Food Friday: Good Shopping


We are experiencing another bout of empty nest lamenting. The Tall One is going back to his university for some summer classes, and having hoovered up every last bit of unattended food here for a week, he is getting ready for a summer of feeding himself. We hunted and gathered at the big box warehouse store yesterday, laying in a mountainous supply of non-perishable goods – I cannot see the dining room table for the piles of large, super-sized economy containers of almonds, baked beans, barbecue sauce, catsup, Chunky soups, Nutella, protein bars, tuna and ziti. And the list goes on. Luckily, there isn’t too much in the way of junk foods or preservatives, but there also isn’t a lick of good fresh produce.

I have been working on shopping lists in my controlling helicopter-mommy fashion. I am hoping that over the years he has watched as I have rooted through the piles of tomatoes at the farmers’ markets and the grocery store, and that maybe some of his knowledge doesn’t come strictly from books. And that he can enjoy some good healthy meals on his fixed income.

Those clever folks at Bon Appétit have posted an interesting article about what foods are likely to have more pesticides and thinner skins – advising which to buy as organic foods. The Tall One is going to be on a budget, and though we have supplemented it with the ridiculous excesses which now are crowding the ancestral china in the dining room, he is still going to need to figure out how to eat well, and healthily, while minding his carbon footprint and his limited cash reserves. He is also training for triathlons. He will be a veritable furnace for food.

So, Tall One, here are fruits and vegetables you should buy at the local organic farm stands: apples, celery, strawberries, spinach, grapes, peppers and potatoes. These you can buy at the grocery store, where they might be a little less costly, so you can have third servings: bananas, pineapples, cantaloupe and kiwi.

Here is the complete list from Bon Appétit – I omitted the stuff I knew he would never eat.

I haven’t mentioned that he is learning how to cook this summer. He is the Associate Grill Master at home, but here the grill is on the back porch, not down four flights and half-way across a quad. Last night we had the taco lesson; crumbling and browning meat over a hot electric burner, with none of the romance of cooking outside in the breeze, watching the sun set or the cat stalking the dead log. The learning curve was pretty great – who knew that we poured the grease off into an old can and not the sink? He will be sharing a stove with about eight other students. It could get interesting…

Here are some other cooking ideas that are healthy, easy and won’t go over the budget, virtues we all can appreciate:

So all of you Washington College students and alums, enjoying your Commencement and Reunion Weekend next week, think of the Tall One. He’ll be back at the books, studying, memorizing, running stadiums and learning that a twice-baked potato with a side of fresh spinach is pretty delish. Don’t forget the skim milk! Or the sunscreen!

“Eating organic, family-grown food is important to a lot of us, so that’s why it’s important to take care of the family farmers. They’re the backbone of the country.”
-Willie Nelson

About Jean Sanders

Write a Letter to the Editor on this Article

We encourage readers to offer their point of view on this article by submitting the following form. Editing is sometimes necessary and is done at the discretion of the editorial staff.