It seems like not too many people do their grocery shopping the way M and I do ours anymore. Or, if they do, they try to avoid Saturday mornings. We walk up and down each aisle, examining prices, comparing brands, spotting deals. Despite being only two people, we buy in a way that can almost be described as bulk: multiple loaves of bread, two bricks of cheese, four packages of pork on sale. When we got up to the counter this time around, the cashier observed our piled up mound of groceries and asked, “How often do you do your groceries?”
I looked around and realized how odd we actually look. The grocery carts behind us were half full and the handheld baskets were in wide spread use. It seems like most of our fellow shoppers must frequent the grocery store more often then we do or eat out a lot more. We make it out to a grocery store every two, sometimes three or even four weeks. If I could go longer, I would.
I have a love-hate relationship with grocery shopping and, more often than not, the hate side wins out. As someone who loves food, I love grocery stores in general: the produce section, the bakery, the meat, everything in that store comes together to inspiration. In a grocery store, any meal is possible. Not only that, but there’s a bit of a thrill in finding a deal that brings a delightful meal together in an inexpensive way. A grocery store perfectly combines the bargain hunter and the indulgent shopper. It’s a challenge and an adventure.
Until, that is, you reach the check out line.
We’ve gone on Saturdays. We’ve gone on Tuesdays. Wednesdays seems especially bad. But I don’t believe there is a time that is available to us that is a good time to go grocery shopping. Undoubtedly, we need to expect a 20 minute wait in line before we even get to the conveyer belt. If we’re lucky, no one with a small basket of groceries will politely ask to jump in front of us because our cart is so full. By the time we get there, we’re so tired and slightly irritated that we don’t care how long we take. But then, there’s the packing. I hate packing. I feel like I have to be fast, but careful not to squish the bread and mindful of how many bags we have to how many groceries.
As much as I dislike the whole experience, I love having a well-stocked kitchen; a full freezer, a fresh looking fridge, a pantry stocked to the brim with back-up foods and ingredients.
Of course, our bargain hunting sometimes means we come home missing a key staple because something else was a better price. And, inevitably, the week we bring home four packages of pork, all I can find are delicious looking chicken recipes. Oh well. Time to dig into my recipe collection yet again.
This pork recipe kind of comes from a book I borrowed from my mom called A Collage of Canadian Cooking. It’s the kind of cookbook I’ve pulled out many times, flipped through and put back without even finding a recipe I might want to make should I have all the ingredients. This time, though, I had a bit of a mission: pork recipes.
This recipe is actually meant to be a sparerib marinade. No matter. I tweaked it to work with my pork chops. In the end, this reminded me almost exactly of the Chinese take-out kind of pork.
Sweet Honey Pork
Adapted from The Collage of Canadian Cooking
1/4 cup flour
2 tbsp Cajun seasoning or any other blend of seasonings
3 good sized pork chops, trimmed of fat and cut into chunks
Mix together the flour and seasoning in a bowl. Drop the pork chunks into the flour and coat. Heat some oil (I used canola) on a skillet over medium heat. Brown the pork pieces evenly. If your skillet isn’t large enough, do this in batches so the pieces can be spread evenly in the skillet.
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp minced ginger
Mix the above ingredients in a bowl. After the pork has been browned, pour the sauce over the pork. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer until the sauce has reduced to the thickness you want.