For today’s Foodie Friday Fun, I want to talk a bit about shopping. I don’t know how you shop for food but I generally don’t go with a list. Oh sure, at my age I write a bunch of stuff down so I don’t forget things that I need to buy but they tend to be the non-food items or staples for the pantry. The menu is generally dependent on what looks good. Of course I have a vague idea of what I want but I’m rarely married to a menu. This drives the other shopper in the house (to whom I really am married) crazy, especially when she’s the one going to the store and the meal instructions are “buy what looks good.”
Of course, you just know that there’s a business point lurking in here…
Some basic ingredients – proteins, for example – are more of an opportunistic buy. Is there an interesting cut of meat available or are shrimp on sale? Produce is very much a seasonal decision – what’s in season, what’s from nearby (you DO try to buy locally, right?), what’s of the best quality? Having a food vocabulary helps a lot. It’s kind of like picking clothes (at which I suck) – matching patterns and colors that go together. Not too many starches (you don’t serve rice and mashed potatoes and pasta together, right?), different textures, complimentary flavors, etc. You probably have this sort of vocabulary but might not have thought about it in terms of meal planning or as you’re shopping. The real key is keeping an open mind and reacting to the conditions at the market.
That’s the business point as well. Things in business often aren’t exactly as we plan (they’re out of halibut – what else works?) and we need to adjust on the fly. The market isn’t going to change for us (unless you get there when the delivery trucks do) and we have the choice of working with what’s available or eating out. In business, that’s not an option. We have to adjust our plans to market conditions and move on.
Try shopping this way – it might just help you elsewhere!