Summer brings with it a plethora of an abundance of manifold cooking opportunities: outdoor grilling and smoking; indoor grilling and, less advisedly, smoking; beach picnics; lazy Sundays in the back yard, cooking burgers and hot dogs on the barbeque while listening to the game (lions, tigers, elephants) and wondering what they’re doing in a suburb in North America.
For these and other warm-weather cooking celebrations, there’s no place like Costco for stocking up on everything you’ll need, whether you’re preparing a modest meal for two, or feeding an army of family and friends.
Note, however, that this chain of popular “warehouse discounters” does not centrally control its inventory. Each store carries items that appeal to its particular local clientele, and declines to carry others. Still, the odds are good that you’ll find the following summer basics at every location.
1. Forty-Five Cubic Feet of Mayonnaise
It comes in a jar—a very big jar—that can often present a challenge to open. (Tip: Try recruiting seven or eight volunteers for a group “opening party,” like an Amish barn-raising. Thereafter, seal jar finger-tight.) Once you’re in, though, you’ll have more than enough mayo to dress potato salads and cole slaws until the heat death of the universe.
2. Flank Steak by the Acre
Never mind where it comes from, or how they find cows that big. Pro chefs and food writers are unanimous in their praise for Costco beef. If you’re lucky, and one of the butchers backstage isn’t too occupied with band-sawing boneless short ribs into surfboard-sized planks, he’ll pre-cut the flank steaks into slabs that will (with enough bungee cords) easily stack on top of your car. Otherwise, maybe hire one of those outfits that move entire houses, intact, on giant flatbeds. You’ll only have to do it once in a lifetime.
3. All the Mushrooms in the World
Whether grilled over a forest fire to golden perfection, marinated in the bath tub, or slipped onto javelins with basketball-sized nuggets of chicken or beef for kebabs that look like totem poles, mushrooms are always a summer hit. And at Costco, where less is way more than less and more is even more, all it takes is one trip to come away with enough fungi for this, and a thousand, summers.
4. Literally a Silo Full of Oregano
Oregano is one of the most popular herbs in the world, indispensable for Italian, Mexican, Turkish, American, Argentine, and many other cuisines. And silos are one agriculture’s most preferred facilities. Together they make an unbeatable combination for summer sauces, marinades, and long-term storage over a minimal real estate “footprint.” If home delivery isn’t an option at your local Costco, ask if you can move in and live in the store.
5. Abrams M-1 Tank
How are you going to protect all that food from hungry neighbors, unexpected relatives dropping in, and, decades hence, ravening mobs driven by climate change to the brink of starvation? Costco has you covered with this no-nonsense bad boy that’s been taking care of battlefield business since it was introduced in 1980. The good news: the Abrams M-1 (per Wikipedia) “introduced several innovative features, including a multifuel turbine engine, sophisticated Chobham composite armor, a computer fire control system, separate ammunition storage in a blow-out compartment, and NBC protection for crew safety.” The bad news: Costco’s model is somewhat older, and lacks the sophisticated optics of the current model. But those enemies descending on your cheeseburgers won’t know that. With one of these in your backyard, you’ll be guaranteed a summer of undisturbed cookout fun.