Groceries...Food Shopping...Holidays...

I just completed the grocery shopping for Thanksgiving. So many thoughts occured, as I saw so many people making poor choices, expensive choices, unwise purchases, and not, of course, knowing what you already know, thought I'd blog on this.

Usually I shop at Trader Joe's on Hyperian. If they don't get 'cute' I know where everything is--Please Stop moving the coffee!--and I can zip through, gather two weeks worth of groceries --in, out in :45, usually.

Since the Certified Farmer's Markets closest to Silver Lake, the Friday afternoon Echo Park and the Saturday morning Sunset Junction, weren't going to work, for various reasons. So this week I chose the TJ's on La Brea & 3rd because for the things I needed that TJ's doesn't have: there is another market directly across the street, just a brief walk over. There are three other Ralph's Markets closer to Silver Lake, but the one on 3rd Street is particularly nice, clean, has good varierty.

The other market, Ralph's, on calling them first: I learned several useful things,
such as: purchasing $25. worth of groceries would get a turkey at a bargain price. I asked to speak to the butcher --a turkey loaded with growth hormones, then pumped full of anti-biotics when it got sick from force-feeding, was no bargain.

The butcher gave me the run-down on all the turkey brands available.
One brand: an old-line reliable, tasty bird, from growers offering birds since the 1940s;
one: known for "butter" in it's name --nobody should eat --since it changed practices in the early 1970s. --Bigger white breast: does not equate to taste, it's just big white stuff --not all that different than, well paste.
one brand: I never heard of, all natural -no hormones and according to the butcher: tasty; he said he thought it was Zacky-farm raised, as it is delivered in the same box as the Zackeys.

$25. spent on groceries: got the last one for $.37 a pound --compared to "all natural" in other markets for $1.68 a pound and up, a Very good deal.

I thought it wouldn't be hard to get to $25. for the things I wanted that TJ's wouldn't have, and started at the Produce section:

-Celery 10 lbs for $10
--a very good deal; though they want you to think you must buy 10 pounds, not so, so just $1. for a bunch;
choose darkest green available, if the ends are cut: check that they aren't brownish which indicates 'old' --but don't fuss over finding "perfect" unblemished stalks

-brussel sprouts
a little pricey but worth it; the French have a saying which roughly translates to:
'choose the sprouts the size of Marie Antoinette's nipples' --don't ask me why they use that phrase, but the premise is correct: in sprouts Small is better --the larger the sprout the more bitterness;
Prep: cut off the hard stem end, make a deep X through the center from the end stem was cut;
Cook: either steam until soft, or lightly saute over a burner with a enamel or heavy skillet and oil with a high burn point, like grape seed oil -allow several minutes to soften, I like the sprouts to get a little brown, for a rich roasted flavor, into a bowl then sprinkle with grated Parmasian cheese, thin pat of butter, toss well

whether bakery or commercially made: read the label; if the first ingredient is "bleached white flour" it does NOT get "better" when the bakery used flour stripped of all nutrients (the outter hull) then "enriched" it --that's just the same as eating whole tablespoons of sugar, to the body; you also don't want long list of ingredients or ones you can't pronounce -purchase for your kitchen, so skip those brands also
I make the same stuffing every year, since I was a teen, it's The Definition of the holiday, for me, made of whole wheat, sage, thyme, celery, onion...I will come back later and post the recipe, it's heaven.

The 'regular': choose 'yellow' --which means it has light brown skin and will NOT be "sweet" --unpleasant thing, in onion, to me; press lightly to make sure it is not soft --which would mean sweet and most likely rotted

-green onion 2/$1.
Two bunches, only $.50 each, Very good price, and beautiful rich bright green stems, thin --which is way I like them, too thick and they go to bitter side; these were exceptional

Only choose: organic, which means they were not grown with growth hormones or pesticide; potatoes are one of the most heavily-pesticided crops grown in the US, but if you don't care to have disease --do want to eat the skin --find the organic; Ralph's has: small sack of five, around $3. If you think that is expensive: how much will it cost to treat you for cancer --after eating potatoes laced with pesticide --month after month, for decades?
Prep: scrub well under cold water with a firm brush
Cook: to boil: choose a pot twice the volume as the number of potatoes --too small a pot will mean starch will form; better to boil a few at a time or bake them;
place in pot from the start, with cold water, bring to boil, start to cooked: about :40 --a fork should have just slight bit of resistance

To get a 12 lb turkey for only $4.
you will need a Ralph's card --easy to get, just stop at front counter before shopping.

--Oh and: turkey will be frozen, so you can defrost by putting in the fridge, highest shelf for few days, or tub of water, or, ugh, into a microwave oven. I have more to post, will return later to finish.

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