However, modern life for most of us does not require the same physical work that it did for our ancestors to find and and accumulate food, but there is still something very primal and satisfying in the modern equivalent of hunting-gathering...grocery shopping. Today, after two months of focusing on the renovation of our rental house, when we just ran out to get the bare necessities and ate out of our freezer, and our pantry began to look like Old Mother Hubbard's, we made a shopping list, grabbed the checkbook and became 21st century hunter-gatherers. An essential pre-shopping ritual is the cleaning of the refrigerator and pantry. Throwing out the questionable or unidentifiable, organizing the scores of condiments and making room in my produce drawers, is necessary (and, in a sick way, rewarding!) to make room for the bounty to come. While this can be a time-consuming (and disgusting) job, there is something so nice about seeing all the clean jars and containers organized- cheeses and dairy together, eggs neatly installed in neat rows in the egg-keeper, meats in the freezer separated by pork, beef, seafood, poultry and game (buffalo and venison, primarily). Besides making the fridge look better and making room, it helps to see what we need and what we still have plenty of for planning purposes.
Our first stop- Costco. We were out of not only food but essentials like paper towels and toilet paper, so armed with our Costco card, we braved the savage hoards on a Saturday, making our way through aisle after aisle, picking our way through the lines at the sample tables. At Costco we buy staples like EVOO,peanut butter, bottled water, salad greens, pine nuts, and lots of cheese. We also buy meats like flank steaks, and ground beef, and fish like today's fresh catfish or their fresh wild salmon and smoked salmon. I have to say that I love Costco- they have great prices and carry a lot of the staples you need to have a well-stocked pantry, including really good balsamic vinegar (Kirkland brand) at a great price.
After bringing all out booty back to the house, I had to cut and vacuum seal my big blocks of cheese (makes them last longer, limits mold) and vacuum pack my fish and meat into portions for meals. For this I use one of my favorite gifts from my mom - my Foodsaver. This great for preserving foods, particularly if you shop in bulk, and you can seal steaks or chicken in marinade and freeze to add more flavor.