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Ten things I can’t believe I used to buy at the supermarket!

July 21, 2009

1. Microwave popcorn. Ew. So many things wrong with this – the cost, the additives, the Teflon-coated bag. I was pleasantly surprised to discover how easy popcorn is to make on the stovetop, and how cheap a kilo of popcorn kernels is (which makes a heck of a lot of popcorn). Air-poppers are pretty cheap, too, but I like the butter and oil version.

2. Gravy powder (Gravox/Bisto). Mmmmmm, flour, salt – so much salt!, MSG, artificial caramel colouring. Yum. I used to use it for flavouring/thickening casseroles as well as for making gravy. Now I just season with herbs and spices, thicken with cornflour and make my own gravy if need be.

3. Powdered stock. Same sort of deal as number two. Chicken stock and vegie stock are really easy to make.

4. Maggi/Continental recipe mixes. Again, a few herbs and spices and a whole whack of “bad numbers”. I learned some basic herb/spice combinations instead, just as quick really and a whole lot yummier (and cheaper).

5. Polony (also known as Devon, probably has a bunch of other names – pink lunchmeat made from God-knows-what). Yeeeees. Enough said.

6. Disposable nappies. Quite a few years ago now. A complete waste of money, terrible for the environment and I’m not keen on putting all those chemicals near my baby’s bottom.

7. Yogurt. OK, so I still buy fancy yogurt sometimes, but for day-to-day I make my own with the EasiYo (I don’t use the entire sachet each time). One day I’d like to learn to make it the proper way.

8. Supermarket meat. Two things wrong with this – tastes awful, and the animals were probably treated awfully. Also expensive. I now try to buy in bulk from places that, if not certified organic, follow organic/biodynamic/free range principles, and the meat is fresher. If I am not organised enough for that, at least I buy from a butcher, who can tell me where the meat comes from and how old it is.

9. Supermarket fruit and vegetables. Again, expensive, poor quality, has probably been in cold storage forever. I used to get an organic seasonal box delivered, which I stopped when we went Failsafe and haven’t started again. At the moment I buy from local growers’ markets – the most convenient one to me usually has a few types of fruit for 99c/kilo when the supermarket will sell it for $2.99 and it’ll taste worse. The fruit from the growers’ market tends to have small blemishes and lumps and bumps, but it still tastes better!

10. Custard powder. Custard is really quite easy to make from scratch, and it doesn’t turn out that weird shade of yellow.

I’m not perfect, by any measure. We eat takeaway food sometimes, and I’m a big fan of some convenience items like frozen vegies just in case. However, making these kinds of changes over a few years, has saved me a lot of money on my grocery bill (and has enabled me to purchase many organic staples now instead of entirely conventional), and surely been of benefit both to my family and the environment.

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