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Published July 15th 2012
Husbands increasingly taking on the role of supermarket shopping
He's doing a great job but sometimes, just sometimes, I wish he knew everything that 30 years of cooking and feeding a family can bestow.
Rule One: When you decide on a recipe check the pantry to see whether you already have the ingredients. Buying a packet of chillies, sour cream (when there is already some in the fridge) or a new bottle of olive oil sure confounds the household budget.
Rule Two: Better still, when checking the pantry build on what you already have. Then use the Internet and type in some of the key ingredients and the word recipe into the search box. E.g "pasta, tinned tomatoes,cheese, recipe." for the search results click here. You will come up with a myriad of recipes that use those ingredients. Saves buying a whole lot of new items.
There is always something in the pantry to make a meal from.
Rule Three: The freezer exists for a reason besides ice-cubes for Scotch. You buy things when they are cheap and then put them in there for later use. Don't assume that you are out of bread or milk or there is no meat for dinner. Simply take it out of the freezer and defrost it in good time for when it is needed. In other words plan ahead.
Rule Four: When you are shopping and you do see specials such as half-price bread, freeze them.
Rule Five: If you do happen to be out of something like herbs and spices or even vegetables never buy these at the supermarket. Too expensive. Find your local Asian grocery where these things cost a fraction of the price.
Rule Six: Eating is not only about meat and potatoes. A healthy family diet revolves around five servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit a day. Filling those requirements is part of the job of cooking for a family. And yes, it is a job. Often that means finding secretive ways to include vegetables just to confound the kids. Grating carrot and zucchini into bolognaise or casseroles, for example, or putting two serves of fruit in a lunch box.
Rule Seven: Shop at Aldi supermarkets because it is much cheaper. Although often you do have to freeze items because things such as mince or chicken fillets do come in larger lots. See my article on saving money at Aldi here.
Rule Eight: It is okay to use leftovers. These make great lunches when you are home. Or there are dishes, such as bubble and squeak, which use up leftover vegetables and they are delicious.
Rule Nine: It is okay to replace store bought dog food with family leftovers. Our dog has reached the ripe old age of 17 years on this principle probably because she always gets the leftover vegetables my husband doesn't eat. It is not okay however to give a dog its normal meal and the leftovers. They just get fat. The dog that is, not the husband.
Rule Ten: Don't buy specialist cleaning products. Vinegar and water will clean most things and is much healthier to use than a whole lot of chemicals. You save hundreds of dollars a year on this principle alone. Thanks to my step-daughter for teaching me this one.
Finally, thanks for doing the cooking and shopping. But like any new job, there sure is a lot to learn.