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Buying groceries for one should be a cinch – you don’t have to consider someone else’s taste.
However, since I only grocery shop once a week, there are still some things to keep in mind, like shelf life. I can’t buy bananas for the week. At the very most, I could get four bananas if two of them were green to start with. And four is pushing it. It is more likely to be three.
My ideal day is to find one yellow and two green bananas, all small. I did find that one day, and was so happy. I ate the yellow banana the next day.
Then I waited for the green bananas to ripen. And waited. And waited. Finally I picked them up. They were as hard as a rock.
It’s very unusual to find both yellow and green bananas on the shelf at the same time.
Every loaf of bread can last out the first week. The second week is usually good, but at the end, you need to start looking for mold spots. I have had to throw out half loaves of bread pretty often.
I have already said my piece about snack food. Old Dutch should stick to what it knows – potato chips. Boom Chicka Pop has the best cheese popcorn. They also have what they call a caramel and cheese popcorn mix, which is actually about 75% cheese popcorn. If you’re looking for caramel corn, you’re probably better off with Cracker Jacks, unless you have a peanut allergy.
If you have some favorite brands, you can count on them disappearing with no warning, so you have to find suitable replacements.
When I was a lad, Hire’s was the only root beer, and I liked it. It wasn’t as sugary as the root beers we got later. When Hire’s disappeared, Dad’s root beer took over for a while until A&W came on the scene. A&W went over well, because it was brought to your car by pretty girls.
I thought Hire’s had stopped production, until in 2007, I found it at a golf course in West Texas. It turned out that Hire’s was being made in Plano, Texas, at the time, although we couldn’t find it in any of the stores. As soon as Hire’s found we were on to them, they moved to the East Coast.
For a time, my son could get it in Milwaukee. You can still get it, but shipping costs are prohibitive.
When Elliot’s was in Duluth, I always bought their hot dogs and Polish sausage. Then they sold out, and only the name transferred, not the recipes. It took me a long time to find a suitable substitute, but I finally found Old Wisconsin, and I bought that for a long time, obviously too much, as Super One quit carrying it.
Which brings to mind our old family rule: If Super One notices that you are buying a lot of one product, they will quit carrying it. We should have kept a list, but that rule is inviolable.
So now I need a replacement for Old Wisconsin. Schweigert’s hot dogs are OK, but they come vacuum packed, which I hate, and their Polish is too bland and ground too fine. Still, my dogs love them.
They still carry Elliot’s, which I know I don’t like. I picked up something called Fraboni in the 1 lb. package, and one from Friemont. It will take me about two weeks to evaluate those two. The Friemont one says uncured Polish sausage, whatever that means.
These two and most of the hot dogs I may consider are vacuum packed, so I will have to remove the packaging and put them in a freezer bag before they get frozen. Pain in the Butt.
They used to carry Hormel’s Compleat single-serving mac and cheese, but I apparently overdid it, so that’s gone. Now I have to buy the family size if I want it. Bob Evans has a mac and cheese that is basically elbow macaroni floating in a very thin cheese soup.
When I was making mac and cheese for my family, I shredded a plateful of cheddar and added a big tablespoonful of Cheez Whiz, so the macaroni was coated with cheese. It was NOT a soup.
Super One used a different tactic with lefse. For a long time. it was in the center aisle in the meat department. There were two brands, which didn’t fool me. They came out of the same lefse factory in Windsor, Minnesota.
I bought too much, but instead of dropping it, they started hiding it. The first move was to the Dairy Section, next to the bagels. I was still finding it there, so the next move was a stroke of genius. They went around the corner, on the top shelf, with no sign telling you it’s lefse.
For this, you need to be tall enough to see the little bit of plastic wrapper that peeks over the edge. I’m sure they thought a Norwegian would be too dumb to look there.
Things we have most recently bought too much of: spearmint leaves, jawbreakers and raspberry lemonade. It is still possible they have hidden these products somewhere in the store.
I love roast beef hash. I have always felt that, in making roast beef hash, a crucial first step is to take a piece of beef and roast it. Then you have to set up your meat grinder, grind up a bowlful of roast, peel some potatoes and grind them, plus about half an onion. Put it all in a big frying pan, and cover with gravy from the roast, and you’re on your way.
There are cans on the grocery shelf that say they are full of roast beef hash, but if you open the can, you realize the makers of that product have dispensed with that crucial first step, presumably in the interest of saving time. If you take their advice and fry it, what you end up with is basically hash brown potatoes.
To make it something like real roast beef hash, you need to doctor it up. First take some ground beef, and fry it in a large frying pan with bacon grease or lard. Crumble it up as it is frying. Mix in the contents of the can and brown it a little, then pour over a jar of beef gravy, rinsing out the jar with about half a jar of water. Let simmer, adding salt and pepper and a pinch of sage. You could add minced onion or onion powder if you like. It still won’t taste like the real stuff, but it saves time and work.
I have one pet peeve with the meat department. About the best steak you can get at Super One is the prime rib. Occasionally the butchers will knock off a little nugget of bone. This they advertise as “semi-boneless” steaks.
I maintain there is no such thing as “semi-boneless.” A steak is either boneless or not. A slightly smaller bone is still a bone.