"Dated, goofy or both": Lower your grocery bill by retiring these 11 tired dishes

Let's start with rice cakes and frozen pizza

By D. Watkins

Editor at Large

Published May 30, 2023 3:00PM (EDT)

Frozen section of grocery store (Getty Images/Erik Isakson)
Frozen section of grocery store (Getty Images/Erik Isakson)

The current price of two weeks' worth of groceries for a family of three is about $72k. OK, maybe it doesn't cost much, but I'm not the only one who feels these prices are too high

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report that stated: "While food prices generally increased about 2% in prior years, they increased about 11% from 2021 to 2022. Inflation contributed to the increase. But there were other factors—like global disruptions to the food supply chain—that may have had a greater impact." 

When it comes to grocery shopping, I must admit that I am a 40-year-old infant. I wish I were joking, but my wife literally fills the cart with everything we need for the house and then sends me the link with the caption, "Hey babe, add the snacks you want!" accompanied by a smiley face. And just like a child, I smile at the smiley face before adding popcorn and cookies and chocolate-covered pretzels and grapes and always more eggs before confirming the order. 

The bill always hovers around $200 bucks, and we are slow eaters, so the food lasts. 

How did I buy groceries before my wife? That's easy — I didn't. Well, I would buy cereal and bottled water. Like a lot of bottled water. Think of December 31, 1999, when everyone thought the world was going to end so we bought up all the bottled water, as if Aquafina or Deer Park could save us. 

"Why is your refrigerator so empty?" friends would ask. "And what's up with all the water?"  

But last week when my wife sent the link to the cart, after I added all of my snacks I noticed the bill was close to $400. 

I panicked, scouring the list to see if she made mistakes by adding things twice or did something wild like ordering 10 ounces of caviar. She didn't. The cost of food has simply risen. The GAO's Steve Morris said, "Prices are expected to grow more slowly in 2023 than they did in 2022. But it's still going to grow more than the historic annual average of 2%. When you look at the forecast for this year's prices, they're predicted to increase anywhere from 5 to 10%, and probably settle around 8%. So, they're still going to be really high."

So in response to this crisis, I'm making it my duty to aid you in cutting costs by recommending 11 unnecessarily costly and outdated dishes that could be immediately removed from menus across the country — starting with mine and yours.

Baked chicken
The dumbest thing you can do to a beautiful chicken is to bake it. Baked chicken, yawn, is just so boring, yawn, and I don't care how juicy it comes out yawn after your TikTok recipe, yawn, yawn, yawn. If you are not frying or grilling the chicken, stop buying it. Drumsticks can go, too, as the drumstick is the worst part of the bird, and I'd argue that it shouldn't even be edible. Honestly, even frying can't save drumsticks.
As an African American man who has spent most of his life around a majority of African American people, I must honestly say that I do not know what casserole is. Like, I know, but I don't really know. On more than one occasion, I asked a white person what casserole is, and they've all responded, "Oh, you just throw a whole bunch of stuff in a pan, sprinkle cheese on top and then bake it." I think that is horrible, and if we ever truly want to experience unity, then throwing a bunch of cheese on top of something before baking it must stop now.
Chili is one the most overrated dishes of all dishes. I've had chili from cheap spots and expensive spots. Chili made by people from Chile (true story), chili made in cook-offs by people arguing over who had the best recipe, and chili that a person said I was going to love because they prepared it in a slow cooker for an extended amount of time. I think I even had chili from a person who specialized in nothing but making chili. It is always terrible.

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Nobody really likes salmon. Think about it: Society has tricked us into thinking we love this bland, useless fish, always marketed as the key to happiness and being eternally fit. I've been eating salmon forever and have never been fit; it's a lie. And since we are on the topic of salmon, I think it's time for us to admit that farm-raised — which is gross — tastes way better than wild, which is also gross but is supposed to be healthier. You can keep it all. 

Spaghetti noodles

Spaghetti noodles have the worst shape and are horrible. If you are craving pasta and a meat sauce, just buy bowtie. 

Beef Wellington and London Broil

I'm going to place Beef Wellington and London Broil together because, well, what the hell is a Beef Wellington and London Broil? I feel like they should have expired from our existence around the time that Michael J. Fox TV show "Family Ties" was canceled. Something about the names of those dishes also sounds oppressive, like I never had a positive exchange with someone with the name Wellington. I know those dishes are classics to many, but some things just need to go, like student debt, income tax, MC Hammer pants and cars that run on gasoline

You never told a friend, "Hey, go to that big restaurant on Main Street, and please try the liver." 
Diet foods

By diet food, I mean crap like rice cakes, seaweed chips and Special K. There's nothing more gross than a rice cake. Rice is not meant to be consumed as a cake. You can't even put icing on it. How is it a cake if you can't even put icing on it? Discussing seaweed chips triggers me. Since I'm committed to honesty, though, I should say that I do like Special K (regular Special K, not those goofy remixed Honey-Nut or Strawberry versions). The problem is that the cereal is not filling, so it is not doing its job, which makes it worthless. 

Frozen pizza
Frozen pizza, even DiGiorno, has historically been disgusting. It should not be in your cart or freezer, even if you get it for free.
Crunchy taco shells 
I'm putting crunchy taco shells on the list because they are disrespectful and equally juvenile. Plus, they sever in two, exposing all of the innards after you take the first bite. Why spend so much time making something into a taco just to end up eating it like a salad? 
Chicken and waffles
Let's abolish chicken and waffles, too. I love the Southern dish, but mainstream society has ruined it, similar to how corporate America destroyed hip-hop.

Removing these items from your menus may not make your trips to the market much cheaper because you will have to replace them with something. However, it will guarantee that you will have a better dining experience because it is 2023, and every item listed is dated, goofy or both. Bon appetit!

By D. Watkins

D. Watkins is an Editor at Large for Salon. He is also a writer on the HBO limited series "We Own This City" and a professor at the University of Baltimore. Watkins is the author of the award-winning, New York Times best-selling memoirs “The Beast Side: Living  (and Dying) While Black in America”, "The Cook Up: A Crack Rock Memoir," "Where Tomorrows Aren't Promised: A Memoir of Survival and Hope" as well as "We Speak For Ourselves: How Woke Culture Prohibits Progress." His new books, "Black Boy Smile: A Memoir in Moments," and "The Wire: A Complete Visual History" are out now.

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