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Foods I still buy regardless of the recession

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Yes, times is tough and everyone's tightening their belts.

But even if you're using less of certain foods, what will you NOT give up?

Mine is GOOD coffee (discovered Groundworks recently), real maple syrup (Trader Joe's), artisan sourdough loaves, Indian Tellicherry black peppercorns (Penzey's), and Doves Promises. Oh, and applewood-smoked bacon.

Anyone else?

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  1. I won't give up those big beautiful scallops i see sometimes, good olive oils, quality spices and herbs.... yeah those are my big splurges because i generally spend most of my money on produce. Oh wait.... i should amend that..... i won't give up good cheese! or good beer, but that's a separate topic

    1. chocolate & specialty cheese

      1 Reply
      1. re: Cherylptw

        specialty cheeses, I'm right with ya. Also fresh seafood

      2. i honestly haven't given up anything - i'd rather cut corners in other areas. buying the highest-quality food & ingredients to prepare and enjoy at home is much more important to me than dining out, going to the movies, shopping for new clothes...

        having said that, if i *did* change my grocery buying habits, i wouldn't give up organic produce, fresh herbs, or grass-fed meats.

        1 Reply
        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          I won't skimp on grass fed meat and dairy or organic produce either, for our health and enjoyment and due to a sense of responsibility. I've tried more economical coffees than the ones we've been spoiled by for years, but breaking up has proven too hard to do.

        2. Local eggs, cheese, bread, fish & produce - although I now buy the cheapest, not the prettiest or the fanciest. So local squid & porgies are in, and local monkfish & flounder are out. A dollar bag of field tomatoes rather than $4/lb heirlooms. A head of butter lettuce for $2, not the triple washed mesclun. I don't mind cutting back a bit (and even if I did, I don't really have a choice). But I still want to support my local farmers, and my finely honed sense of food entitlement.

          2 Replies
          1. re: small h

            dang, i'm so jealous. a dollar bag of field tomatoes? best i could get in florida recently was $2.50. i ate tomato sandwiches almost every day!

            1. re: alkapal

              They were a little banged up. But still a bargain!

          2. Ok - real butter. That's it. I can make do w/ anything else. But, yeah, butter

            1. I won't skimp on my apple. No matter the price fluctuation, and even on days I have to scrounge the change for it, for eating I've just gotta have a tart or sweet, firm juicy apple :D And I am sticking with butter.

              Because a big apple is almost a meal (with peanut butter it indeed is), and butter makes most things taste better, and makes simple bread seem like a nice treat.

              12 Replies
              1. re: Popkin

                I recently skimped on my apple purchase for the week. Such a BAD choice. I will regret it with every bite. I am thinking about just making an apple sauce or something with them. They are so...not good! The skin is super tough and the flesh is not really that tasty either. I WILL NOT skimp on my apples anymore!

                1. re: Popkin

                  I"m with you on both the apples and the butter. One of my favorite snacks is butter smeared on plain 'ol saltine crackers. It just feels so luxurious!

                  1. re: KristieB

                    Butter and saltines used to be the official "tide you over until dinner" snack in my house. Still love it. Although butter on plain matzos... pretty dang amazing too.

                    1. re: KristieB

                      Love butter on Saltiness!! My Dad always had them on a plate when he made tuna macaroni salad when I was a kid!!

                    2. re: Popkin

                      I refer to my apple seller as my crack dealer. They are not cheap ($4 for a generous quart) but they are so good. We're in Russet, Baldwins and Norther Spies right now. Arkansas Blacks will be coming up and they round out the season. But summer isn't right without fixes of Summer Rambeaux, Tompkins County Kings and Orange Pippins. The funniest thing is that when I bring them into work people laugh and tell me how ugly they are... until I give them a taste.

                      He's 65 if he's a day, and I have the hugest crush on him.

                      1. re: thinks too much

                        I am jealous. Where are you located? I love Spies and they are a bit thin on the ground in NY - and often not in prime condition when you find them. Another Labor Day time apple that no one seems to grow around here is the Lobo - big, flattish, crisp but not dense flesh, and perfect sweet-tart apple flavor.

                        1. re: buttertart

                          The apple guys orchards are in Moosup CT. I get them from him in Stonington. He can talk your ear off about various varieties, and labels what year various varieties come out.

                          The spies are tough because they are a biennial crop. So a tree only produces every other year. Last year he only had one or two trees that were up for production. It only made me salivate more for this year.

                          This year the wet conditions made for prime apple production, so I have been gorging myself as much as possible.

                          1. re: thinks too much

                            You know, I never knew that about Spies. Wish I were closer to your source!

                            1. re: buttertart

                              What part of NY are you in? The Hudson river valley has some great orchards with pretty amazing varieties. WHen you go west, you start running into more standard varieties: cortlands, macs, winesaps.

                              1. re: thinks too much

                                Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, carless, therefore dependent on the Greenmarkets, which do have a nice selection so am not totally without access to heirloom varieties.

                                1. re: buttertart

                                  Look on the bright side: you have access to way better dim sum than I get out in the hinterlands of New England. Enjoy your apple season.

                                  1. re: thinks too much

                                    There are compensations, indeed!

                    3. Fresh seafood. We made the trip up to Uwajimaya in Beaverton last week and picked up a medium-sized lobster and a couple of pounds of clams. Yeah, I'm unemployed, but I'm willing to spend a few bucks to spoil ourselves.

                      Oh, and good cheese. I can justify it a bit with having to eat a high-protein diet, though.

                      1. My larder and bar remain unchanged. I've not been on a significant vacation in several years but have enjoyed a few minor ones and remain satisfied to remain at home eating and drinking as always....except for lobsters, king crab, fresh capon, Scottish salmon, Lagavulin, fresh OJ, ...yeah,....... there's stuff not around for now..

                        Maybe Patagonia or Botswana when..... oh, let's not count chickens before they....

                        CP

                        1. Fresh local fruit, butter, and good bread. It doesn't necessarily have to be the best of everything or the most expensive, but it does need to be real food, i.e. not Wonderbread.

                          1. Groceries are twice as much in Bermuda anyway, but like goodhealthgourmet said I would rather cut back in other areas.

                            We have cut way back in going out to eat, I would much rather spend the money on good ingredients and prepare a super great meal at home instead.

                            1. Fine cheese is something I'll never stop buying. Also good quality olive oil and prosciutto..

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: cheesemaestro

                                I agree, fine cheese is a must.

                              2. I'm with everyone on butter. And agree that staying home and cooking together has always been as much fun as going out for the two of us. And now, we can justify it as part of our belt tightening. A lot of our friends aren't working, and it feels better to have them over for group cooking instead of picking up their tab in a restaurantl

                                13 Replies
                                1. re: mtngirlnv

                                  butter has been cheaper in the last year or two than it's been prior.

                                  1. re: alkapal

                                    True, and don't you find butter pricing is completely weird? Some weeks (in NY at least) $1.99/lb, some weeks $4.59 or more. Very little relation to the season as far as I can see. Is it the chilly finger of the commodities market reaching into the supermarket?

                                    1. re: buttertart

                                      I've noticed that with butter too- but there's always one supermarket that has it on sale every week.

                                      Wegman's is always $1.97/lb for butter. How can they do it but no other market can?

                                      1. re: cheesecake17

                                        Because they make it up on other items perhaps?

                                        1. re: buttertart

                                          I don't think so... Wegman's is really cheap on their own brand as well as name brand items. Wegman's frozen veggies are 89 cents/bag- and they're made by Birdseye.

                                          Recently they had a 5lb bag of flour for $1 and sugar for $2

                                          1. re: cheesecake17

                                            Hmm, don't know then. I had gotten the impression they were a bit on the dear side (we don't have them in NY and have only been in one of their stores ever).

                                            1. re: buttertart

                                              I live in NYC so there's no Wegman's near by- but when we go visit my husband's grandparents in NJ I stock up. I love a lot of their store brand items- especially their baking stuff...

                                              1. re: cheesecake17

                                                I know my sister-in-law in State College, PA swears by them. Would be nice to have a store in the city.

                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                  Definitely- but I would suspect that the prices would rise.

                                                  I like Fairway too- prices are good

                                                  1. re: cheesecake17

                                                    Yes, we can't complain too much about what's available here because everything essentially is if you look for it.

                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                      That's definitely true.

                                                      My only wish- a better Trader Joe's. The one in Brooklyn is always SO crowded and it's hard to find a parking spot. And the one in Manhattan is very inconvinient..

                                                      1. re: cheesecake17

                                                        I think that's part of the point of Trader Joe's. Went to the one in Oakland, CA when visiting friends there, same deal. I'll go to the one in Bklyn but the Manhattan one drives me insane.

                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                          I used to go to the Manhattan one during lunchtime- the lines were so long to pay that they twisted into the aisles and the dairy section.

                                                          The one in Hewlett is excellent though. I'll spend a Sunday shopping in TJ's and Loehmann's. But it's a 30 min drive..

                                2. Artisan cheese and local dairy.

                                  1. Having been in some REALLY tight situations in the past, I know I can live without pretty much anything. However, now I can and do splurge a little. Areas where I could save, but prefer not to include artisanal cheese, olives, sparkling water, sea salt, and tea. I also have a serious problem with buying magazines (like, a stack) at the grocery store, but I guess that doesn't count.

                                    1. Good cheese, organic/natural peanut butter, good cuts of beef, spring water, good wine, olive oil, fresh and organic fruits and veggies. I can and have cut back in many ways already, my wardrobe and travel have suffered...my stomach doesn't need to as well.

                                      1. Some things I still buy- sometimes in smaller quantities-
                                        - good sorbet
                                        - butter
                                        - cheese
                                        - interesting fruits and veggies - it would drive me crazy to eat the same few things over and over just b/c they're cheap

                                        I do love coffee.. but I don't make it at home.. so another splurge would be my morning cup of coffee..

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: cheesecake17

                                          Good lists, everyone!
                                          I forgot to include the weekly trip to the Farmer's Market, but I tend to not buy items there that the local Trader Joe's or the megamart, such as brown onions. But I still get fruits, tomatoes, peppers and herbs there.
                                          And I have the same weakness for food magazines as you, Foodpoisoned! I used to subscribe to 5 of them; but I've cut down to one (temporarily, I hope).
                                          I did stop making ice cream. Granted, the cooler weather and the bathroom scale also factor along with finances in this. Besides, now I need to spend the time baking :).

                                        2. Big tubs of Greek yogurt
                                          Wine
                                          Fresh fish
                                          Whole nutmeg
                                          Fresh herbs
                                          Big bars of dark chocolate, usually mail order
                                          Weekly trips to the health food store for staples

                                          1. Well, when it really comes down to it, you do what you have to do. If you've already cut out restaurants and everything "extra," sometimes you have to do without things you didn't want to. We've already been making even more from scratch (bread, pizza, soup, daily meals). After 7 months jobless, it's now cut back on favorites to make the mortgage longer. But with coupons and shopping what's on sale, we make do. We can make creative meals, but we're not buying our favorites for a while (or at least far less) -- like really good cheeses, seafood, and better wines. It's a matter of survival for a while and we're stretching everything as far as we can.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: eamcd

                                              My heart goes out to you, eamcd. May things get better for you soon.

                                              1. re: eamcd

                                                eamcd, here's wishing you a job, and then plenty of good cheese, seafood, and wine - in that order. Hang in there.

                                              2. Is Courvoisier considered food, 'cause I still buy that.
                                                CocoDan

                                                1. Penzey's spices; full pound bags of coffee beans (from CoffeeAM.com), always real maple syrup (that has nothing to do with the recession - it has to do with the flavor of the product); Niman Ranch applewood-smoked bacon from TJs, good bread; Parm-Reg cheese (or any cheese, for that matter) from Whole Foods or Formaggio Kitchen; good butter (Presidente if I can find it; otherwise Kate's); and I'm sure other things.

                                                  It's only me in the house, so I get what I want if I can afford it and it's not too astronomically expensive. The cats are perfectly happy with their Fancy Feast (24/carton bought with $5.00 off coupons at a new pet store near me) and their Science Diet crunchies. :-)

                                                  1. Good olive oil, good chocolate and good coffee.

                                                    1. I continue to buy meat from either one of my small, local butchers or from New Seasons (a chain local to Portland, OR which is similar to Whole Foods but waaaaayyy better). Not only does the meat taste better, it is sourced locally from smaller, non-megameat farms which don't use nasty stuff in their feed. I like putting money in the pockets of my "little guy" neighbors.It is also worth the extra price for the services of a real butcher: they will cheerfully prep your meat for specific uses which cuts down on time and waste.

                                                      I will NEVER give up my fresh ground coffee from local roasters.

                                                      1. boursin cheese
                                                        smoked salmon
                                                        good coffee
                                                        dove's promises
                                                        good bacon

                                                        in fact, i've just given up buying as many steaks and sea scallops as i used to, and pretty much everything else has stayed the same.

                                                        1. Cheese, in my opinion life is to short to eat bad cheese.

                                                          1. 1. Switched to chocolate from Aldi's (and it's very good) rather than high-end super market or boutique choc.
                                                            2. Switched to bulk artisanal butter from the 'covered market' here (Findlay Mkt)~~ butter is only $1.39/lb.
                                                            3. Completely cut out buying bakery products and we learned to make our own (and they are much much better, if I do say so myself!)
                                                            4. Buy our spices and herbs in small quantities from the spice dealer (at Findlay Mkt) ~~way way cheaper than buying from Pensey's or from the grocery (fresher and a lot better).
                                                            5. Cut out random eating out and now cook at home much more~~so much better, too!
                                                            6. Smoke our own salmon.

                                                            It took the recession for us to discover some new sources and new skills/talent. In a strange way, it's been fun.

                                                            p.s. and this year we are doing Thanksgiving for 15 on $100 budget. It's kind of like doing a scavenger hunt this past week gathering the ingredients. Hint: Aldi is a good source. Also the local turkey farmer.