Now that we have a new Trader Joe’s grocery store near us, I have discovered that grocery shopping can be a work of art. Creativity and art happen when random things come together to make a cohesive, beautiful, and sometimes tasty whole. I’m certain this would work at other grocery stores, but Trader Joe’s seems to me to be especially conducive to culinary art.
I have a couple of Trader Joe’s cookbooks at home, and I use them as inspiration for my grocery shopping, but I don’t rely on them completely. Instead, I use “art” to create meals that are both fun to cook and delicious to eat. Here’s how I do it:
- I don’t take a list. Yes, I know that goes against every budgetary guide and every tip from people like Martha Stewart and her home economics colleagues. Instead, I create meals in my mind and from the inspiration of the items in the store. You may know that Trader Joe’s continuously adds new items and discontinues others. That’s what makes a trip to Trader Joe’s exciting. I see what’s in stock, what items are and are not available, and I begin to create meals.
- I criss-cross the store. I like to start in the meat section and pick a few things that will be the centerpiece of a meal. Since most Trader Joe’s stores are relatively small, I then criss-cross the store to pick up the things that will complement the meat, poultry, or pasta. This is where creativity and art really begin to take shape. At Trader Joe’s you can mix cuisines, you can add fresh produce, or you can pick a specialty cheese to add some creamy flavor to your dish. The possibilities are almost limitless.
- I create meals. At Trader Joe’s you can come home with a weeks worth of meals for far less than you might at a traditional grocery store. And the items are much more varied and fun. It’s so fun to put groceries away and see a pantry and refrigerator full of meals that will please both your family and your own taste buds. Once the week’s meals are planned the fun begins. Each night I get to bring ingredients together to make a culinary masterpiece (well…it’s a work of art in my own mind, if nowhere else).
Grocery shopping and cooking doesn’t have to be a chore. It can be fun and exciting when you look at it as a work of art, an opportunity to exercise creativity. Give it try…especially if you have a nearby Trader Joe’s.
How do you make grocery shopping or cooking a work of art?