Loaves and Fishes. Except not Fishes.

Grocery Opus, Week 2: The topic of discussion is bread.

In recent years there have been some times in our life where our family eats nearly a loaf a day. This is usually due to the following two factors: 1. a lack of planned snacks or lunches, and 2. a proclivity towards toast for morning breakfasts (my husband’s doing mostly).

Knowing this, as I embarked on my once-a-week plan I could not quite bring myself to buy several loaves for the week. A side note: it is comforting knowing that should I choose to do so, I could put loaves in the freezer. Bread doesn’t last forever in a freezer, but under a week is perfect. Simply put the loaf in as-is (no additional wrapping), and take it out for an overnight thaw. This includes dinner rolls, hamburger buns – anything at all bread-like. This is also a great idea for appetizers or snack breads (my bruschetta could use a stored loaf, either whole or pre-cut) in case you ask company over for the next day.

The first and second weeks I followed through on the once-a-week plan, I simply bought one loaf of bread. I thought – well, I thought I would run out of this bread and bake more. As it turned out, with the substitution of other items for snacks (veggie sticks and hummous, tuna noodle casserole, biscuits with hard-boiled eggs) we did not in fact eat as much bread. This helps bolster a point: some things we think we need (and therefore buy in quantity), are actually only self-perpetuating habits (this is also my theory as to why bulk-Costco shopping does not in fact save a great deal of money; or at least, that the savings are countermanded by the increased consumptive rate the buying often fosters).

The last couple weeks I have bought one loaf of bread and have only baked two batches of biscuits to supplement. Given we have discovered bread is not a daily need, it makes it all the more likely we will be encouraged to make bread from scratch. And at $3 – $4 a loaf, losing out on a couple loves a week from the grocery bill is a bonus.

Here is Week #2’s shopping list:

1 head red leaf lettuce
1 head romaine lettuce
1 lb. fresh green beans
1 bunch celery
1 small head cabbage
5 lbs. clementines
2 lbs. carrots
4 oz. sprouts
2 cucumbers
large jar pickles
tostada shells
1 1/2 lb. pistachios
2 pounds vine tomatoes
2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breast
2 lbs. extra-lean hamburger meat, all natural
1 can each tomato sauce, petite diced, and tomato paste
2 cans coconut milk
2 cans baby corn
1 can medium olives
2 lbs. angel hair pasta (buy one get one free)
2 lbs. raisins
5 lbs. all-purpose flour
baking powder
salt and pepper shakers
1 lb. frozen peas
2 lbs. oven fries, frozen
1 bag potato chips
1 pound butter
18 eggs
2 lbs. extra sharp cheddar cheese
8 oz. shaved parmesan
1/2 pound swiss cheese
1/2 pound deli ham, all-natural
1 gallon organic milk
1 quart half and half
1 package sourdough hoagies
4 hamburger buns, 100% whole wheat
12 pack Red Hook beer
Glad Press-N-Seal wrap
3 bars coconut castille soap

The total came to $154.

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