How to avoid food shopping

This one doesn’t quite seem my style, given my much-professed love of food. And, indeed, of food shopping, sometimes as though I am feeding a garrison rather than a family of three.

(Junior Reader is eating more and more now, though, so maybe the garrison is along the right lines.)

So it’s a bit strange to find myself avoiding food shopping, several times in a row.

I blame illness. Looking after someone else who just keeps being sick, you go off and hide when you need to eat something yourself. Dan helped out a couple of times, I cooked lack-lustre dishes at other times.

Then I blame spring-cleaning related injuries. Or rather, aches and pains that might turn into injuries if I go and do a full food shop. So I identify the essential to buy at the local shop that I can walk to, and put things off a bit more.

After that, I can blame a shift in routine. Conflict of interests on my usual food shopping day? Put it off again. And so on.

It may also be part of the general clearing things out phase at the moment. You get rid of things in one corner of the house, you do the same in another. You try not to bring any more in. You continue not to go food shopping.

So then you start to see how much you have in the house that you can turn into meals. Turns out, a good amount. Tins, grains, protein in the freezer one way or another.

I thank my earlier self for cooking bulk at times – and work my way through the stores.

Last year, I ended up reading about food spending challenges – where you set a budget for the month and stick to it. By week 4, everyone is cooking weird combinations of what’s left at the back of their cupboards, and hanging on in there.

I’m not at that point. But in some ways, it’s good to try. I remember challenges where you voluntarily reduce what you eat for a period of time, thinking of others for whom that level of eating is their regular diet.

(I found it harder to find examples of this online, but Meat Free Mondays are a step in that direction, even if the focus is more environmental than in support of others in poverty.)

Or the Oxfam banquet-type meals, where a percentage of people get a banquet, and others sit on the floor eating rice and beans – or less. (I think these are maybe not happening so much now, but here’s an example.)

I’ve reached the point where I have to do the food shop tomorrow. So I will. Really.

My garrison doesn’t run well on bread and water rations. And we are fortunate in the West that we can choose (and choose and choose) from so many products.

But maybe that trolley will end up a little less full. And I can save my wrists and my back for more of the sorting out.

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