Wednesday, May 9, 2012

"Merchant Ship" Day

Getting ready to take on the farmers' market
I recently did an experiment and found that it was a mistake. I went two whole months without shopping at Costco. I hope to never do it again. Without sharing shameful details of an annihilated budget, I'll just say that it is really, really expensive to feed a family of seven (bottomless pits) on good, healthful food with grocery-store portions and prices.

That said, the children and I embarked on Operation Fill Pantry yesterday. According to my GPS, our round trip was 69.2 miles. Along our route, we covered very interesting territory. Fuel prices notwithstanding, Houston is a fun city for the traveling grocery-getter.

"She is like the ships of the merchant;
    she brings her food from afar."
Proverbs 31:14

I like to start at the farthest point and work my way back, so our first stop was the Mexican farmers' market. It's a fun cultural experience, and many people assume that we are Spanish-speaking. Yesterday we were questioned twice about our ethnicity. We're used to it.

I suspect that these mango "pops" are at the heart of my children's enthusiasm about accompanying me at the market.

If the mango "pops" aren't the lure for my children on these trips, I'm sure that the Mexican bakery across the street certainly is. One of their favorite Texas treats is the kolache. My friend, Sue, makes amazing homemade kolaches; but since we wouldn't just call her up and demand them on impulse, my family likes to get them from this bakery, filled with meat and cheese.

Gabriela patiently awaited her turn, tools in hand.

Next to the bakery is a spice store. I took advantage of its close proximity, rather than heading to my normal source. I probably won't do that the next time, though. As I drove right by Penzeys afterward, I immediately regretted having made the switch. Some things are just worth making the extra stop.

Craig really loves these sausages; but the market where we get them is only open on Saturday mornings. As I've mentioned before, track meets occupy our Saturday mornings, so I had to find another source. An online search led us to Nundini Italian Kitchen - a quaint little market/deli/restaurant with a gelato display that was very hard to resist. Mustering all my will power, I managed to walk away with only the sausages.

We finally made our way to Costco, and it was like seeing an old friend again. Making up for lost time, we ended up needing two carts. I knew going in that we should probably get a flatbed...

In the end, our Suburban was filled to capacity, which came back to haunt us when the trunk was opened. Thirty-two eggs met their demise on the floor of our garage, as the large box that had shifted couldn't be caught in time. Thankfully, there was no broken glass involved, and we still have forty eggs intact. 

And if I might add a Tip of the Day: Letting a 100+ pound dog lick up the broken eggs can lead to... um... air pollution.

A beautiful mess. I should have kept track of how long it took us to put it all away.

Deal of the Day: Three cases of mangos for $18.

Gabriela is proud of her fruit display.

Now that bulk shopping is done, it's time to make my regular grocery list. A mother's work is never done - and what joyful labor it is!


  1. Looks like a fun day! Chloe Hannon and I went to Costco this week as well. Love that place!

  2. Did your shopping include Canninos? We just love it there! We took some friends last week, and we bought some of those mangoes too :).

  3. Cristie, I think that our first-ever encounter with Costco was with you and Tim in Monterey. I bought a huge dictionary and felt so proud. :-)

    Micaela, we did go to Caninos! It's so fun. We love going there, too!

  4. Ooh, where is that Mexican market? The only ones I know are City Hall, Discovery Green, Lamar High School (must remember to go tomorrow - it's been months!), and that HCC (UofH?) campus on the west loop.