|Marketing Versus Telephoning
Visits to food markets or grocery stores are most essential,
especially if one is learning to buy. It is first necessary to find
desirable market places or stores,--those that are clean and
reliable. Screened windows and doors, and adequate bins, boxes,
jars, or other receptacles for storing foods are necessary in
keeping foods clean. After one has found desirable places for
marketing, it is well to become acquainted with desirable brands of
staple canned or package goods. After this knowledge is gained such
foods may be ordered by telephone, or by messenger with
But no matter how experienced the buyer, it is more satisfactory to
select at markets perishable goods such as meat, fish, fruits, and
vegetables that wilt readily. In certain cases where the housekeeper
has such obligations or so many duties that a personal visit to
markets is impossible, food must be purchased by telephone or
messenger. Such a procedure, however, is usually followed at the
sacrifice of economy and satisfaction in buying.
Fresh Versus Canned Foods
Fresh foods of good quality are generally more desirable both from
the standpoint of flavor and nutriment than canned goods. When,
however, fresh foods are unseasonable, their price may greatly
exceed that of canned foods. A good rule to follow is to buy fresh
foods when they are in season and the canned ones when fresh foods
of reasonable price cannot be secured. The practice of buying
perishable foods, especially fruits, when they are abundant and
canning them for later use is thrifty.
To buy factory-canned fruits and vegetables when fresh winter
fruits, such as cranberries, oranges, and apples, and root
vegetables may be purchased is questionable both from the standpoint
of economy and nutriment. It is often more economical to purchase
dried rather than canned fruits. The former usually contain more
food value per pound.
Bulk Versus Package Goods
Time spent in placing and sealing foods in packages and the cost of
the containers make the price of package foods exceed those sold in
bulk. Moreover, large packages usually cost more proportionately
than small ones. On the other hand, package foods may be cleaner,
require less handling, and are often much more inviting because of
their attractive wrapping. It does not follow, however, that all
foods sold in containers are cleaner than those sold in bulk.
Unsanitary conditions sometimes prevail at factories where the foods
are packed. It is a safe rule to buy in package form only those
foods which cannot be washed or sterilized by cooking.
Uncooked Versus Cooked Foods
Not only breads, cakes, certain cereals, and canned goods may be
purchased ready cooked, but other foods, such as salads and
puddings, may be bought in certain markets and stores. Such foods
are much higher in price than those of equal quality prepared at
home. The cost of labor, fuel, and "overhead expense" as well as of
materials must be paid for by the purchaser. Unless one is engaged
in business other than housekeeping or one's housekeeping duties are
too arduous it is generally not wise to make a practice of buying
Large Versus Small Quantities
It is usually wasteful to purchase perishable foods in large
quantities. Fresh meats, perishable fruits such as berries, and
green vegetables should be purchased only in quantities sufficient
for immediate use. It is sometimes economical, as far as fuel and
time are concerned, to buy enough fresh meat for two days'
consumption, provided all of it can be cooked on the first day, and
then used cold or merely reheated on the second day.
Unless storage space is limited, flour should not be purchased in
less than 25 pound sacks. In less quantity than this it usually
costs more per pound. It is wise for small families, however, to
purchase flour and other grains in smaller quantities in the summer
time since weevils may infest such food materials.
When a non-perishable food such as sugar, or any of the grains,
sells for a fractional sum per pound, it is economical to buy
several pounds so as not to add to the cost per pound. It is wiser,
for example, to buy 2 pounds of dried beans at 12 1/2 cents per
pound than one pound at 13 cents.
Semi-perishable foods such as eggs and fats can usually be purchased
with satisfaction in quantities sufficient for a week. They should,
of course, be stored in a cool place. Many persons find it
economical to buy eggs in large quantities in the summer time and
pack them in water glass for winter use.
Root vegetables and canned goods are cheaper when bought by the
bushel and case. There must, however, be cool, dry storage space to
make the purchase of the former in large quantities practical.
It is impossible to purchase certain foods for small families in
small enough quantities for immediate consumption. A can of
molasses, for example, is usually more than enough for use at one
time. When this is the case, the greatest care should be exercised
to store such foods carefully and to utilize them before they spoil.
Cooperative buying usually means a saving. Such foods as flour,
potatoes, dried vegetables, sugar, apples, and dried fruits may be
purchased by the barrel, box, or other measure. If several families
jointly purchase such quantities of foods, the expense is reduced.
It is also of advantage to buy from the producer. The middle man's
profit is thus eliminated.