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Grocery News: Thrift

By Katy Killilea

More With LessLatte

Well, I’ve crossed the line: the one between thrifty and cheap. It was an ugly scene that involved two young boys, too few pears, and too many overripe avocados. Sorry, kids. What’s a parent with Boomster scallop dreams and a tilapia budget to do? Shopping at Price Rite, Job Lot, or Building 19 has its place, but only helps so much. For many of us, forgoing the pleasures of buying food in a beautiful setting is far too bleak. And unnecessary. To wit:

1. Buy whatever produce is gorgeous, organic, and on sale. (Caveat emptor re: vast quantities of avocados which are sure to ripen simultaneously.)
2. Buy in bulk: If you use a lot of a particular pantry item, you may be able to get a discount on a whole case.
3. Shop at the Farmer’s Market. Avert your gaze from the pricey jams and focus on the apples and kale, and surely you’ll have $1.50 left for an exquisite cup of New Harvest coffee. Sip slowly, and bask in a sense of luxury on your way out.
4. Give fancy jam as a gift. This allows you the pleasure of selecting and purchasing a small, deluxe object and might ultimately make people love you more. (Everyone likes jam. Raspberry jam.)
5. Make your own sophisticated cleaning products. Leslie Reichert, aka The Cleaning Coach, has written a book that threatens to put Mrs. Meyer’s right out of business. And once you see how well Tang drink mix works in your dishwasher, you’ll be extra glad it has ceased to be a required beverage for children.
6. Think like a Mennonite and stop wasting food. Mennonite cooking emphasizes wasting fewer of the earth’s (obviously limited) resources in order to create a fairer, more humane world. In the cookbook More-With-Less, wholesome, nutritious ingredients (always fun to buy) are used wisely and creatively. These recipes are thrifty in a way that, in some circles, passes as stylish. (Custom-blending your own granola because of your fine palate or frugality? Who can say?)
7. If you have a pricey latte or kombucha habit, learn to make your own, and then open up your living room as a neighborhood speakeasy. You’ll be able to maintain a sense of community while sipping deluxe beverages at a fraction of the retail price.


Have you devised a way to save money on food? Share your ideas, pointers, and favorite resources with us.

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  • This delicious soup I made was so cheap I think I earned money by eating it:

    Cook a chopped onion & garlic in a little olive oil. Add sliced mushrooms. About 2 cups. Add a diced potato, carrot, scallions. Add 8 c vegetable stock or water and 1 pound of lentils. I had French Green lentils. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes.

    I had a parmesan cheese rind so I put that in too. Ground pepper and oregano.

    Sounds plain but is really good. Only few dollars for the whole big pot.

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