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Live alone? Manage your groceries
Sangeetha Raj, Sheela |
March 16, 2006
Single in the city?
Then you belong to that fearless tribe who whip up their own meals, religiously pay the rent month after month, do their own grocery shopping, stock up on takeaway menus, ward off loneliness and lots more.
According to Get Ahead reader Sangeetha Raj, 31, a software team leader who lives the single life in Bangalore, one of her biggest problems is wasting groceries -- often, what she buys gets spoilt before she can use it.
Here are some of her ideas to help use all that you buy.
i. Use dry red chillies instead of green chillies. The former remain usable for months and can replace green chillies in many recipes.
ii. Use ghee instead of butter when making toast. Ghee stays fresh longer.
iii. Buy atta and rava that come in packets; these last longer than when purchased loose.
iv. When you are bored of noodles, try pasta. When you are bored of pasta, buy noodles again. Alternate between Maggi and Top Ramen. Thumb rule: variety helps.
Note: If you are young and reasonably healthy, noodles can't harm you even if taken twice or thrice a week. It hasn't harmed me for five years. It could be because my company provides a balanced meal for lunch. This tip is not for those with sensitive stomachs.
Sangeetha keeps an essentials kit handy for emergencies. This includes:
i. A torch (or emergency lamp).
Buy the heavier steel torch. It can serve as a weapon during emergencies.
ii. Candles and matchboxes.
Buy bigger candles. Small ones break often and burn very fast. Buy smaller matchboxes. Big matchboxes will be cold and useless much before you can finish it.
This must include paracetamol, pain balm, Vicks or Amrutanjan and band-aid.
vi. Spare bulbs
Repairs for rented homes
According to Sangeetha, most tenants need to inform the landlord. However, in cases like hers where the landlord stays out of town, you will need to take care of emergency quick-fixes yourself. It is pretty easy to locate plumbers, carpenters or electricians in your area.
~ If you need a carpenter, go to a furniture store or where carpentry work is done. They will send their own carpenter or will know where you can get one.
~ If you need an electrician, ask at the electrical hardware store. They will know an electrician.
~ If you need a plumber, enquire at the sanitaryware store. They will know a plumber.
Get Ahead reader Sheela*, a mother of two, has some sound advice for singles. She wrote:
~ I generally buy vegetables on Saturday since I work half-day and have sufficient time to clean/ cut and store them.
~ I prepare fresh masala pastes/ gravies and store in the fridge for future use. Blend a mix of onion, garlic, ginger, whole red chillies, cumin and coriander seeds, fry, cool and store.
I make another paste of coriander leaves, green chillies and ginger.
Likewise, I keep a sweet and sour tamarind/ date paste in the fridge which lasts for more than three to four months and can be used on plain boiled potatoes, boiled lentils and a variety of pakodas and chaats.
~ Once a week, I soak either moong, kabuli chana, rajma, black-eyed beans, horse gram, etc, and use it as a salad with a lot of fresh herbs as garnishing.
~ I make sure I don't run out of groceries and keep fridge well stocked. At any given time I have chappati dough/ masala paratha dough ready in the fridge so that it can be made and served hot within no time.
~ I keep cut vegetables in the fridge, hence my cooking takes me about half an hour at the most. And I can entertain at any time, thanks to my well stocked kitchen shelves.
* Name changed on request
Do you currently live alone? Have you perfected the art of grocery management? Do you specialise in quick, easy-to make recipes? Share your tips. Don't forget to mention your name, age, location and what you do for a living.