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a home + living guide for the post-college, pre-parenthood, quasi-adult generation

03.11.2002

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cooking on the cheap | 1 2 3 4
continued from page 1

pasta (the cheapest place Iíve found for decent pasta is at Trader Joeís Ö at $0.69 a lb., itís hard to beat)
chicken or veggie broth (stock up on the canned stuff if you see it on sale; even cheaper, however, is to make your own and freeze it)
seasonings (salt and pepper are a given; other spices and condiments that get a lot of use in my kitchen: cayenne pepper, chili powder, cider vinegar, cinnamon, cumin, crushed red pepper flakes, soy sauce, thyme. And if youíre a spicy food fan, a bottle of good hot sauce is essential. As with rice, you can often find spices for much cheaper at ethnic grocery stores than at the supermarket. Itís also a good idea to check out the bulk spice sections of whole food markets.)

Whatever you choose to stock up on in your own kitchen, make sure youíve thought about it ahead of time. Sensible pantry-planning and stocking is key to ensuring that you make efficient use of your food budget. Always make a shopping list ahead of time, and never, ever head to the supermarket on an empty stomach. . Of course, it helps to have a good cookbook on hand to inspire you. Two that we recommend ...

How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman Our favorite all-in-one cookbook. 

The New Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer, et al The updated version of the classic 

2 Stock up when you see sales. Some people will tell you that you should make your shopping list and stick to it unwaveringly. While Iím a reluctant pro-lister (my much more organized honey has finally convinced me of the merits of list-making), I tend to think itís a good idea to leave some flexibility in your shopping Ė you never know when youíre going to see a really good deal on some kitchen essential that you donít truly require right now, but certainly will use at some later point in time. Pasta, canned goods, frozen meats and the like will all keep well, and should be snagged whenever you see them on sale. The important thing, however, is to stock up only on those items that you really, truly require in your kitchen. You have amazing powers of delusion indeed if you can persuade yourself into believing that youíre actually saving money by buying 6 pints of Ben & Jerryís ice cream, just because it was on sale. Remember, itís only a good deal if itís something youíd normally buy even if it didnít have that price cut sticker on it.

3 Buy in bulk. Youíll almost always save money by purchasing large quantities rather than small. (When in doubt, be sure to compare the cost per weight information that most supermarkets are kind enough to provide on their price labels). Of course, thereís a danger in bulk sizing as well Ė itís all too easy to think youíre getting a really good deal on a mondo-sized package of an item, but if you canít eat it all up before it goes bad, youíll surely ending up pitching the remainders.

don't stop: still more this way!

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