Deciding where you shop and what you purchase is likely your most important step in becoming a good cook. Ingredients can do all the talking in your dishes. Buying local and seasonal foods is usually the most cost effective. It ensures freshness and a variety of food throughout the year. My pantry provides the foundation of My Communal Table and shopping the markets for the best priced meats, seasonal fruits and vegetables provides the interest, intrigue and variety to every dish that I serve.
- Go to more then just one store to shop. Prices and selection vary on certain items in each store.
- Buying anything sliced, chopped, diced adds to the cost of the product. I do it myself.
- Meat: Shop the sales. Lots more options in organic and we make an effort to eat less meat. Take risks with the lesser cuts of meat. Challenge yourself to cook different cuts. You would be surprised how amazing they taste.
- Poultry: Thighs over wings. Popularity of wings drives up the price, but thighs are half the price and full of flavor. Buy more then one whole roasting chicken when they are on sale. Who doesn’t love roasted chicken? Free range and/or organic whenever possible.
- Fish and seafood: Keep to the sustainable list. Fast and easy to make. Big treat in our house because it’s costly and my youngest son is highly allergic to it.
- Fruit: Seasonal, fresh. Frozen berries are always on hand. Organic whenever possible.
- Vegetable: Seasonal, fresh. Frozen peas, broccoli, and corn are always on hand. Organic when possible.
- Bread, Dessert, Soda and Juice: I do not buy much of this stuff. I make the dessert and bread from scratch, but buy an occasional baguette or ice cream. I would rather eat fruit then drink it.