In an effort to better understand how different Millennials purchase and use meat, I interviewed my friend Cathy Lee about her grocery shopping habits. Cathy is a former urbanite turned Millennial mom, now living in the suburbs of Chicago. She works part-time as an occupational therapist and spends the rest of her time trying to get dinner on the table while chasing her toddler.
Midan Marketing (MM): Tell me how you typically shop for groceries in a given week.
Cathy Lee (CL): I usually go to the grocery store three to four times a week, and the place I go depends on what is closest or what I need.
MM:Where do you shop for meat products? And why?
CL: For meat products, I mostly go to Costco or Jewel. I really prefer to go to Mariano’s for grocery shopping overall, but it’s kind of far away. Jewel has really great sales on meat, so I can buy in bulk, and then freeze it for later use. Same with Costco — I love that their meat comes in packages I can put in the freezer as soon as I get home. Meat from the regular grocery store you have to use right away. Heinen’s has higher-quality meats, but is very expensive and has a limited selection.
MM: What cuts of meat do you typically purchase?
CL: My husband is better at preparing red meat, so he’ll make a lot of ribs (he has a great Chinese rib recipe!), steaks in the cast-iron skillet and pork chops. I’m not good at preparing red meat, so I buy a lot of thinner steaks for stir-fry and chicken breasts. I do, however, love eating red meat in restaurants.
I also always have some kind of ground beef in the house. I really like it with pasta sauce. There’s one particular brand of ground beef I buy that is perfect. It’s organic, has the perfect amount in a package, tastes great and is a good price. I buy them in bulk and put them in the freezer. I used to buy ground beef from the regular grocery store, but now I stick to this kind.
By the way, you know what would be really helpful? If grocery stores told me which cut of meat is good for which type of dish. Chicken breast is super-easy, but with red meat, what is the difference between a chuck and stew meat? Is one better than the other? Does one have more fat than the other? I have no idea what the difference is or what to do with them, so I just don’t buy it. My husband would know the difference, but he doesn’t do the shopping.
MM:Can you tell me how your meat shopping has changed over the years?
CL:I can tell you that before our daughter was born, we (OK, mostly he) used to make a lot of fun meals, like a rack of lamb or boeuf bourguignon. Now that we have a toddler, it’s mostly stir-fry because it’s easy. I can make a whole meal in one pot (less to clean, too), and you can stretch it out to have multiple meals. It’s pretty easy to mix the meat with vegetables and starch for a quick meal.
MM: Where do you get your meal ideas from?
CL: Mostly Pinterest. Or that Better Home and Gardens red-and-white-checkered cookbook everyone gets when they get married. But it’s mostly from the internet.
“You know what would be really helpful? If grocery stores told me which cut of meat is good for which type of dish.”
—Cathy Lee, Millennial mom