Feb. 2nd, 2019

Up to now, online grocery shopping has been pretty much the best and only way to a.) stay under budget and b.) not buy eight boxes of brownie mix (mulitple types), ten to fifteen pounds of fruit that looks interesting, six kinds of cheese I can't pronounce, and a minimum of four loaves of artisan bread, three of which I may not be able to pronounce. I could never afford to go into Central Market, Sprouts, or (sometimes) Whole Foods with a credit card; it just ended expensively with nothing that could be used for meals but lots of highly pretentious snacking.

The most important advantage in doing it online is I can do it over a period of days, specifically when I'm not terribly hungry. I sensibly go through my old grocery lists to check for things I may be running low on, add my staples to the online cart (x amount of beef, x amount of chicken, no more than one (1) pork product because my stomach doesn't like too much of it and one (1) bacon, x number of frozen broccoli, spinach, peas, mixed veggies, bread, cooking butter, eating butter, milk, cooking cheese, sandwich cheese, one (1) obscure cheese, eggs....), go to pepperplate and sensibly choose easy recipes I can make ahead of time after work with no more than two (2) that require a lot of effort. It's all very adult, and in this way, I always go above Real Budget but always below Actual Budget (actual budget is one quarter higher; that is my indulgence in fifty grain provolone bread and local full cream organic milk, out of season Ranier cherries or those super random sales on usually overpriced steak or something).

This strategy is one of the reasons I used Prime Now, specifically their Sprouts and now their Whole Foods section. I am not joyful about Whole Foods, but while they are above and beyond on Totally Pretentious Food, they had a comparatively limited selection compared to HEB (the ubiquitous grocery store of Texas and some of the south) and honestly, I picked up a taste for local and organic produce and chicke; in other words, prices made sure I was budget limited, but it did get me eating almost entirely organic and (often) local with like, step rated so I knew my chickens and cows were well-cared for and possibly more educated than I am. And healthy.

(This is why I never go live into grocery stores without a monitor (aka family or friend); my brain just stops working and wants ALL THE FOOD even though there's no way I can cook and eat that much produce and garbanzo beans. I also never go before I've done my monthly grocery shopping, ever. Just no.)

My secondary strategy for dealing with I Want All the Food (Or Things Food Adjacent) also rests on the multi-day online grocery list; fine, I tell myself grimly, you want it, lets put it on the list. Then--while again, not hungry, I'll strip it down again of all the eight pounds of cotton candy grapes, moon grapes, cherries, six of the ten cheese, you get the idea. This makes grocery shopping fun as well, with the addition the joy of self-denial when actually, twenty four hours later you really didn't want so many damn grapes. So I really am not denying myself anything but I do get a glow that maybe I'm denying past-me who really should have known the unfortunate result of shotgunning five pounds of cherries in two days (she does, she just doesn't care).

I only use Instacart rarely; it's dangerous. HEB is on there and HEB is my Paradise/Waterloo; it's just too much. I only use Instacart before holidays when I'm expecting to make dishes for family stuff or to pick up bulk canned mushrooms and butter sales or something, once, twice a year at most.

For reasons beyond my understanding, on Thursday, while hungry, I opened up Instacart. And it went downhill from there. My usual strategies? Failed. Didn't even try. The part that is now driving me nuts is that going over the list, there's no junk at all--I managed to control that--and all of this is meal or good snack related. This is a solid fucking list; really, it's unjudgeable.

It's the amounts that are the problem.

examples )

And this is where I explain Weird Food Feelings that influence me unduly and may have had a part in this (though never before like this).

boring food rules of self )

Part 2--there's a part two--I get a monthly Amazon Pantry box (it arrives Monday). I also did the order for that on Thursday night. I just went to look and am going to pretend (until Monday) that this isn't happening.

Like, what the fuck happened to me on Thursday? I did my full budget, all the math is right there, and--here we are, preparing to Tetris the fuck out of my fridge and pantry and break myself some physics.

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