The last two months have significantly impacted our lives. We are experiencing an exceptional era. This will likely affect many things we do as we go forward. I want to look at some of our new food habits.
Our buying focus has changed. Whether it’s a grocery store, restaurant, online merchant or local farmer, the way we purchase from each has undergone significant modification.
Let’s look at a grocery.
How we shop is different. We go for certain things first no matter how the store is laid out. Water. Bread. And, of course, toilet paper. There’s a non-food item at the top of the list.
We’ll be checking rice, beans and pasta every time. Plus, canned tomatoes and other essentials. Might ought to add a few cans of hornet spray.
No matter how hard they try, stores are still out of things or have a very low stock. We have to plan and work around that.
There was a run on yeast. I always keep some, but not a bucket. People suddenly started making their own bread. Bet it’s better. I used to more than now. When I bake a loaf for a class to have, they get really excited.
Suddenly those of us who use delivery are not alone. People are getting their groceries delivered home. It’s happening more and more.
It makes sense to me. It takes me basically two hours to go to either Kroger or Publix. If delivery is around $10, I’m making less than minimum wage going to the store. The gas savings cover the tip. Why wouldn’t you use that? If you work with them, I find the Instacart shoppers pretty good.
We shop online when we order from a local grocery. And we shop online to have other items delivered to our house. I do it regularly.
Why would I want to go to a store to buy common household items? Not only will Walgreens and CVS send to me, but so will Bubba’s. It’s the same personal care, and I don’t have to go.
Don’t forget about meal kits. More people are taking advantage of that option. Food delivered to the door ready to prepare. Recipes included. No shopping. More time at home. And no shortages.
Farmer’s markets are open. Fresh products grown right here.
Restaurants have changed. We found out that they do things they said they couldn’t. Curbside? Sure. Delivery? Of course. Family meals? Not a problem. Fix up a make-it-at-home kit? Will be happy to.
We’re going to continue to expect that level of service, as well as be provided a full restaurant experience. Good for us.
What I miss most about a restaurant is service. And then their ambiance. Beer and wine too. A good server can make the meal.
The locally owned restaurant has taken a new place in our minds. They are our friends again. People are supporting them. We’ve eaten more restaurant food than ever.
Is fast food less important in your life now? Sure is in mine. I haven’t had any since early February. I think I can write that off my list. If you plan to have lunch with me, listen up.
Meals at home
People are having more family meals at home. Just like we used to. We’re cooking together. Not a bad idea. There are family activities rather than everyone sprayed to the ends of the Earth. People are walking in their neighborhoods. There’s less pollution and noise. How nice.
New times and an unknown path. These sure weren’t in my New Year’s resolutions.
But I’m excited about the road ahead. I plan some good eats and fine wine. Plus, plenty of folks wanting to learn a few cooking tips. That’s the real fun part.
Jim Sikes is an Opelika resident; a food, wine and restaurant consultant; and a columnist for the Opelika-Auburn News. Contact him on Facebook at In the Kitchen with Chef Jim.