Grocery Shopping Lessons

I learned from my mother

© Can Stock Photo/
sadakko

People are funny. Not “ha-ha” funny. More like, bizarre, funny. Being an author, I have no choice but to be on social media, and for years I’ve seen all kinds of posts, comments and memes belittling those who choose to prepare for an unexpected emergency. They’re called, “preppers,” “conspiracy theorists” and “tin foil hat wearers.”

People are mean-spirited and judgemental. That is, until some unexpected emergency, such as coronavirus, comes along. Then guess who’s panicking and grabbing up all the toilet paper and hand sanitizer? The very same people who made fun of the preppers and their tin foil hats.

We’ve become spoiled

Too many people honestly believe that food somehow magically appears in the grocery store. It doesn’t. The grocery store is the end of a long chain which begins on the farm, and farming is a high risk business. Droughts, floods, freezes, and pests such as locusts, can destroy crops, which means less availability and higher prices. In a worst case scenario they can create a shortage. Other factors, such as labor disputes, can effect the food supply as well. We’ve also become spoiled. Very spoiled. Thanks to modern technology, American grocery shelves all always full. Even seasonal fruits and vegetables, once only available certain times of the year, are now available virtually year round, thanks to modern food distribution.

It’s happened before

There was a time, however, in recent history, when the American food supply was disrupted, and I wrote Rosie’s Riveting Recipes to teach people about this period of history. It was during WWII, and the U.S. government had to come up with a plan to discourage hoarding and help prevent shortages. Their solution was rationing, and my article, Food Rationing During WWII, at the top of this blog, explains it in more detail.

My mother grew up during WWII. She said that even with food rationing, grocery store shelves were often bare. This experience certainly impacted her, and as an adult, and one of the things she taught me was how to shop wisely. This included not buying the name brand if the lesser known brand was cheaper. She also taught me to stock up whenever something was a sale. If there was a special on canned corn, she bought a few extra cans and put them in the pantry for later. It didn’t make her a tin foil hat hoarder. She was simply stretching her dollar, and her advice holds true today. If you only need one can of corn, and it’s on sale, buy an extra can or two, even if you don’t need it right now. Same goes for canned peas or tuna fish. Stuff happens, and it’s always nice to have a little extra food and supplies on hand, just in case.

Gayle Martin

For more information about the Rosie’s Riveting Recipes cookbook, please click on the link below.

Cover photo by Rob Resetar

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