By John Miller
As a first-time resident of small group housing, I’ve had to make a number of unexpected compromises. Grocery shopping has proved to be especially taxing on my food morals. Having to buy and cook my own food has helped me realize how far I’ll let my meal standards slide before making the trek back to the grocery store.
As some of my readers may know, the one food I can consistently prepare is pie. Unfortunately, as I’ve consumed more than my fair share of canned fruit and my cooking hours have been replaced with differential equations study sessions, I’ve had to search for healthier and more efficient alternatives. In all honesty I haven’t made much of an effort on the nutrition front. Luckily, I’ve found a solution to the economic woes of independent living: the Kroger “Wall of Values.”
The “Wall of Value” is a selection of food items in the back of Kroger that range from being fiscally responsible to downright cheap. I tend towards the “downright cheap” section, and like to fill my cart with fake wheat bread, spaghetti and off-brand Golden Grahams. While I initially had qualms over a diet of only super-processed carbohydrates, the satisfaction of saving two cents/oz on oatmeal became too hard to resist.
Much in the same way a Christian youth may prepare their faith statement by reading those of others, I’ve been able to construct what I like to call “John’s Wall of Values,” inspired by Kroger’s guiding principles. Oddly enough, I’ve also become rather curious with the religious practice of fasting. While I stand in awe before the rows and rows of white bread, I often contemplate the following:
Is it morally acceptable to buy chunky peanut butter in 4 lb batches? Yes – add it to John’s Wall of Values. Are tortillas a suitable substitute for vegetables? Yes – pin them to the wall. Dare I purchase cheese? Nay, too expensive – leave it be. Quick or instant grits? Instant on the wall.
Shopping for myself has been a new process of conciliation between me and the foods I eat. While I have thus far resisted allocating my grocery budget solely towards Pop Tarts, the toaster treats present compelling arguments that put my “Wall of Values” to the test. I’ve also managed to avoid buying any ramen noodles. Them’s for the dorms. As I continue to discover the hidden gems of Kroger’s discount section, I’ll be more prepared then ever to present my food value statement: “Disregard nutrition. Calories per dollar is what counts.”