Continuing with our “Life as a Bachelor” series, today you’ll learn how to shop for groceries like a refined bachelor. I’m not going to tell you to buy a thirty pack of Miller high life, some Doritos, a roll of bagels, and head over to the express lane. No, in this post you’ll learn how to shop with intent and purpose and hopefully also find pleasure in doing so!
Note, as a responsible adult you should be visiting your local grocery store at least once every two weeks, preferably once a week. Gone should be the days of diner dinners and street cart suppers. There is a calm and soothing ritual to shopping and cooking for oneself and it is my hope that you can integrate these aspects into your weekly routine. So, here are a few things you should keep in mind the next time you’re out grocery shopping.
BUY THINGS THAT KEEP
If you don’t have the time or energy to cook often, make sure you buy things that can keep. Things you shouldn’t buy would be things like fish, any types of seafood, and vegetables that spoil quickly like leafy greens. Instead, opt for meats that can be marinated, kept in the fridge or freezer, and then quickly reheated or repurposed in pastas or sauce based meals. As an example, instead of buying a portion of fish, buy instead a portion of beef sirloin or chicken thighs. You must use the fish in 1-2 days, but for the beef or chicken, you can marinade it, seal it, and keep it in the freezer for a week. Better yet, just buy some bacon or sausages! They keep for weeks and taste delicious in anything. With vegetables, instead of getting kale and spinach, why not purchase carrots and squash? Instead of bananas, why not apples?
The point is this: as a single guy, quite simply, you go as you please. You may have food in the fridge, but if someone calls, you’re out the door. So buy items that can keep for a few days. Also, always buy a dozen eggs, eggs are a bachelor essential and useful in any circumstance. Just think about it, you just paid 20 bucks this past Sunday for two eggs on an English muffin!
OPT FOR FASHIONABLE LABELING
This may seem vain, but you can’t escape the fundamental fact that human beings are attracted to beautiful things. Marketing gurus and advertising folk spend hours upon hours discussing the most attractive slogans, colors, and concepts that make people find their products attractive (trust me, I used to work in advertising!). So when you’re grocery shopping, and if you don’t do it often enough, at least make your products aesthetically pleasing. It’s smart to opt for beautiful labeling because it makes your fridge and your tastes ooze style and refinement, especially when guests are over. Think about it, which bottle leaves a better impression when your guests open your fridge?
SHOP FOR VERSATILITY
Let’s say you’ve been hankering for pasta and because you’re a rookie you buy tomato sauce. Well, because you’re a millennial you change your mind the next day but you’re still stuck with that two-dollar tub of Prego pasta sauce. Lesson you should learn? Shop for versatility. Instead of buying pasta sauce, maybe just buy the real tomatoes or at worst, canned tomatoes. Use the tomatoes to make fresh pasta sauce, and if you’re not feeling it, add them to scrambled eggs and make an omelette. Versatility!
Here’s another pragmatic scenario for you. You just got out of the elevator or restroom and saw this super healthy looking, Whole Foods mimicking, kale salad on your Instagram; a salad tailor-made for the Brooklyn hipster. A salad made with the finest Peruvian almonds, the sweetest cherry tomatoes from the Tuscan valley, and sprinkled, gently of course, with couscous hand-dried under Mount Everest. And it’s healthy of course, and organic obviously. Well, what if your buddy calls you out for a happy hour and in your haste to squeeze two orders of house wine in before 7PM you decide that you don’t want a healthy salad anymore and opt for the fried sampler for two instead? The lesson you should learn? Instead of buying kale or spinach for the healthy salad, buy the zucchini. It’s just as healthy, can be roasted in the oven, chopped and stir fried, or even eaten raw if you’re too lazy. Shop for versatility my friends.
OUR ALL-PURPOSE GROCERY LIST
Having said all this, here is a sample list of groceries that you can carry with two hands, won’t be too expensive, and one that allows you to make some decent meals for yourself or your mates.
- A box of dried penne pasta. Penne because you can pick at it with a fork with no twirling, so the sauce won’t splash all over your Brooks Brothers button down.
- A dozen eggs. Free-range of course, because you about that life.
- 5-6 whole tomatoes, because pasta, or omelettes, or roasted, or even raw if you’re lazy.
- A six-pack of craft beer. Because craft beers don’t give you a hangover.
- A half-pound of walnuts or almonds. Because you care about your physique and if you want a snack please don’t reach for the Pringles.
- Some chicken thighs, because we like flavor.
- Some beef, could be a steak or grounded, because it’s red meat and people secretly love red meat even though they say they don’t because they are worried people will judge them.
- Onions, because it’ll make anything taste better and they last a long time.
- A quart of chicken stock, because you can pour it in a pot, add your tomatoes, add your chicken, add your garlic, salt and pepper, and voila, bachelor soup!
- Pre-minced, bottled garlic, because you’re not kissing anyone tonight anyway.
- Butter, throw it on toast, throw it on your steak, throw a bit into your tomato sauce to thicken.
- Potatoes, because you can fry em, roast em, put butter on them, put steak on them, put tomatoes on them.
- Oranges, because they last a long time, can be put in the fridge if needed, because they help with your immune system, because of your bowels.
- Orange juice, because of all the above, because vodka.
- Peanut butter or any spread. Because it goes well with coffee, is nostalgic, and goes well with jelly.
- Carrots, because they last a long time, can be cooked in a variety of ways. Pairs perfectly well with peanut butter or those tomatoes you forgot to use.
- Granola bars, because you can eat it on the subway to work with your coffee in hand and look like an adult that has his priorities straight. Breakfast!