  

Make sure most of your shopping is done around the perimeter of the store.  Why? Because this is where the vegetables, meats, dairies and wines are located.  These are the items that need to be front and center and filling your grocery cart.  We see too many carts brimming with sodas, boxed snacks, cartons of crackers and cookies and per-prepared frozen dinners.  The Deans cannot stand seeing this much waste in terms of calories as well as money.

Number one rule is to not go shopping with an empty stomach.  You will buy way too much and regret most of your choices.  Rule number two; have a plan about what you want to eat tonight, tomorrow night and what's for breakfast and lunch if you're going to be at home.  Rule number three; in order to be the best prepared, most organized as well as to not waste valuable money - have a written list.  The more you have going on in the rest of your life, the more important the list becomes.  The Deans have both spent time tracking down exotic spices only to return home with one million bags of groceries but not the center piece of the meal.  We know we didn't invent the list, but it's so important that it bares repeating.  Often, we bring the magazine or book we are cooking from with us instead of transcribing so there is no room for error.  

If we see something particularly good-looking or a wonderful sale item, and we are not sure how to use it, we Google the item right in the store to come up with ideas.

If you are a creative person, cooking can be one of the most fun outlets.  Taking a huge array of  non-homogenous items that, alone don't amount to much, and creating one tasty meal, is quite an accomplishment.