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I am excited to announce my next book, “Grocery Shopping Secrets.”

Updated: Nov 20, 2023

I am excited to announce that my next book, “Grocery Shopping Secrets”, is in the final stages of production. It has been several years in the making and is an exhaustive reference filled with grocery-insider wisdom on how to select the freshest perishable products as well as advice on proper storage, ensuring perishable foods stay fresher longer. There is nothing more frustrating than discovering an ingredient you have purchased for a recipe is inferior or has past its prime.

“Grocery Shopping Secrets” also includes a plethora of techniques and tricks I have learned during my years in the kitchen—like making professional-looking fruit and veggie trays, opening a jackfruit, and saving leftover shells from shrimp, crab, and lobster to make seafood stock—as well as directions on freezing everything from milk to fruit to cheese to shellfish.

This book is a must have for the novice cook and an indispensable guide for the more experienced. With rising food prices, it is more and more important to extend our food dollars.

And, when you are using the very best ingredients, your meals will be more delicious. I learned my most valuable lesson about cooking from a simple grocer….. my papa. Great meals begin with shopping. The quality of the ingredients used when preparing a meal can be more important than the recipe. I grew up in a corner market, living and breathing the grocery business. My father founded a small family-owned chain, Steele’s Markets. Merrill Steele was a perfectionist and quite picky about the products he sold, insisting on stocking only the freshest perishable products and best brand names. The legacy he left me was “how to shop.” I learned to select superior food products much like other children learn the alphabet.  

After the death of my parents, I inherited co-ownership of Steele’s and spent the majority of my adult life owning and operating supermarkets and delis in Northern Colorado. My family carried on my father’s legacy of hand-picking only the finest foods for our customers. My experience as a grocer and deli operator taught me the ins and outs, dos and don’ts of supermarket shopping.

My favorite responsibility at Steele’s was creating recipes for our ads, which provided our customers with creative ways to use everyday ingredients. Although I absorbed my father’s wisdom about quality food, I have continued to expand my expertise as the culinary world has changed and as supermarkets have changed.

After our business closed, I compiled the recipes I perfected for our weekly ads into the best-selling, award-winning cookbook, Secret Recipes from the Corner Market. Thousands of copies were embraced by cooks and kitchens as a practical and usable collection of family-tested, customer-approved recipes. Readers loved the grocery-insider tips about selecting and storing food. Secret Recipes from the Corner Market was selected as a “Top Ten Favorite Cookbooks” by the Denver Post Food Staff. It doesn’t matter if you are vegan, vegetarian, or pescatarian or if you are a fan of Ina Garten or the Pioneer Woman, by following my grocery-insider wisdom in selecting and storing produce, meat, fish, dairy, and deli, you will save money because your perishables will be fresher and last longer. And, when you use the very best ingredients, the meals you prepare will be more flavorful. I am excited to share my wisdom with you. It has never been more important to be an informed food shopper. For quality. For quantity. For your budget. It is my hope that my advice will help you survive the health and economic chaos that the 21st century delivered globally My new book will be available for pre-orders on October 15th  on my website, After its launch, “Grocery Shopping Secrets” will also be available on  Amazon. I plan to format it as an eBook so it can be downloaded onto your phone or iPad, and you can take my grocery-insider wisdom with you when you go to the supermarket! I will be releasing more details about my new book in the coming weeks.   Now, I can’t send out a newsletter without sharing a recipe. To give you a peak into some of the techniques I share in my newest book, I am including my recipe for Seafood Stock. Don’t discard your used shrimp, crab, or lobster shells. Save them and make stock. Seafood Stock adds rich flavor to dishes like risottos, cioppino, gumbos, and jambalayas.

Seafood Stock

Cooking tip: When you make shellfish at home, save the shells and make seafood stock. It is really quite easy. You need 6 to 8 cups of shells to make stock. Place discarded seafood shells in a ziplock bag and keep them in your freezer until you have enough to make stock. Use frozen shells within 2 months.

6 to 8 cups seafood shells (any combination of shrimp, lobster, and crab shells) 1 yellow onion, quartered 2 carrots, unpeeled and coarsely chopped 2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped 2 cloves garlic, smashed 10 sprigs fresh thyme leaves 10 sprigs fresh parsley leaves 1 bay leaf 1 teaspoon peppercorns 2 teaspoons salt ¼ cup tomato paste 1 cup white wine Salt for seasoning

Place seafood shells in a Ziplock plastic bag and break them into smaller pieces with a meat cleaver or a rolling pin. Smaller shells yield more flavor. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place seafood shells on the baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes.

Transfer roasted shells to a large kettle. Add onion, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, parsley, bay leaf, peppercorns, and salt. Add enough water to cover the shells. Add tomato paste and wine and stir to combine. Bring the liquid to a boil over a medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Skim off any foam that forms on top of the stock. Simmer for at least 1 hour. Season to taste with salt.

Let the stock cool. Line a large strainer with cheesecloth. Place the strainer over a large bowl and strain the stock into the bowl, removing shells, veggies, and herbs. Transfer the stock to a covered container to store in your refrigerator for 3 to 4 days or freeze in an airtight container for 2 months. From my kitchen to yours, along with a piece of my heart,  

Carol Ann

Carol Ann Kates is the award-winning author of cookbook, Secret Recipes from the Corner Market and Grocery Shopping Secrets. She’s an expert in how to shop, select, and store produce for maximizing home cooking outcomes and minimizing time and money spent. As a former supermarket and deli operator, Carol Ann shares grocery-insider wisdom—the same expertise you used to receive when patronizing a mom-and-pop establishment. Contact her at and explore her website,

Copyright 2023 All Rights Reserved Carol Ann Kates

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