How to buy food?

Shadow Cat

Stand User
Ok, I spent a good few mins trying to think of a good title for this thread but couldnt come up with one so that will have to do

How do people go about buying food to try different recipes?

I've been looking at a few recipes to try out as I want to try something new but I always end up at the same predicament, it usually asks for small quantities of ingrediends. Some of these are easy as you can buy loose fruit/veg from the supermarket

While others are more of a problem, as soon as I see that "1 table spoon of..." I just give up as I dont see the point of spending money to waste food as it something I'll likely never use again, or if I do it will likely be after its expired

It would be easier if I was making a meal for a family but being a single person makes it hard to justify the cost / portion

So if I'm missing anything obvious then let me know 😅 (Yes I've looked at Hello Fresh, even with the discount it still seems a lot of money)
 

RadFemHedonist

Death Scythe
Perhaps you could invite friends over when you cook if you think the recipe is something they will like (you could discuss splitting the cost of ingredients with them if you think that's something that they'd be ok with), or see if anyone you know wants what you didn't use? I guess donating to food banks would not be an option sadly as it will have been opened (but if anyone knows different please do correct me!) Other suggestions are if you have a freezer or fridge with enough space you could cook a bigger batch if it's something you think you will like anyway and then have the same thing for a few meals in a row? If it's just one ingredient you need there may be someone you know (friend/family/work colleague) who wouldn't mind lending you theirs for the night to take a small amount from? Those are the main suggestions I can think of :)

EDIT: Obviously some of them can present issues for some people atm because of covid, but that's mostly what I can think of, would also suggest some ingredients might keep for long enough to be used later if frozen or kept in a zipseal/ziplock bag in the fridge rather than just left with the packet open :)
 
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Gemsy-chan

Akatsuki
I find that if you don't want to waste food then it's good to get the frozen stuff from the supermarkets. Such as frozen garlic, ginger, onion, herbs, chilli etc. Plus always to make sure you have a good selection of herbs and spices in the cupboard, they are dry/powered so last ages.

For things like cream etc that ask for a certain amount, the only thing you can do Is get the smallest tub you can so you aren't wasting too much of it.

Or batch cooked so you are using the ingredients up and then freeze the meal and defrost it when you want you eat it.

If you can freeze any ingredients then freeze it. You can always portion it out before freezing, so you only take out what you need. Milk and cheese (not soft cheese) can be frozen.
 

Rui

Karamatsu Boy
Administrator
I tend to be quite experimental when cooking so if I have something unusual left over I try to find other recipes that will use it (or invent something of my own); there's not much that can't be used as a guest star in an ordinary stir fry/curry/sauce to get rid of it. Quite a lot of ingredients can be repurposed and folded into unusual recipes to use them up. Saving batches for later is a good call too, we don't have a microwave so freezing is less convenient but some things still freeze/defrost very well if you made a huge quantity of something.

You can also modify the recipe sometimes to replace the thing which is harder to use with an equivalent. Not ideal if you're trying to reproduce something authentic but I'm used to substituting anyway since I don't eat meat; if the recipe asks for something annoying it's liable to get switched out for something I find more appropriate. Or sometimes less appropriate, for fun. I find a lot of recipes online often suggest substitutions for exotic ingredients too, for the sake of those who don't have ready access to a specialist shop.

R
 

D1tchd1gger

Baka Ranger
Could try one of those meal delivery companies. They deliver all the ingredients (the correct amounts) and you cook it. Never signed up myself, but my sister's friend couldn't use hers for some reason one week, so she gave it to us and it was really nice.
I think you tell them your preferences and they send you random stuff instead of the same stuff each week.
Probably more expensive than buying dried herbs, etc, which do last a long time. But I see YouTubers plug them all the time so there must be plenty of codes floating around.

Doh! Just went back and read your OP fully and saw that last line! I'm not sure how the system works, but couldn't you sign up and then quit within a trial period?
 

Shadow Cat

Stand User
I will check out what frozen options Tesco has (its only an Extra so not sure what they have)

Think getting a few days worth of meals planned out might be the best option to save on waste and hope whatever I have over from the main meal can be used as lunch for work
 

zrdb

Adventurer
Don't really know cause' I'm not much of a cook. Usually I just wing it, I love pasta and am an expert on how to cook it properly but I just use various brands of bottled sauce-too much trouble to make it from scratch.
 

Eternal chibi

Kiznaiver
For that 1 tablespoon of, think, are you seeing it often in the recipes you want? or is it only for this one? Some of them I do use often. And it becomes easier to tell when you actually start using them. Once you buy something, you can look for recipes featuring that specific ingredient to try and use it up. This is a way you can learn new recipes as well.

Look at the shelf life as well. many spices/oils etc. (the sort of thing you will only use 1 tbsp of) can last a long time, so there is no rush. If it is something you really want to try the recipe of, you should do it, it is a fun experience and you begin to build on your ideas of what you like to have over many years.

You can also figure out what things you can go for cheaper versions (aldi) of. For example, I can aldi all my veg and a lot of canned foods, meat etc. and the quality is very similar in my opinion. Then the savings I make I can use for a bit more preomium on other things that I really value the quality of, or to buy one of those exotic ingredients for a recipe.
 

RadFemHedonist

Death Scythe
For that 1 tablespoon of, think, are you seeing it often in the recipes you want? or is it only for this one? Some of them I do use often. And it becomes easier to tell when you actually start using them. Once you buy something, you can look for recipes featuring that specific ingredient to try and use it up. This is a way you can learn new recipes as well.

Look at the shelf life as well. many spices/oils etc. (the sort of thing you will only use 1 tbsp of) can last a long time, so there is no rush. If it is something you really want to try the recipe of, you should do it, it is a fun experience and you begin to build on your ideas of what you like to have over many years.

You can also figure out what things you can go for cheaper versions (aldi) of. For example, I can aldi all my veg and a lot of canned foods, meat etc. and the quality is very similar in my opinion. Then the savings I make I can use for a bit more preomium on other things that I really value the quality of, or to buy one of those exotic ingredients for a recipe.

This is reminding me of The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman - there are some very funny lines about how a lot of the residents in the retirement village have twigged that not everything has to be bought from Waitrose to be good quality now XD
 
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