HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Foods you dislike buying—but sometimes need to

This is a pet peeve of mine. It really irks me when I need to buy something that I would rather not buy. For example, packaged rice and noodles. So laden with salt and junk but DH loves them.

A bottle of extract when all I need is 1 teaspoon. Usually it’s a flavor I seldom use so the rest just sits in the pantry.

It also bugs me when I’m out past mealtime and get so hungry I need to grab fast food. I really dislike buying fast food. To me this is a waste of money and calories better spent for something I really like.

Am I the only one bothered by this?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. You're not the only one. This morning, I had to gas up at QT, and ran in for a soda while I was there. I knew I was hungry, but instead of succumbing to the rotating hot dog or the paper wrapped chicken biscuit, I went for the banana by the cash register, because of exactly what you mentioned about wasting money and calories - I don't want anything that I am not happy to eat.

    1. No, this irritates me to no end. My DH HAS to have a soda whenever we stop at a gas station, even though he could easily have had a soda before leaving the house, or could buy a case of cans or bottle so that he always has a "to-go" option in the fridge. Drives me insane.

      I agree with the OP about fast food, too - I always try to plan and eat before I go places or whatever, but there are times when things just take longer than you expect and it's eat out or wait till midnight.

      I don't usually buy too much junk at the grocery store but every now and again DH will get seized by the desire for some crappy boxed dessert and I'll get sucked into buying it, even though I could easily make something 100000000x better. He'll eat 1/4 of it, say it doesn't taste as good as what I make, and let the rest go to waste.

      1. Fast food. I dislike buying it because I have a ton of good food at home but sometimes...I need it. Whether it's the onion rings from BK or the jalapeno bites from Arby's I just get a hakerin' and have to have them.

        I also hate buying things with a short shelf life. Toasted sesame oil can have an astoundingly short life span once opened.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Aabacus

          Keep the opened bottle of sesame oil in the fridge...it will last in good condition a LOT longer.

          1. re: Aabacus

            This is me with Chik-fil-a which, alas, is on my way home from work.

          2. a bunch of fresh parsley - recipe calls for 1 or 2 tablespoons - but, im left wondering what to do with the rest (and usually it's A LOT). and it doesnt last - so, youve got to use it soon. i tell myself that i'll do something with it, but often i find that i forget about it. nowadays, i use dried parsley - but, sometimes a dish isnt the same without it being fresh.

            8 Replies
            1. re: majordanby

              Wash it, chop and put in the freezer. Of course you can be like me and intend to do this but instead forget about it and let it wilt/go slimy. Same with basil and cilantro.

              1. re: majordanby

                I don't know if you like tabouli (tabbouli, tabbouleh) but that's what I'd make. Parsley is usually pretty inexpensive, so I'd buy two bunches, use what you need for the recipe, and make a taboui salad for a side - if it would go with what ever your recipe is.

                  1. re: majordanby

                    I've been putting leftover parsley in a cup of water and it can last a few weeks. Cut the ends and put it in water like you would with flowers.

                    1. re: majordanby

                      I do the same as Jeebs ( use a clear glass pitcher) and put it in the fridge with a plastic bag over it. When I open the door I see it and it's a reminder to use it. It keeps pretty well that way.

                      I have a love-hate relationship with ice cream. DH makes the request before I leave for the store, I'm trying to lose a few pounds, I feel annoyed to buy it, and then I'm tempted to eat it when I get home. Vicious, vicious cycle.

                      1. re: majordanby

                        I grow parsley for that exact reason, you have to buy so much and most of it ends up in the trash. Yes, I've done the "put in water, cover w/plastic bag in fridge" but it takes up a lot of room. I can't leave it on the table as my cat will knock it over, so, I grow it, in the summer, anyway.

                        1. re: jacquelyncoffey

                          thanks for the advice, everyone! tabouli, freeze, put in water, grow!

                        2. re: majordanby

                          The frozen herbs in cube trays work well (you can certainly make your own, but these are the essence of convenience).


                          They're a couple bucks at Trader Joe's or you can get a multi-pack at Costco with parsley, cilanro, garlic and basil.

                        3. I *hate* buying chicken stock. I should have it in my freezer and when my demand outlasts the supply, I'm forced to buy the supremely inferior boxed schlock.

                          I also hate buying Cream of Anything soup. I've started making my own flavored bechamels to avoid having to do so.

                          Also, having just gotten acquainted with my Kitchen Aid grinder, I hesitate to buy any ground meat. I'd rather do it myself.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Christina D

                            "I also hate buying Cream of Anything soup. I've started making my own flavored bechamels to avoid having to do so. "

                            A bit off topic, but try making your cream soups with a veloute instead of a bechemel, then add a little cream at the very end. You'll end up with a soup that is cheaper to make, is a bit lighter, and IMO tastes better (especially since you led on that you make your own chicken stock0.

                            This also allows you to freeze the soup. You can get the soup completely made other than the cream, then freeze it and cream it when you are ready to serve.

                            1. re: twyst

                              Ooh...awesome idea! I'll definitely try it. Thanks!!

                          2. I hate to buy chicken stock. Because i know that my home made is better and if i'm buying it it is because i'm out or was just lazy and didn't make any.
                            Pasta sauce in a jar, i feel the same about except i never buy it, but it bothers me when my wife comes home with it. It is so easy to make with canned tomatoes, it only takes a couple of minutes.

                            Ha! Looks like christina was thinking the same thing as me about the chicken stock, at the same time.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: TroyTempest

                              Completely agree on the chicken stock point. I prefer mine far more, but laziness/time/etc.

                              I also hate when I get junk food cravings and really want just a "taste" of the junk - but then end up with far more than I want. I currently live overseas and recently had a craving for s'mores pop tarts, which I shared with a friend who was able to buy me a box. While the first taste was a great reminder of home - I'm now stuck with the rest of them that I know I'll eat despite the wasteful fat/calories/sugar and all I ever really wanted was half of one.

                              1. re: cresyd

                                re: junk food. that's the worst - some markets have bins that sell items by the pound - e.g. nuts, rice, flour, etc. they also sell confectioneries, chocolates, cookies, etc. if i have a craving for something sweet and dont want to buy a chocolate bar or a box of cookies, i just go fill up a bag to however much i want. of course, if you have a craving for something specific - like pop tarts - that are only sold in packaged form, then you're out of luck. however, if i just have a general craving for something sweet, ive learned from many wasted packages of trail mix and just go to the bins - just make sure you dont fill it up too much!

                                of course, it's always nice to have kids, a spouse/partner, friends where you can divide said items. ive been in relationships where my female partner would order desert or buy a package of cookies - eat a spoonful or one cookie- and then saiy "it's all yours!" if i complain, she starts talking about how i want her to be fat. and she knows i hate wasting food - so, she can have her spoonful and know that it wont go to waste because i'll eat it all because of principle (and guilt induced by her)

                                1. re: majordanby

                                  In the States, this is definitely my go to move. Go to the bins, get a small quantity of chocolate covered pretzels and happily go on my way.

                                  But regarding something specific, I am now staring down a mostly filled box of S'Mores Poptarts that someone flew half way across the world for me feeling tragically guilty for not eating them all at once. On the plus side, they're not going to go bad....

                                2. re: cresyd

                                  Christina, Troy, cresyd, have you tried Tones or McCormick Chicken Base as a substitute for chicken stock? It’s a concentrated chicken paste similar to bouillon. I keep this in my freezer for when I run out of homemade stock. Love the portion control and convenience. Very salty though so you need to adjust.

                                  Tones is better and used to buy it at Sam’s but apparently McCormick took over. Here’s a link for both.



                              2. Buttermilk! I can only ever find it in the 1L cartons but all I ever need is a touch for dressing or maybe 1/2c for biscuits (since I don't need to make a large batch). I read that buttermilk can be frozen but that option just doesn't appeal to me for some reason. (And no, we don't make pancakes in our household.)

                                9 Replies
                                1. re: queueueuq

                                  Try mixing 1 part buttermilk with 2 parts orange juice for a very refreshing drink. Add a banana and some oatmeal, blend, and you have a great smoothie.
                                  And it keeps forever!

                                  1. re: queueueuq

                                    I've never tried this, but mixing regular milk with vinegar or lemon juice is supposed to be a substitute for buttermilk. Yogurt or sour cream has always worked when I'm out of buttermilk and don't want to make a run to the store. Here's a link to buttermilk substitutes that I googled:


                                    1. re: bulavinaka

                                      I done that when I didn't have buttermilk in the house -- which is most of the time. It does work.

                                      1. re: bulavinaka

                                        Thanks. I do use yogurt in a pinch but I find that it doesn't work as well for biscuits. I've also read about the milk with vinegar thing but never tried it -- I don't necessarily have milk in the house at all times, either! I just wish they would stock small cartons of actual buttermilk!

                                        1. re: queueueuq

                                          Has anyone tried the powdered buttermilk? We need to save this poor soul from the miseries of buttermilk gluttony...

                                          1. re: bulavinaka

                                            I buy the powdered stuff. It turns rock hard once opened, so I keep it in a zip top bag. It works well enough. I always have it on hand since like other posters, I usually only need a small amount that doesn't justify me letting the remnants of a quart go to waste in the fridge. I usually use buttermilk in cooked things like waffles, biscuits, sauce for smothered chops, etc. and honestly can't tell the difference if it is fresh vs. powdered.

                                          2. re: queueueuq

                                            buttermilk freezes beautifully. some use ice cube trays, then store in freezer bags. i prefer 1-cup plastic containers.

                                          3. re: bulavinaka

                                            My grandmother used to do the vinegar/milk trick and it always worked for her. She used to use un-reconstituted evaporated milk.

                                          4. re: queueueuq

                                            Fortunately it's easy to find pint or half-pint cartons of buttermilk here, but even still, I want to use it up, so I'll make a double or triple (or quadruple!) batch of biscuits and then freeze them before baking -- when they're solid, I double-bag in gallon ziplock bags. Then I can pull one or two out and bake them in a toaster oven, or fill a cookie sheet for a super-fast side if I have guests. Baked right from frozen.

                                          5. Seconding the bottle-of-extract thing. Vanilla is okay, but I'm never going to use the rest of that peppermint or rum or almond extract. It's just going to sit in my pantry.

                                            I kind of hate buying herbs: dried herbs because they aren't as flavorful as the fresh stuff, and fresh herbs because I always have more than I know how to use. I know I can't grow every herb that I'm going to need, but I WANT to, goddammit, and my anemic basil and wilting rosemary will shape up, just you wait. (...yeah.)

                                            I am not crazy about buying ground spices, because I prefer to buy them whole and grind my own. (Cinnamon I don't mind, because I'll never pulverize a cinnamon stick into a fine powder to use in a cake.) In that vein, I also don't like buying curry powder or garam masala (I like to make my own), but sometimes I do, because: lazy.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. I don't cook as much as I used to, but I always hated when I had food in the freezer and forgot to defrost it Then having to run out and buy something from the supermarket that I had at home. Drove me crazy