Monday, March 9, 2009

Save lettuce: Conserve your kitchen expenses

Hillary over at Chew on That wrote a fantastic post last week detailing her top 10 ways you can save money in the kitchen. Many of her suggestions are things that Em and I have already implemented at one time or another, without any regard to their cost-saving capabilities. Go us!

Some of her tips seems like they might increase their impact on the environment, what with all the running around to specialty shops and all, but I think that the general essence of her guidelines make a lot of sense. I read recently that cutting out the middleman is one of the best ways to save money, so obtaining your foods from their original source is the best way to cut costs. I kind of feel like we all do this as a novelty...we pick pumpkins and apples in the fall, we stop by roadside farm stands when/if we see them and pick up a bushel of corn or fresh tomatoes, and we even treat ourselves now and then to freshly baked bread from an actual bakery instead of the box-shaped loaves at the local supermarket and we even buy bagels locally. I don't think that you need to know how to cook, or even bake, in order to incorporate this way of thinking and spending into your daily life. Be more thoughtful about where and how you shop, plan ahead and take the time/do the research to determine if that cookie your eating had to travel thousands of miles to get to your mouth or if the flour and sugar were mixed by your local bakery.

Now, I'm not naive enough to think that we all have the ability to hop in our cars and spend our Saturdays driving around to all the specialty shops for all of our foodstuffs. I certainly understand that this is a luxury of the middle class on up. I don't have a car, for example! Sometimes all you have is the local grocery store and not a lot of time. I certainly don't think it's fair for anyone, including myself, to be sanctimonious about their food acquisition. But IF you have the option, time and resources available to you, shop wisely.

In the end, the most exciting aspect of cutting costs in the kitchen is the fact that you are also reviving local industry (small business, especially) and cutting down on all of the environment-impacting travel that food has to do in order to reach you. I think we can all appreciate that.

Photo: by me! It's a peach from a local orchard I ate a few years ago. Nommy!

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