“Wow, Sis, You Can Cook” and $1/lb Limit Shopping

Saturday Good Man and I invited my brother’s family over for a nice dinner and some playground time with the nephew.

I never knew a cabinet was so darn interesting. Open the cabinet, take out a toy, close the door, clap and say “yay!” Open the cabinet, put the toy back inside, close the door, clap and say “yay!” Repeat 39 times in a row.


I also never knew that a child could so easily destroy a living room. Before they came over, I found my childhood stuffed animals and kept them in the cabinet. All of them were on the floor, along with carrot sticks, books, and the bits of the diaper bag.

Dude times two.

(I should mention that my nephew is a total sweetheart. He’s also a toddler.)

Johnny was really impressed with my cooking, and luckily, Johnny and Ashley were understanding of us eating on the floor. Good Man and I have a tiny kitchen table that seats us and basically nobody else. We have two bar stools in the kitchen, two folding chairs in the office, a futon turned into a lounger in the living room, and a futon bed. Oh, and several bookshelves. A CD player, two nightstands. No TV. Entertaining involves the floor. Hey, at least we can always argue, “It’s the Korean way!”

(The futon in the living room is turned into a lounger because futons basically come in two styles: primarily beds and primarily couches. This one is primarily a bed, and when you set it up like a normal couch, it’s too low to the ground. If I’m going to be that low to the ground, I’m going to be lounging!)

Yes, we live like graduate students with hand-me-down lounger futons and microwaves and IKEA furniture.

In any case, while he was eating the salad (broccoli, carrots, cucumbers in a cream sauce) and vegetable lasagna, my brother couldn’t stop raving. “Wow, Sis, you can cook! Where’d you learn to cook?”

I’m not sure why he was so surprised.

That got us going on my new shopping plan/method/style. Good Man and I bought several 12-packs of soda shortly after we moved into this apartment, because they were on deep sale. We then went through them at a lightening pace. During the same week, coincidentally, I read that women with PCOS should not consume caffeine. Since then, we’ve gone cold turkey off of Diet Coke.

Now. Anyone who knows me in real life is probably picking their jaw up from the ground. I drink Diet Coke. I buy Diet Coke. It’s what I do.

On top of dropping buying soda (though we will drink it at restaurants or friends’ houses), I’ve started shopping mostly the perimeter of the grocery store. When I came back from Korea I realized how much of the stuff in the stores is junk. Even “healthy” foods like rice cakes (those fake, puffed kinds that taste like nothing) and granola are packed full of junk.

The perimeter of the store is dairy, fruits, veggies, meat, and the bakery (though I tend to avoid the bakery, too). We rarely dip down into the aisles, and if we do, it’s for flour, wheat germ, old-fashioned oatmeal, pasta sauce (something I haven’t started making myself yet) and canned vegetables when they’re on sale.

On top of that, I’m shopping the front and back of the sales circulars. The front and back (generally speaking) are fruits, veggies, dairy, meat. No snack foods, no fruit juices, chips, junky cereal, etc.

And when I buy fruit and veggies, I try my hardest to buy only when they’re less than $1/lb. I figure if they’re selling for less than $1/lb, they’re mostly in season. I do make exceptions for some things, but as a general rule, the $1/lb for produce thing is working pretty well. For meat it’s $3/lb. Johnny found my dollar limit pretty interesting. But why buy apples at $1.29/lb now when I know they’ll drop in a month? This manner of shopping is really new to me, and since I hate winter vegetables, it will be interesting to see how I fare in a few months.

It’s a good thing we live alone in our family of two, because when we’re done grocery shopping for the week, our fridge is crammed full of fruits and veggies. Last week we had to find space for 8 green bell peppers. And we used all but one by the end of the week (my menu didn’t work out exactly). Good Man eats carrots like I would like to eat chocolate, so we always have a 5 lb bag in there. The freezer…the freezer is basically empty. I buy chicken and pork on sale, freeze it, and use it until the next sale, but otherwise it’s empty.

Of course, we also shop at the Korean market at least twice a month, which I love. Their produce is often fantastic, and this weekend we watched ajummas fight over a giant box full of corn on the cob. It was like being in Korea again. Ahhh, Korea.

Next up—visiting the farmer’s market and checking out the prices there.

Anyhow, after dinner we went to the elementary school behind my house and played on the playground a bit.

It was Chuseok this weekend—Korea’s fall festival—and the only special thing we did for it was buy 송편, rice cakes filled with a savory paste, and talk to Mother on the phone. Though not directly related to Chuseok, inviting my brother’s family over was darn special, too.

My Little Brother


That Sneaky Smile Runs in the Family