Monday, July 6, 2009

Vacation Food Shopping

It's great to get away on a vacation, but once you've arrived at your destination, it's a given that at some point you'll be confronted with that constant in life: seeking out food for the next meal.

Obviously it's much easier if your vacation is accommodation with meals included, then it's just a matter of showing up at a designated time and place with an appetite.

However, if, like friends of mine, you have a family, and you're on a budget, then an all-inclusive package is probably not an option for you. On the other hand, renting a vacation house and cooking your own meals might be more like it.

Three months, ago, right around the Easter holiday, I featured Jane and her family of four, and it's Jane and family that rented a house on one of the barrier islands off North Carolina for their annual beach vacation.

Eating every meal out wasn't an option for them, so once they arrived in Raleigh, picked up their rental car, and before driving the two hours to the coast to the catch the island ferry, they thought ahead and realized a grocery shop in Raleigh (versus the island store) would be budget-wise.

Bruce, Jane's husband, used his iPod touch to google grocery stores and found a Whole Foods Market in Raleigh, and because Jane shops successfully on a budget for the family at Whole Foods in Boulder, the decision was easy -- they went to Raleigh's WFs to stock up on food for their island getaway.

Jane relayed that for $110 she bought:
Bulk: rice, pistachio nuts, dried apricots & cranberries, granola.
365-brand packets: cereal, peanut butter, jelly, crackers, long life soy & chocolate soy, orange juice, mineral water, lemonade, marinara sauce, pasta and olive oil.
Fresh: bread, pitta pockets, potatoes, garlic, peaches, green beans, apples, bananas, onions, cilantro, cucumber.
Dairy: grated parmesan, fetta crumbles, mozeralla, 365 orange juice

Once on the island, they bought fresh, locally caught fish for 3 dinners, they ate leftovers for several meals, and they ate out several times.

Despite how ideal, and within budget, Jane's vacation food shopping sounds,we have a bit of a running joke going between us; you see, Bruce had done a little shopping at Whole Foods in Raleigh too: approximately $80 worth of wine!

You can't buy alcohol in grocery stores in Colorado, and having shopped at WFs in Florida--both South Miami and Boca Raton--I know the fabulous selection of wines WFs stocks. Consequently, I understand only too well that Bruce, confronted with an extensive selection of good wines in WFs, might have concluded, what the hell, we're on vacation!

However, the upshot of Bruce's splurge is that Jane returned from North Carolina with the tongue-in-cheek request that I go with him next time he grocery shopped at Boulder's WFs and "show him how to stick to our budget," she said. "For example, perhaps you could help him curtail his tendency to impulse purchase!"

Regardless of the ribbing, Bruce actually agreed to let me shop with him. He volunteered that he wants to help Jane with the grocery shopping, but that he also needs help navigating WFs and finding the best deals.

Late last week I shopped at WFs with Bruce, and this week I'll be blogging about the experience.

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