The Foodie Report
Ruminations on food, cooking in and eating out in our area.

It's entirely possible to be a vegetarian in Porkopolis. Pop culture reporter Lauren Bishop blogs about products, recipes and restaurants she's tried for others who eat meat-free. E-mail her at lbishop@enquirer.com.

Nicci King is an unabashed foodie and the Lifestyle/Food editor in The Enquirer's features department. She loves to discover new food faves, and she's on a daily quest to answer one burning question: What's for dinner? E-mail her at nking@enquirer.com.

Enquirer Weekend editor Julie Gaw tends to order the same dish every time she eats at a restaurant, but periodically ventures out to discover something new and fabulous. After living in China, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Thailand for more than 8 years, she craves tasty Asian food. E-mail her at jgaw@enquirer.com.

Food/dining writer Polly Campbell loves every quirk and secret of Cincinnati's food personality, and is on a constant lookout for something good to eat. Keep an eye out for her restaurant picks, or see how she's progressing toward becoming famous for her apple pie. E-mail her at pcampbell@enquirer.com.

Communities reporter Rachel Richardson is on a mission to prove vegetarians eat more than lettuce. She shares both her graduate work on American food culture and food-related news.. E-mail her at rrichardson@enquirer.com.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

The "R" word...

What starts with an "R," can't be declared (not officially, anyway), but has lots of us considering nail-biting as a new hobby?

If you've surfed the Web, read the newspaper or watched the news lately, you're aware of the much-discussed issue of our economy woes and widespread fear of a recession. So, lots of us are feeling the need to tighten our belts. And forget about pinching pennies - the cost of gas alone makes you want to squeeze the life out of 'em. Which brings me to higher prices at the grocery stores.

I bought 5 Honeycrisp apples (if you've been following this blog for a while, you know how much I adore them) at Kroger the other day. Why did that purchase set me back $5.69?

What in thee...?!

And the fact that they were the size of an infant's head (read: neither honey-ed nor very crisp) really irked me. The price of bell peppers (even the green ones) is insane. The last time I checked, they were $2 each. Sigh...

Are you feeling the pinch? How are you making sense of your dollars when you grocery shop?

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at 4:28 PM Anonymous vudutu said...

I hear ya, I get "political tourettes" every time I see the news. Actually we spend more on food than most do because we are totally nuts foodies, we buy good cuts of fish and meat. We grow what we can in the summer, shop at Findlay, buy as much local as we can, cook from scratch and we go to friends entertain at home. We do go out but not as in fast food or chains, heck we ate at Chalk twice last week. We freeze any leftover and I take them for lunch.

at 5:23 PM Anonymous vudutu said...

Oh I forgot to mention, thanks to our dumb decision to use food (corn) to make fuel so we can all keep our Hummers expect to see food prices go up even more, this has already caused riots in Mexico. Also our blind support of Monsanto and their engineered food will also cause rises.

at 5:31 PM Blogger Nicci King said...

It's crazy, Vudutu! I find that I splurge on some things and scrimp on others. Like you said, good cuts of fish/meat are worth it. And you have to do what you have to do to eat good fruit and veggies. But I'm trying to cut costs where I can.

I need a locavore's opinion on it... How expensive is it to eat local? And the obvious question is how limited/expansive is your diet this time of year in this region?

at 5:52 PM Blogger Mary said...

I eat seasonally as much as possible because I think it's unnatural to eat strawberries in the midwest in the dead of winter, but besides that I make a list when I go shopping and I stick to it. I usually make something large each week that I can eat again for lunch for a few days as well. This could be a brisket, lasagne, a good soup, what have you. It's tough though because I'm an impulse shopper.

at 5:55 PM Anonymous vudutu said...

Good question Nicci, go to the CinciLocavore group and ask, I smell a story, We try and eat as much local as possible but are not fanatic about it. I have purchased shares before but always found myself getting stuff I did not want or did not get around to cooking so I had to pitch in the compost pile and I HATE wasting food. I am going to try and utilize come of the farmers I found on CinciLocavores this summer.

We always go to the farmers stalls at Findlay first then get what we can't find there at the "warehouse" stalls, FYI not sure if you know this or not but most everything you buy at Krogers or Findlay except the farmers all comes out of the same warehouses.

FYI a $aving Findlay tip, walkaround to all the stalls and check the quality and prices before you buy anything, you will find some things are cheaper/fresher at some stalls and some at others, I also find we tend to slightly alter the list based on what I see. If you go later in the day prices go down and you can bargain but the selection is not as good.

Also I go through the entire frige before we leave for market and note what we have we need to use, pitch what has gone bad so we don't over buy, and I start a Traders/Krogers list of stuff we need from there although we buy very little from Krogers, usually I stop at Big Lots on the way to Krogers and get as much as possible there, usually paper good etc. Oh yea I almost forgot Traders ROCKS, there is a money saving tip for you.

at 6:30 PM Blogger Nicci King said...

I'm with ya, Mary. I don't even want to eat strawberries this time of year... 'Taint nachural.

My cravings change with the seasons. Like, I want squas in the fall/winter. Now, that occasionally includes mellowcreme pumpkins (speaking of unnatural), but hey...

at 7:52 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

$90 a dollar barrel of oil, $3 gallon gas and commodity prices the highest in 30+ years...

we've only begun to see the start of inflation.

get those green bell peppers before they reach $4 or better yet... plant your own

at 9:58 PM Blogger Rachel said...

Oh I forgot to mention, thanks to our dumb decision to use food (corn) to make fuel so we can all keep our Hummers expect to see food prices go up even more, this has already caused riots in Mexico.

Sorry, the vegetarian in me can't help but point out that only 16 percent of the grain grown in the U.S. goes to produce ethanol (according to the Earth Policy Institute). But 70 percent of U.S. grain production is fed to livestock. Each day, more than 40,000 children starve to death, even though enough grain is consumed by American livestock every day for every human on earth to have two loaves of bread.

Global meat production is supposed to double between 2001 and 2050. So, do we want cleaner, sustainably produced fuel, or do we want to keep eating and pay $6 per gallon for gasoline? Simply put, we can’t have our meat and drive cheap, too.

Of course, the real danger is that Americans will continue to do both.

As for grocery budgets, my husband and I really haven't had to scrimp anywhere. We live pretty sustainably otherwise, so we are able to spend more on pricey organic and vegetarian foods. I can't imagine, however, how anyone with a family to feed can afford the rising food costs. If the government was truly concerned about national health and welfare, wouldn't they subsidize vegetables and fruits instead of the wheat and corn used in processed and junk foods?

at 10:17 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel like I am totally spoiled as a foodie. I have certain things that I only get from certain places...ground chuck, chops and roasted turkey from Avrils, Chicken from the Busch family at findlay, organic free range eggs from traders, fresh fruit and veggies from madison's, the list goes on...I will cut out many other things before I start buying tyson chicken....talk about not natural!

at 12:05 AM Blogger Ryan Detzel said...

I recently joined an organic produce co-op and I can't begin to express what a good thing it is.

A story of my new venture can be found here---> http://www.thisisreverb.com/2008/01/foodie-post-im-geeking-out.html

Other than that, I scope out Jungle Jim's clearance section in the back. They almost always have bell peppers for around 50-75 cents each back there. What Jungle Jim's considers "must sell soon" other stores consider fresh. Check it out.

at 9:08 AM Blogger Kel Klump said...

I grew up on a small farm here in Ohio. We had a larger family and couldnt always afford having a lot of store bought produce. We planted most of what we wanted to use in the summer and canned for the winter. Yeah it sounds old fashioned but I will tell you if you know how to prepare them the right way you are set. I have been spoiled with home raised beef, chicken (including plenty of eggs), pork and goat meat (although I dont eat the goat) and hate buying meat from a local store. We get most of our meats at Findley market and opt for nothing prepackaged if we are buying it at Kroger or another market. We use Hyde Park fish market for our fish and now that I live in the city, I have made use of potted planters for pepper plants and herbs. You have to become more crafty but you can still eat well in these times.

at 1:42 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Racheal great point re: biofuels

It takes more energy to convern corn to ethanol and soybean to biodiesel than the BTU value they create.

The wonders and power of industry lobbys...

at 5:51 PM Anonymous vudutu said...

FYI I checked , Honey Crisp at Madisons were 3$ a pound, at the farmers stand 2/3 that price for his local apples. Peppers are normally 1$ each sometimes less at Findlay.

at 9:52 AM Blogger Nicci King said...

$3 a pound? Cheese & rice...

I always scout the entire market before I buy produce. I learned that years ago when shopping at the market every Saturday in Cleveland.

But, Ryan, I did not know about JJ's clearance section. I haven't been there in a while, but I have a new reason to...

at 1:12 PM Blogger Stepf said...

To your point, Rachel: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/27/weekinreview/27bittman.html?em&ex=1201669200&en=3f189a22ce28dc36&ei=5087%0A
I spend more on food than anything else.
Still, beans and rice are cheap, and I won't eat pink or gray tomatoes or flavorless strawberries in January. It's not worth it. Bigg's was offering samples of asparagus yesterday, which I declined.
Eat seasonally, eat locally and save money!

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