An Ode to Market Basket

On this Labor Day, I sat down to think about what Market Basket means to me.

It's been a really tough summer without Market Basket. Words cannot express how glad I am that it's back. I'm very proud of all the Market Basket employees who stood up for what they believed in and refused to give in to corporate greed. They fought even when things looked bleak and in the end they got their beloved Artie T. back. We have to stop supporting the CEOs who line their pockets at the expense of the workers below them and we have to start supporting businesses like Market Basket that demonstrate that profitability does not come at the cost of unhappy and poorly paid workers.

I've been shopping at this local supermarket chain for over 15 years. It all started when I was a teenager and worked next door to the Bellingham, MA store. My mother and I loved Market Basket's prices and the proximity to my job. It was so convenient. We didn't love the packed parking lot and the rude customers who took up precious aisle space needlessly. But those situations are inherent in any grocery shopping experience. Market Basket always seemed worse than others. I knew people who would pay more to go elsewhere for a quieter shopping experience. I learned how to navigate the craziness and avoided peak hours. It was worth it the extra effort. Why? Because Market Basket has two basic things that made it the best grocery store around: low prices and variety.

When I left my parent's home and moved closer to the city, I was really poor. I barely had enough to pay all my bills. I depended on the nearby Market Basket in Burlington, MA for my groceries. I tried going to the local Stop n Shop but those trips always proved to be disastrous. I would overpay for basics and could never find everything on my list. The hike to the Burlington store could be frustrating and that store's layout before it's renovation was not ideal but even a bad Market Basket was better than any other grocery store in the area.

There was a time I really wanted to leave Market Basket. I dreamt of shopping at Whole Foods or Wilson Farms full-time. But all I could manage was buying produce at those stores and everything else at Market Basket. Then I discovered the Market Basket in Woburn, MA. It was leagues better than the Burlington store with more product and a much better lay out. I could find everything there.

When I moved in with my husband Carlos, my grocery bill tripled. He's a big man with a big appetite and he prefers healthy food. And as we all know it's much cheaper to buy junk food than it is to buy fresh meat and produce.  Now that I had the responsibility of buying so much food, how were we going to pay for it all?

I began to hone my grocery shopping and meal planning skills. I made a menu plan and plotted out dinners for each night of the week. Dinners had to be four servings so that the leftovers could be eaten for lunch the next day. That would maximize the food as well as my time. We went out to eat a lot less and I started cooking more often at home. When finances got really tight, I started paying close attention to the Market Basket circulars. My menu plan was influenced by which meats, produce and pantry staples were on sale.

We've been able to always afford food thanks to the reliability of Market Basket. When the boycott started, I didn't know what to do and I spent most of the summer with a lot of sadness. I felt like I lost control of my life. Grocery shopping was always something I had a complete handle on.

During the boycott, I shopped at Aldi, Whole Foods, Roche Bros. and Stop n Shop while the boycott was happening. I wanted to support the workers who were fighting for what they believed in. I always thought Market Basket was cheap because they kept the overhead low and paid their workers poorly. Little did I know that Market Basket was a great place to work because of Artie T. He gave them a living wage, profit sharing opportunities and made them feel like they were contributing to the company. They weren't just underpaid peons. I wish I had known this before.

The weeks away from Market Basket were brutal. I wanted the boycott to be over so badly. It was sad to see photos of empty store shelves. And it was terrifying to see products like rotisserie chicken sold at other stores for $8.99-$10.99 when I knew I could get the same thing at Market Basket for less than $5.

The Market Basket boycott came at a time when income inequality was dominating my thoughts. I had just watched the documentary Inequality for All and was wondering if good business was a thing of the past. Now that Market Basket is back, I know that it's possible. It's restored my faith in the future.

And now, I'm very proud to call myself a Market Basket customer.

Weekly Meal Plan 6/13-6/19

I'm very excited because the Woburn Greek Festival is this weekend! My husband and I go every year (check out my previous reviews here and here). I'm looking forward to diving into a Plaki Plate (baked fish, beans, rice, salad and a roll) as well as treating myself to some Finikia cookies.

Saturday Soba Noodle Bowl 
Sunday – Ground Chicken & Herb Mini Meatloafs with Roasted Corn, Vinegar Mashed Potatoes and Lettuce Salad with Vinegar & Oil
Monday – Sloppy Joes with Steamed Green Beans & Cucumber Potato Salad 
Tuesday – Hoisin Chicken, Roasted Sweet Potato/Rice & Cucumber & Tomato Salad
Wednesday – Shrimp with Steamed Broccoli & Sauteed Mushrooms /Marinated Pork Chops with Rice and Carrot & Celery Sticks with Hummus
Thursday – Eggs, Brussels Sprouts, Roasted Sweet Potato/Steak, White Rice and Asparagus

 Here are some deals I'm taking advantage of this week

Market Basket
Ground Beef 80/20
Chicken Thighs
Sweet Red Peppers
GLAD Mega Pack Trash Bags

Whole Foods
Organic Lettuce

Green Valley Organics Yogurt Coupons

Weekly Meal Plan 6/6-6/12/14

Sloppy Joes
Last week I was on a business trip and the chaos of which led me to some unhealthy eating choices. I feel so much better now that I'm back and can take control over my meals again.

I've been feeling really good doing a low-carb diet. I've reduced my sugar intake and cut out a lot of pasta and try to only have bread or rice once a week or once every other week. My body responds well to this diet. I've been able to control my hypoglycemia, I have fewer issues with my IBS and some weight loss doesn't hurt either! I injured my IT band so if I want to continue my weight loss efforts with less exercise, diet will be the way to go!

Here's my meal plan for the week. I was very excited to find a recipe for Sheet-pan clambake! It looks very manageable and I'm going to reduce it so it works for one person.

FridaySheet pan Clambake for me and Southwest Meatball Skillet for my husband
SaturdayBaked Jalepeno Poppers  Tomato, Cucumber & Avocado Salad, Fried Thin Cut Steak/Tuna, Tostones
Sunday Sloppy Joes with Scallions and Cheese on top, Steamed Freezer Vegetables
Monday – Marinated Flank Steak, Roasted Baby Potatoes/Sweet Potato, Roasted Green Beans
Tuesday – Eggs, Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potato - Hoisin Chicken, Cucumber Salad and Rice
Wednesday – Shrimp, Steamed Broccoli & Sauteed Mushrooms – Steak, Brown Rice and Asparagus
Thursday – Marinated Thick Cut Pork Chops and Steamed Mixed Vegetables

Here are some deals I'm taking advantage of

Market Basket
Pam Cooking Spray
Taylor Farms Vegetable Bags
Baby Portobello Mushrooms

Whole Foods
Organic Strawberries
Organic Vine Tomatoes
Cedar's Mediterranean Hommus
90/10 Ground Beef

Green Valley Organics Yogurt Coupon

Weekly Meal Plan 4/18-4/24/14

I'm back from vacation and boy did I learn a tough lesson about health and eating. I was on a regimented diet before I left for California. It was one that my body had grown accustom to and was thriving on. I ate modest sized breakfasts, lunches, and dinners with small snacks in between and was eating more protein, dairy, vegetables and fruits and barely any carbohydrates or sugars. On my trip my schedule was so jam packed that I would have large meals (with more carbs than I'm used to) and may not eat for several hours at a time. My stomach was not happy with me and what resulted was being sick with nausea for the whole week! Once I came back and returned to my normal eating routine my body felt a lot better. Moral of the story: don't sacrifice your health on a trip!

This week I'm going to try to cook with whole artichokes for the first time. Wish me luck! And I finally invested in a cast iron skillet. I'll be making more frittatas and breakfast pizzas that used to be a struggle to make without a skillet I could put in the oven.

Friday - Date night
Saturday - Ham and Asparagus Frittata with Spring Greens 
Sunday Brunch - Cinnamon Roasted Pineapple with Macadamia Nut Cream and a side of Waffles
Sunday Dinner - Steak, Green Beans & Onion Rings for my husband, Crab Stuffed Artichokes with a side of Roasted Butternut Squash and Green Beans for me
Monday - Fried Thin Cut Pork Chops, Roasted Asparagus with Green Onions and Leek Gratin with carrots for dipping
Tuesday - Mediterranean Chopped Salad, Grilled Chicken Kabobs and Pita
Wednesday - Tacos (Lettuce Shells for me, Corn Shells for my husband)
Thursday - Pork Stir Fry 

Here are some deals I'm taking advantage of:

Market Basket
Applegate Organic Lunch meats
Love Beets sale plus coupon
Jumbo Green Peppers
European Cucumbers
Butternut Squash
Vegetable Tray with Dip
Polar Seltzer

Whole Foods
Clif Bars Coupon
Luna Bars Coupon
Green Valley Organics Yogurt Coupon
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