Bulk cooking can result in bulk savings
MY mum, who had little time for cooking, always taught me to double any recipe and freeze the rest. With even less time than her, I'm teaching my kids to quadruple.
I'm not sure New Italy's Americo Melchior lived under the same sort of generationally-compounded time pressures, but the guy knows how to cook in bulk.
Every week for 60 years our region's Godfather of Spaghetti makes between 40 and 90 litres of spaghetti sauce.
On Sunday, he will be at Carnevale Italiano in New Italy with 20 volunteers serving up litres of the stuff .
Americo may be the master, but increasingly, say local bulk food stores, residents are seeing the advantage of buying and cooking in bulk. Whether it's a return to simpler healthier eating or a widespread thriftiness, bulk food shops are shedding their hippy image.
According to one local bulk food seller, bulk wholefoods are increasingly being scooped and poured by a wide range of consumers - from kids who fill lolly bags right through to penny-pinching grandmas.
There are particularly big saving when it comes to buying organic products. According to the Bulk Is Green Council, organic bulk foods cost an average of 89% less than their packaged counterparts.
"There seems to be distrust among consumers of the supermarkets and the quality of their food," said one wholefoods retailer.
Not only are you saving on transport and packaging costs, the bulk food shopping experience is delightful. I don't know if it's all the scoop sharing, but there is a collective feeling of potential as everyone clutches handwritten recipes and peers into vats of organic of flour and legumes. And for singles, there is ample opportunity to bump into bright-eyed shoppers with whom to potentially soak your mungbeans overnight.
Bulk cooking is also a great way to expand your network. It's a reason to open up your kitchen and rejoice in the seasonal delights.
Just ask Americo, our Godfather of Spaghetti. Who needs a big freezer when you have litres of pasta sauce and a vibrant and well connected community with which to share it. Just like mama made.
Save money by buying in bulk
- Always carry your recipe when shopping and measure your ingredients well so you don't have to throw out that extra cupful.
- Remember to wash out old airtight jars and keep them for shopping trips. Old feta tubs are a great storage solution.
- Bulk food retailers have a closer connection to the source of their supplies. Ask them the story behind your flour or tahini.
- The big problem with bulk dry goods is the threat of weevils. Ensure your pantry is clear of the suckers and as soon you bring your flour home, seal it inside an airtight container or freezer bag and put it in the freezer for four days. Remove and store as usual. The freezing process will kill off any eggs and weevils already present in the flour.