Issue #126: My 15 Go-To Costco Food Staples for Living Alone
Plus Sonya Sanford's sheet-pan tofu and chickpeas.
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🎥 ‘All of Us Strangers’ in theaters: I mean, honestly, could we have asked for a more hearthrob-y duo than the Hot Priest (Andrew Scott) and Connell of Connell’s Chain (Paul Mescal)? Following a clandestine meeting, in an apartment building in London, they begin an affair that has Adam (played by Scott) seemingly literally revisiting the childhood home on the day his parents died, thirty years prior. In this way, life and death and past and present, become entangled in this thoughtful movie.
📚 Time’s Mouth by Edan Lepucki: This novel recently spread like wildfire among my friends. In it, Ursa has a gift: She can time-travel to revisit her past for brief moments. Those around her, including the women at the commune she heads in the forest near Santa Cruz, experience Ursa’s travels as mystical experiences. Flash-forward through the ‘60s and ‘70s, and two children (now young adults) from the commune have run away to Los Angeles to have their own. Lepucki, whose 2014 novel California remains among my favorites, has her own gift. Her writing is so evocative and sweeping, I would follow her story anywhere.
🎧 “Try This” Podcast by The Washington Post: In this bite-sized alternative to NPR’s already snackable “Life Kit,” host Cristina Quinn shares tips in sub-ten-minute episodes. Her first group of “audio classes” tackles insomnia and, while most of the tips are fairly obvious, some, like conceptualizing sleep as a ball of pizza dough, are helpful and similar to what I learned when I took the CBT course I credit with curing my insomnia.
P.S., Our Morning Person February Book Club pick is officially Wellness by Nathan Hill! I’m not surprised you all picked it—I keep hearing great things about it too. Stay tuned for more info, and save the date for our Zoom meeting on February 22nd!
When the ice storm hit Portland last Monday, I was completely out of fresh produce. Though I’d just had friends over for dinner the night before, the leftovers didn’t last long, and I quickly found myself relying on freezer and pantry staples. In my six days without fresh groceries, I made a shrimp and coconut curry with frozen spinach (shared the recipe here), chicken and feta meatballs (this, with a few subs), and oatmeal packed with nuts and protein. Suffice it to say, I did not go hungry—mostly thanks to my Costco obsession.
It may seem like overkill for someone who lives alone to buy the majority of her groceries at a store that sells rice by the 25-pound bag (even when I lived in my studio), but hear me out:
It is so much more cost effective. I spend about $17 each month, or so, on cashews at Costco, which would come to $26 (at over $10/pound for bulk) at my local grocery store. Multiply that across categories, and the difference becomes huge, even for one person and the annual fee.
Beyond cost, it saves me a ton of time to have staples on hand. I cook fairly intuitively and rarely order takeout1, so I like being able to make whatever I’m craving—from Thai to Italian—without having to run out to the grocery store.
It cuts down on packaging. There are plenty of Costco items with excessive packaging (don’t love when they do the plastic-wrapped individual-sized portions inside of a huge plastic bag), but overall, I generate way less plastic waste than I do shopping at other stores. Lookin’ at you, TJ’s…
Where a large part of my budget goes toward my CSA in the summer, I allot most of my winter grocery budget to a monthly Costco trip, where I stock up on protein2 and other freezer and pantry essentials. I’m in the midst of making some tweaks to my monthly budget (update coming soon!), but I still allot $400/month toward groceries and eat at home, including hosting, about six nights a week. Below, I’m sharing my 15 go-to healthy3 food staples, plus my full monthly list:
A quick note: If you are worried that reading my grocery list will trigger disordered eating or any bad feelings, please skip this post! You may enjoy this one on my budget or my most popular post of 2023 instead.