Yes, I am a big spender.

I have discovered the witching hour for grocery shopping. Obviously, the best time to shop is at 2 a.m. because the store is deserted with the exception of some drunks. They are provided for our entertainment.

But for those of us who prefer to shop during the day? And away from people? Because people generally don’t understand basic cart etiquette? Turns out that 2:30 on a Wednesday afternoon is a pretty chill time.

It was just me and 1 other lady in the whole of the produce section. No randos abandoning their carts on a diagonal so as to block all the apples and all the root veggies. No soccer moms on their phones, leaving their $500 purses open and unattended in their carts while they grab organic arugula. I’m no thief, but even I want to grab a purse every once in a while just to say, “See? Do you see how easy it is? Do you see how stupid you’re being?”

I’m great fun at parties.

The thing about the produce section is that it makes me feel slightly crazed. Not because of my purse-snatching proclivities. No, I feel loopy because it’s the location of my greatest splurge.

When I was but a wee lass o’ 30, living in a not-great apartment and trying to get my freelance business up and running, money was tight. Real tight. Trying-to-only-spend-$20-a-week-on-groceries tight.

During those days, I was crazy skinny. It was great. But I was skinny because I was unhappy, and I was skinny because I did crazy things like limit my yogurt intake to 2 cartons a week. I wasn’t trying to cut back on dairy. No, those 89-cent cartons of Yoplait were a splurge.

I knew I had made it when I started buying yogurt with abandon. Some folks know they’re successful when they buy a car or nice clothes. For me? It was eating yogurt every day. Like a boss. Whenever I bought 7 cartons of yogurt, I felt secure.

Now? Now, dairy is not my friend. We broke up. And I don’t feel the need to limit my grocery spending, although I am constantly amazed that my husband expects to eat every day. But I still try to be smart about our grocery dollar.

My big splurge? Cilantro.

Hey there, cilantro. Say ‘hi’ to your mother for me.

I know. I know! It costs anywhere from 50 cents to a dollar. And I buy a bunch each week. Because it makes me feel fancy.

It used to be that whenever I made a recipe that called for fresh cilantro, I’d just throw in some dried cilantro and muddle through. It was fine.

But then? Then, I realized how amazing real cilantro is, since I’m not of the sad group that thinks it tastes like soap. And even though most recipes are fine without it, I buy it and I use it. I even use it when it’s just called for as a garnish. Because I’m worth it! And it makes me feel like an adult and a good cook and possibly also a princess. Because nobody scrimps when it comes to garnishing for royalty.

My cilantro habit probably costs me about $30 a year. Decadent? Obviously. But it’s worth every penny.

What’s your big splurge?

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  • Reply Molly February 18, 2016 at 12:35 am

    As someone from the sad group that knows it tastes like soap… blech!

    I have a weird and restricted diet (thanks medical issues) so I have limited fun with food. But basil! Basil is probably my splurge. I love making pesto!

  • Reply Kelley February 18, 2016 at 12:56 am

    The feta-stuffed olives from the olive bar. And the kalamata olives from the olive bar. And anything from the olive bar.

  • Reply Leesa February 18, 2016 at 4:15 am

    Hummus, and not the plain variety. Specifically, Sabra's Roasted Pine Nut Hummus. And Noosa Yoghurt — it's this creamy, decadent full of fat and flavor carton of pure yum.

  • Reply Becky February 18, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    Cheese. Definitely cheese.

  • Reply Kari Wagner February 18, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    I love Aldi for this reason.
    I can get pancetta.
    It costs so much at the regular grocery store but is so much less there.

    By the way, I know a few people who shop in the middle of the night on purpose because of the above.
    I may have to try that.

  • Reply cookingwithgas February 19, 2016 at 11:26 am

    Coffe bought directly from Pete's in Seattle.
    My mother found this as the perfect gift for the men in the family.
    We are carry this on.
    As far as the store, nuts.
    We both love cashews, if we fill flush I buy two cans, salted for him, no salt or light for me.

  • Reply Nance February 21, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    Only the Real Butter. And good Olive Oil. And only Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese on the odd times that I need cream cheese. The off brands taste that way…off.

  • Reply Green Girl in Wisconsin February 27, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    I know exactly what you mean about the grocery splurge. For me it's yogurt and ice cream. I buy what I want, the price be damned. And I feel like we are grocery shopping twins because I have strong opinions about when to shop and the types of people I encounter at various times of the week/day.

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