I am still without a full-time job. That means I’m cheap. Groceries tend to be a place where I think I can save a lot of money. Usually, this is no problem. In the US I had figured out what kind of cheap foods still tasted good. Not here in Sweden though. Not even close.
Having spent a decent amount of time here before the move I had a pretty good base as to what kind of food I liked. Herrgårds ost (a delicious cheese), Kalles Kaviar (basically caviar in a toothpaste tube… classy), filmjölk (sour thick milk, you can’t wait to try it huh?), and of course Swedish meatballs (they need no explanation). These are staples of any Swede’s fridge, and they are delicious. I love Swedish food; it is just a little expensive. A lot of that has to do with the fact that I’m in Stockholm but still.
Anyway, I need to expand my horizons, and get a little variety in my meals. I also need to save money. That is where it gets tricky. While Stockholm is the most livable city in the world, it is also one of the most expensive. And groceries are no different. I’ve been trying to cook more, trying to get as many food groups into meals as I can, just try to be halfway of an adult, an adu if you will, about my eating habits. But come on, I came to Sweden partly because I needed to get away from the US where I was afraid I’d end up being an adult too quickly.
I love breakfast cereal. With milk, with filmjölk, with yogurt, it doesn’t matter, give me cereal and some sort of relatively runny dairy product and I’m a happy man. And considering that I’m only halfway trying to be an adult I eat a lot of cereal. For two days I had been without cereal so I finally made my way to the grocery store today. I know what kinds of cereal I like but I wanted something cheap. So I got some Choco-crisps. The idea was that they would be delicious chocolaty rice crispies. I was sorely mistaken. They were foul. Not chocolaty at all. In fact, they tasted kind of bitter and coffeey. A horrible mistake on my part. As a wise hotel owner in Australia once told me and DCP, “You get what you pay for love!” She was right. And it is a lesson I will carry with me forever. Whether I take that lesson into account is another thing.
This wasn’t the first time I had been bitten trying to save some money on food. You would think I would learn. Especially since I love delicious food. I just have a hard time bringing myself to pay so much for food. Plus I’m still stuck in the mindset of converting everything to dollars. And even though the dollar is near record lows in comparison to the SEK, food is still cheaper in America. I need to get out of that conversion mentality. Hopefully it will pass soon because it is a killer.
Being an adu, I also struggle in planning my grocery trips ahead. Way too often I find myself hungry without enough food to make something worth eating. So it’s off to the grocery store. This is never a good situation. Suddenly I find myself surrounded by glorious food and I’m damn hungry. Now, as I mentioned, I’m trying to save money. A grocery store on an empty stomach is not a good place to save money. Especially because almost every grocery store has their wall of candy right before checkout. So now, not only did I start out hungry, I’ve now walked through an entire building of temptation only to be faced with enough candy to feed a small army, or at least a group of third graders. It’s just not easy. And so, money gets spent.
But so it goes, and I’m learning every time. Next time I cereal shop maybe I’ll just get the second cheapest brand. It’s always an adventure in the grocery store. Just a series of Welcome to Sweden moments I suppose.