kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
[personal profile] kaberett
Some of you have specifically mentioned being interested in seeing other people's responses to this week's [community profile] thefridayfive, and I'm sitting around nervously watching the mass spec run without the concentration to do anything more useful, so here you go.

Content note: this week's theme is grocery shopping and meal planning. My answers therefore involve mention of sensory issues with food, dietary restrictions, and disordered eating.

1. Do you make up a dinner plan for the coming week?

This is a lovely idea in theory, but in practice it runs aground on a number of points. Item the first: what I'm interested in, or can tolerate, eating on any given day fluctuates wildly and unpredictably; the best way to manage my food intake is to, so far as possible, eat intuitively. Through a mixture of forgetfulness, executive dysfunction and preference I will just plain not eat (sometimes for extended periods) if it's just that I think the food on offer is dull, let alone any concerns about what I'm finding actively offputting or distressing to contemplate in the moment. (It is Obviously Hilarious that a lot of the time this is externally indistinguishable from food snobbery even though it's actually me being a picky eater who was brought up used to both sets of grandparents and also my mother growing a nontrivial amount of food. It becomes... more obvious what's going on when I'm tired and meltdowny and the easiest and most reliable way to get me to eat some damn food in order to make everything better is to find me the cheapest and nastiest cheese-and-onion sandwich you can, accompanied by the most aggressive and preferably least fancy salt & vinegar crisps going. This combination is A Food even when basically nothing else is.)

So: under almost all circumstances, planning (lunch-and-dinner) meals in advance doesn't work well for me. I can... sometimes manage it, but it tends to be of the loose "okay let's have meals X, Y and Z at some point this week, depending on how we're feeling and what needs using." The exception is, of course, when I'm hosting something, whereupon I Cater. :-p

(Breakfasts I have easy defaults for, most of the time -- bread/toast and Safe Jam -- though irritatingly, the Probably Hypothyroidism means I'm not supposed to have calcium-rich foods within ~4 hours of taking the store-bought thyroxine, which is Unhelpful when I get bored of toast -- my other longstanding Easy Default was Fancy Muesli And Yoghurt, or yog + berries, and I can't... do that without fucking up my meds, at least for the time being. If breakfast involves more planning than that it's usually because we have guests and it's usually A who cooks it; in particular he holds dominion over pancakes and waffles. If it's a more general Cooked Breakfast, though, I often end up helping, partly because I'm significantly faster at chopping and partly because A doesn't particularly enjoy cooking multiple dishes in parallel, where I've sufficient practice at it that it... doesn't particularly register for me as a difficulty. For bonus points! Porridge Isn't Food and sometimes (unpredictably!) being in the same building as frying food at breakfast time causes nausea.)

2. Do you make up a shopping list and stick to it when shopping?

I tend to operate on principles of buying shelf-stable or freezable food in bulk (so there's the Cupboard Parathas, and the large sacks of rice and pasta and flour and lentils, and the tins of beans and tomato, and a pile of spare butter in the freezer bought up whenever it's on offer), making sure that I've got generally-useful-perishables in (potatoes, onions, garlic, eggs, cheese, yog, increasingly tofu...) by dint of going "ooh, we're running low on X, can you stick it on the shopping list?", and otherwise... seeing what's on offer or in the reduced bin that appeals, and building meals around that. This has the added benefit that it encourages me to leave the house and actually get some sunshine a couple of times a week.

For me, grocery shopping lists are generally "we definitely need more of this broadly-applicable substance", and only very occasionally "I want to cook a specific thing we need to pick up specific ingredients for" (usually baking of some ilk, but sometimes I Have An Enchilada Craving e.g.).

As such I stick to the list in the sense that if a thing's on the list it's because we're running low and I definitely want to get more of it in (though see question 5 for some caveats about this), but I don't buy only what's on the list because that... isn't an effective way to get me to eat.

3. What is one thing that you always buy, but never put down on a list?

Ha. Hahahahaha. Honestly probably the best answer I can give you for this is "there was a REDUCED BERGAMOT and I could make MARMALADE" or "there were SEVENTEEN QUINCE at TWO-THIRDS OFF" or "but the basil was so SAD and it needed RESCUED". (Papa used to time his shopping trips to coincide with peak reductions; I do not have that degree of military discipline or general cope, but it is... an inherited trait that was encouraged by my financial situation during my first couple of years at university.)

4. Is there anything that you always think you are out of and come home with it to discover you already have a year’s supply on hand?

Nope! One of my magic tricks is, if I visit your house saaaaaay at least once a month or so? It is entirely possible that I will know what you have in stock better than you do, even if I never go on any of the shopping trips, without actually having to go look in the cupboards. I will also be able to tell you exactly where the thing you're hunting is located. It is often genuinely easier in terms of distributed executive function, if Adam's home and I'm out, for him to ask me if we have any XYZ in than for him to go look, because I will Just Know and he... might very well spend several minutes staring straight at it before concluding that we don't have any. (Hiiiii [personal profile] shortcipher I have a type :-p <3)

So: no, this is not a thing I do, but it's a thing A does so one of my jobs when we are shopping together is to go "... no put it back we've got nine we do not need more right now".)

5. Do you get your groceries delivered?


Per above a lot of what works best for me is seeing what's reduced and what I feel like doing with it (or what I think will go with what we've got in that needs used up), and also A has two supermarkets on the five-minute walk between work and home.

But: we do most of our shopping on foot or hoof or wheel, and there's a limit to how much I can reasonably balance on myself, which means that given my preference for buying non-perishables in bulk we... tend to put in an online shop about once a month or so for whatever we're running low on (or whatever's on offer) by way of loo roll/various flavours of rice/bread flour/the confusing-but-not-unpleasant blue sparkly toothpaste/pasta/beans/tomato passata/sweetcorn/frozen peas/frozen sausage/cleaning supplies/etc. We also use online shops to buy in Large Quantities Of Fruit Juice, shelf-stable nut milks, etc -- stuff that's heavy or bulky or otherwise awkward or tedious to carry. At the point an online shop is going in we'll also stock up on the perishables I like to keep around (onions etc, per above).

The exception to this is, again, if I'm hosting, and have decided to Cater An Food. At which point I will know what I want and how much of it, and I will order the bulk of it to go in with a delivery in preference to doing A Large Shop that I have to carry home.

Of course, what these questions don't touch on is HAVE I MENTIONED I HAVE AN ALLOTMENT. :D I make choices about what to grow (and where) for convenience; for example, I don't like buying cut herbs because (i) I feel vaguely guilty and (ii) they're never the right quantities, but I do like fresh herbs, so in pots on the verandah I've got mint, parsley, rosemary, sage, chives, and bay. I'm on the verge of buying seeds for two kinds of basil; an honourable mention to the ancestral wild garlic, that springeth green. I also had tomatoes on the patio (... I still haven't decided what to call it; "decking" seems awfully USois, somehow, and isn't quite in my active vocabulary) this summer, which was convenient and enjoyable enough that I'm likely to do it again. (I might also try cucumbers on the patio, depending on how the weather goes and whether I actually buy a greenhouse.)

At the allotment I'm prioritising things it's ridiculously expensive to buy (poppy seed! caraway seed! hopefully, if I get my act together, asparagus! bay leaves! soft fruit! hopefully some saffron, thanks to [personal profile] ewt!), things that come in entirely the wrong amounts always and are awkward to store (spinach!), things I always wince over the cost of and can rarely be persuaded to indulge myself on (fennel! purple sprouting broccoli! pak choi! shallots! interesting salad leaves! hopefully passionfruit!), things that are Brightly Coloured (this season I'm going to be experimenting with Painted Mountain sweetcorn, rainbow quinoa and purple chillis, among others), things it's otherwise tricksy to find (root parsley! :D), and things that are Just Better when they're really ludicrously fresh (hiiiii peas). I'd already been trying to eat seasonally; I'm looking forward to spending more time paying attention to plants, and trying to remind myself that I'm not going to be starting everything off hideously too late even if I am only getting back from Belfast at the end of February.

This is of course my first year with the allotment so I don't... entirely have a sense of how my shopping patterns will actually be affected, but I Am Excited To Find Out: I've already been enjoying working with the rhubarb and beetroot neighbours have desperately fobbed off on me, and with the things I've managed to get going already. So, you know, if compatible with your diet, should you visit me over the summer there's a very high chance that you'll be fed Things What I Grew (That Aren't The Sourdough), and should I visit you you might get brought A Tribute...

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-16 01:14 am (UTC)
lunabee34: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lunabee34
I adore eating fresh herbs and veggies; it's what I miss most about living with my parents. Oh that sweet corn! So good.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-16 01:21 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
Re allotment and patio: droooooooool.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-16 01:10 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] ewt
1) How did you preserve the olives? Turkish shop around the corner from us gets green ones and I... really want to try doing this.

2) Fennel pickle, made using a sauerkraut recipe but with fennel, turns out to be pretty tasty, if you end up with too much

3) Fresh pitta is the Best Thing Ever but the only place I know I can get it is a kosher meaty takeaway in Hendon. They have a special oven for it, which might be bad news for making it at home, but it's probably worth a go.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-16 05:09 am (UTC)
archangelbeth: An anthropomorphic feline face, with feathered wing ears, and glasses, in shades of gray. (Default)
From: [personal profile] archangelbeth
Huh! I did not know that calcium needed a 4 hour "cooldown" from the levothyroxine! I spaced out the iron, but I never really worried about milk or yogurt. (These days I have been doing a "wake up after 4-6 hours sleep, take pill, go to bathroom, go back to sleep" routine, so I'm probably getting that cooldown anyway.)

I also avoid anything with Soy Protein as the main ingredient, after getting one of those as a breakfast bar thing and then having a near-fainting episode a couple hours later. >_>

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-18 12:20 am (UTC)
archangelbeth: An anthropomorphic feline face, with feathered wing ears, and glasses, in shades of gray. (Default)
From: [personal profile] archangelbeth
Yeah, if the levothyroxine is helping and you're not going hyperthyroid, it sounds like you're in the club. *offers fistbump*

The main thing that I recall from LJ's Thyroid community was the concept that if you always eat a breakfast at such and such a time, then just do that and adjust your meds upwards if there's an absorption problem. But... *goes googling on the calcium thing*

Oh gods it's "depends on individual biology" territory augh. Ahem. But yes, "well-separated" for at the least, calcium supplements.

Here's hoping for a good endocrinologist who has some good advice.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-16 09:54 am (UTC)
naath: (Default)
From: [personal profile] naath
Are potted herbs easy to keep? I like herbs, I have garden...

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-16 12:19 pm (UTC)
tree_and_leaf: Watercolour of barn owl perched on post. (Default)
From: [personal profile] tree_and_leaf
Isn't "decking" British? The Americans I've heard referring to it call it "the deck".

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-17 09:22 pm (UTC)
tree_and_leaf: Watercolour of barn owl perched on post. (Default)
From: [personal profile] tree_and_leaf
I don't remember anyone talking about it before the late 90s and Groundforce, so maybe your brain is conflating 'not a word from childhood' and 'Americanism'?

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-19 02:19 am (UTC)
wolby: Medieval illustration of a canine holding a duck by the neck; the duck says "queck." (Default)
From: [personal profile] wolby
Was going to say this. It's the deck. --- certified Murican

I am in the process of looking for a place to buy, and what's affordable is mostly condos, which means garden space is going to be slim. Hoping that once we're settled we can get a space in a community garden, though. (I have been assuming a community garden plot is basically the same thing as an allotment, but tbh I have no idea, and yours sounds bigger than the 4'x4' or 4'x8' plots ours usually give out. Yours sounds AMAZING and I love reading about it; I am not very good with plants, but I love them, and I'm working on it.)

Content note food stuff

Date: 2019-02-16 01:17 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] ewt
This is interesting to me; I grew up with two rather contrasting food situations, and the better of them involved fresh veg and raspberries from my grandparents' garden, but also being allowed to have whatever processed, pre-packaged, salty/sugary snack food I wanted, whenever I wanted, as long as I tried at least one bite of everything at supper. The worse of them involved lower quality of pretty much everything, and arbitrarily restricted access to it (won't go into the bad details here); occasional home-grown rhubarb or tomatoes, occasional homemade apple jelly or strawberry jam, but it's not really worth doing much of a vegetable garden when your growing season is three or four months long and you move every two or three years.

This may explain a lot of why it is that, when I don't have sufficiently tasty-and-also-easy fresh vegetables and fruit around, I default to a certain subset of the pre-packaged stuff.

(I am looking forward to having an allotment.)

Re: Content note food stuff

Date: 2019-02-16 01:18 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] ewt
(And the apples were from the crab apple trees in my father's garden, so I associate the apple jelly with the good food environment; the strawberries were from a pick-your-own farm and that definitely didn't happen every year).

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-17 08:44 am (UTC)
jedusor: (neuron art)
From: [personal profile] jedusor
you think "decking" sounds American? that word is so British I can't even imagine it being said in an American accent, we say "deck" :P

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-17 07:26 pm (UTC)
cesy: "Cesy" - An old-fashioned quill and ink (Default)
From: [personal profile] cesy
Tasty food things!

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-17 09:04 pm (UTC)
tree_and_leaf: Watercolour of barn owl perched on post. (Default)
From: [personal profile] tree_and_leaf
the Cupboard Parathas,

"Currently out of stock"


(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-18 10:35 am (UTC)
tree_and_leaf: Watercolour of barn owl perched on post. (Default)
From: [personal profile] tree_and_leaf
We are, alas, nowhere near a Waitrose. I wonder if Ocado does them? I shall investigate.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-18 11:59 am (UTC)
tree_and_leaf: Watercolour of barn owl perched on post. (Default)
From: [personal profile] tree_and_leaf


kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)

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