right now

right now

Apr 6, 2011

Field Trip!

Yes, I went to the grocery store the other day, but it was really just a stop-gap Trader Joe's trip to get the ever-needed milk and some other essentials (can you believe milk is cheaper there?!).  I've been putting off the "real" trip as long as possible, since I've been using up much of what was hiding in the cabinets, it always amazes me how much I actually have when I root around in there.  I also hate grocery shopping with a passion, so I put it off as long as possible, but every 8 weeks or so, I have to do this, in between are just visits for milk and lunchbox items I run out of often with the boys.

Today was the day, and I'm taking you with me to visit the base commissary, and what a strange trip it was...  I am always amazed at what packaging and items are offered these days, and they seem to get "stoopider" every week.

Some of you may uber familiar with base commissaries, but for those that aren't, well, now you know :)

It's less than a mile from my house, the entrance seems innocuous enough -

Just around the bend, here it is!  It's huge, think of a S@m's on steroids but not club pack stuff, all regular grocery stuff.  Not all commissaries are this big, but we have 3 in our metro area that are all this size.  We are the largest Naval base in the world and every service is represented, with thousands of retirees in the area, so they stay busy.  The parking lot below was when I entered right at opening time, by the time I left an hour later people were stopped in the lots with their blinkers on, just waiting for people to leave so they could have their spot.  Pity the fool who actually tries to shop here on military payday, ooooh, it's bad!

The first thing I chuckled at - watermelons in April :)

Then I passed the lazy food shelves, you know, for the people that "kinda wanna eat healthy, but can't seem to eat fruit the regular way"... LOL it's squeezable fruit and pre-sliced apples!  Anyone shake their heads at this stuff when they see it?

Oh look!  Sweet Corn in April :)

I'll admit this one stopped me in my tracks...

Really?  Was the minced stuff in the jar too much trouble so now it has to be squeezable? Like the squeezable yogurt, LOL.  Someone actually saw me take this photo and it was pretty funny, they were looking around them like maybe someone was filming Army Wives.  Nope, just a blogger.

So what do I buy in the produce section?  I would love to be able to say I buy nothing, but I can't grow and store enough root vegetables in my climate so I do have to purchase potatoes and onions, as well as apples.  I added rutabaga and turnips today with a couple of ginger and horseradish roots today.  I can honestly say I haven't purchased any bell peppers, hot peppers, salad greens or tomatoes in several years now, so that's progress at least.

One new addition to the store I am really digging...

Another "like" is that we have lots of ethnic foods at the commissary as well as hard to find varieties of veggies.  We have lots of foreign spouses and family members that keep the nice selection going.  Notice the mile of rice?!  Huge sacks of every variety imaginable.

Wow... apparently folks need pre-portioned spice recipe packets?  The packaging waste here is what gets me.

You might live in Virginia if...

The checkout line - it wraps from that sign all the way down the other end and back, there's like 40 registers, but it's not as bad as it looks, they are all manned and the line is truly fast.  On payday the line can wrap around the back of the store.

It's not as cheap as you might think, either - some things are a good deal, but we have a "surcharge" added to our total based on the amount of purchase and we of course have to tip the baggers.  They always bag and take everything to the car, but considering how quick they are for how much families buy on one trip here, I think they deserve it.  I really wanted to get a photo of the "rules and regulations" sign at the entrance but they check ID's at the door and somehow I don't think they would think much of my blogging camera :)  Let's just say it's full of stuff you won't see at W@lmart - "no profanity, dress code, uniform regulations, behavior rules, etc", it's kind of amusing when you think about it, but it's not like it's putting a damper on my normal behavior LOL

Now I need your help - rutabagas & turnips!  These are a Minnesota staple, yet this girl has no experience with them!  I'm admitting I need help here, anyone?  What should I do with them?  Mama Pea, I know you would throw a rutabaga at me right now if I were in tossing distance, LOL 

Speaking of throwing things...

once again I tuned in too late, don't know who she is but she's rockin' the dress again-

thought I'd give you a laugh...

yours truly, doing my impersonation of her... that is as dressed up as I ever get, I'll have you know!

So there went my whole day, I somehow think sewing won't be in the cards for awhile now.  Back to garden work for the foreseeable future, 7 day forecast is normal for us finally... 70 days, 55 nights - that's what it should be, but hasn't been!


  1. I've a little experience with turnips. You have to make sure to peel not only the white and purple skin, but also the layer underneath. If you cut one in half, you'll see what I mean.

    Pretty much the only thing I've done with them is cube them up and throw them in with skillet potatoes. I would suppose you can boil and mash them, too.

    I *think* the same can go with rutabaga, but don't know.

    Much luck!

  2. So very different than the commissary I went to as a kid. It was small and didn't have much variety. Then we would go to the base and have lunch. I remember not liking the food there much. So long since I even thought of that. I can't even imagine the lines you say are on pay day. That would be horrible.

  3. Erin I am so happy that you post about all the things at the grocery store that annoy me!

    What is that cooking show that has that woman dressed like that?? Love the impression!!

  4. Swiggett, welcome and thanks! I think mixing them with other root veggies like you suggested is probably the best way for them to infiltrate the kids' plates, LOL! Maybe a hearty stew? Rutabaga.... I just like saying it :)

    Jane, it's insane, but they do have everything and it keeps me from giving our money to W@lmart, profits also go to the Navy Morale, Welfare, and Recreation fund so that's better than nothing I guess :) One of the really small ones I had when I was stationed elsewhere was nice because it had a little meat counter with the same butcher all those years, he'd come out and talk to you just like a mom & pop store!

    Robin, you should hear me talking to myself in there. When the kids were little I got so used to being able to talk aloud and people think it's okay to talk to babies, but now I'm just a crazy lady muttering on... LOL... maybe I should get one of those cell phone headsets so it at least looks like I'm talking to somebody in there about all these crazy products :)

  5. You can cook turnips like you would carrots. I've only had them boiled or mashed like potatoes with garlic and butter. No idea about the rutabaga as I've never had one, at least not that I know of. They may have been in a soup or stew that I ate without my knowledge.

    I'm always amazed at how lazy people are when it comes to cooking. All that packaging when you could just get a knife out and chop up a clove of garlic. If people really want to save money they'd learn how to use a spoon and a knife!

  6. I've eaten turnips and carrots diced up really small or julienned very thinly and cooked together, just drain and add butter, s & p. Delish. The only other way I have eaten them, and rutabaga, was diced in a beef stew, with the other "normal" root veggies, and it was good!

  7. Boy, am I late getting caught up on posts today. Trip to the big city for construction supplies and home later than we expected.

    Can't imagine shopping where you do. No wonder you don't like it! That would give this small town gal the heebie-jeebies.

    Ya know how I serve both turnips and rutabagas most of the time? Cut in sticks or slices raw to serve with dip! Otherwise, put them in soups and/or stews just like you would potatoes. Lots of people up here mix half rutabagas and half potatoes and serve just like mashed potatoes.

    Now take off that outfit, Erin. You're scaring the dogs! ;o}

  8. There's just too much to say from this post -

    A - Watermelon and sweet corn in April...you can't help being tempted even though you KNOW they are not going to be good. I find I have so many out of season fruit cravings this time of year.

    B - I don't think I've ever seen a canning section that big around here.

    C - Overpackaging is one thing that drives me absolutely crazy. I won't by someone purely based on this.

    D - I HATE most TV chefs (except for some of the ones on PBS). I already know that I would hate her purely based on that dress. "Hate" may sound a bit harsh but I'm not feeling very generous today. LOL.

  9. Squeezable fruit? My god, I don't even want to imagine that. I realize there is a LOT of prep work in a banana or apple (haha) but my goodness, SQUEEZABLE??????????????

  10. Woohoo! Show those legs.
    Who are you kidding? You'd rock the kitchen in long johns, lady.

  11. Sparkless, I am continually amazed at the laziness of people!

    Gran, I'm trying them tomorrow night!

    Mama Pea, one of my favorite things is raw potatoes so maybe I'll give them a shot that way, too! That outfit isn't as scary as it looks, it's a Mtn Hardwear skirt (think sweatshirt) LOL, very comfy!

    Thomas, I was pretty excited since nobody carried canning supplies here until last year. I would have to order them! Of course last year Home Depot and Lowe's jumped on the bandwagon but in a small way - I was definitely excited to see this in the commissary! Even though it's a grocery store, they respond well to demand and military spouses come from all over, and there are quite a lot of us that grew up in the country and probably asked for it. After awhile maybe they got sick of it! I asked for buffalo and bison meat for about a year and then one day the butcher in there said, "hey, a bunch of people have asked and we are going to start carrying it next month"! I was shocked. As far as the rest of the garbage in the stores these days, disturbing... LOL

  12. Sue, I know... the thought of peeling a banana has me so tired :)

    Ribbit, long johns - it's been done! :)

  13. Your commissary is a lot bigger than the one here where I shop at. It is further away than our nearest Publix store, but the savings make the trip worth the extra driving time. I am so glad I'm not the only one thinking there are some very lazy people out there. No time to slice an apple, chop garlic? Really...
    I've grown turnips for the first time last fall. I put them into the pan with other root veggies when I made roasts and they were delicious!