Feeding Six: The Shopping Experiences

Feeding six people is not cheap, nor is it quick and easy. Not for this family. Over the years our eating habits have been modified by education, taste preference, prep time available, interests, friends, and finances. We have been in a pretty frugal period, or a beans and rice stage for a couple of years. Regardless of how much we spend at the store, I still manage to spend between 30 and 40 hours a week planning, preparing, cooking, and cleaning up. Fortunately I like my kitchen, I love cooking and I enjoy eating. Planning is another love. Cleaning up, not so much. I try to clean when I am talking on the phone, but I don’t spend that much time on the phone, so the kitchen is never very tidy. As it is we run the dish washer twice a day and request the children clear their own places at the table, but you know, it is just not enough. Having a galley kitchen with an attached dinette (no dining room) also helps. Less to clean.

What I was getting at was the groceries. Since we have taken to getting our vitals by bicycle we have been very mindful of the weight of the items we put into the cart. We also try to stick to one cart. One cart full seems to equal one trailer in both space and weight limit (100lbs or so). Growing up in a family of six, my parents would get two carts, shop every two weeks and take the whole family. If it wasn’t on the list, it didn’t go in the cart, but we never bought one of anything. We needed green beans, we got a flat or two of cans. Stock piling. I have tried this in the past with my own family, but then we feel this compulsion to eat it all. Sticking to the list is about the only habit I have kept.

Simple Shopping
When we set out to do our car-free August I speculated I would drive to do my grocery shopping when the month was over. I am very surprised to report that we are going to continue ferrying our groceries by bicycle. It may mean more trips initially and slightly more planning for weather and time. It may mean only going out for groceries and not looping in extra errands. It doesn’t mean we have to give up our family shopping, as we have shown a few times this past month (here and here). It also doesn’t mean we can’t get frozen goods on 90 degree days or our seven loaves of bread. We have transported glass, produce, eggs, many gallons of milk, and ice cream without any incidences. The children gripe because the store we now shop, because it’s closer to home and closer to the bike path, doesn’t carry as many toys. This little Kroger on the western side of town just doesn’t have the variety I have come accustom to, and like. Yet, this makes things simple. Less choice is often a great thing. I needed quinoa last week and they didn’t have it, but they had bulgar wheat. I made the tabbouleh the traditional way because the choice was made for me through a reduction in options. Simply.

Now about those two trips. Brent, Oliver and I went to the store on Friday morning. Brent wanted to go with us. We just love biking together that much. Other than the company I kept for him, I was only useful to putting things in the cart and bags. Brent did all the work of hauling it home. Yet, this is good time for us. Away from our screens and our roof and away from the distraction of house responsibilities.

Friday’s Trip
Things of note on our Friday trip were the cabs we saw coming and going to pick up passengers and groceries. First Friday of the month? Perhaps. We also got home and realized our “quick trip to get a few things” was still a 100lb load.

Yellow Cab in Huntington.

We really did go in for a light trip….but since was hauling, I added some heavier things.

Full load, front and back. The pool noodles were $1 each and Brent is a spoiler.

I lost my co-pilot on the last mile. Nap time.

Today’s Trip
I didn’t get anything I needed to cook for my meal swap when we went on Friday, knowing I would need to come back. London and I set out today, she on my bike and me on Brent’s. We made it a quick trip, two hours there and back, and it was a lighter load, roughly 60lbs. This was technically our third grocery trip in 8 days as we went last Sunday as well. 260lbs of food in 8 days. Yet, I feel we are stocked up and can survive the stormy weather in our forecast this week.

London towed the trailer to the store, with her stuffed animal raccoon, “Raccoonie” in the cat carrier.

I think this is the first original “punch buggy” London has spotted. She was pretty excited about her find.

Hard to see, but London said she loved her new short do because she can spike it up when she is sweaty. Think I ought to ask Kroger for bike parking? We have yet to go and not see at least two other bikes. Yet, I fear they might stick us in the lot with the cars, and I like my door side spot.

This is our light load. It all fit on the belt. I forgot it was Sunday and no beer sales till after 1pm…just meant an even lighter load!

This may seem dull, but finding the water fountain to fill up is very important.

Busy Sunday at the park. Our small space on either end of the path that is not chained is now blocked by cars. We had to ride over the curb and around the rack on the right (no real issue, just an irritant).. I know that being close to the action is important but there were plenty of empty spaces in the lot.
I like those temperatures, don’t you? How about those rain drops? Hmmm.

 You can read about most of our grocery shopping by bicycle adventures by clicking the Grocery tag in the right margin. It’s actually kind of fun to just sort the posts by tag. Rather, fun for me.

Miles Walked: 0 Biked: 5 Bused: 0 Drove: 0 This week
43.7 195.8 12.6 422.2 Since August 14, 2011
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