(Yes, it took me two months to get to day #5 of the 31 day writing challenge I started in January. But here it is in all its lackluster glory!)
Why I Love the Heck out of Grocery Shopping - Day #5 of 31 Day Writing Challenge
I adore grocery shopping. One of my ideal Saturday night plans is lingering amidst the lemons, ambling around the apples, perusing the pickles and zoning out by the zucchini. Shopping for food is more like a hobby than a chore. It’s like a little trip to a food museum, and on a Saturday night, I don’t have to rush. I don’t have to get back to anything except for…the rest of Saturday night.
Normally on a quick weeknight shop, I have to stay on the route, focused and predictable, purchasing the necessities: kale, lemons, garlic, cilantro, quinoa, carrots, sweet potatoes, apples, oranges, almonds and sunflower seeds, cans of chick peas and black beans, tortillas, and don’t forget the salsa, yells my husband, Keith (or the coconut milk!). I have the list down pat in my head. I know what we need for a typical week of meals feeling we’ve got enough balance, bounty and color, fiber, sweet, sour, plain and fancy….but…. Saturday night at the Pacific Central Food Coop, the world is mine. I can spend time reading labels and comparing ingredients, (wow, this brand has guar gum while this one uses carrageenan), discover new products, (There are 37 different brands of green tea and 19 sorts of grainy crackers!), sneak a taste of something in the bulk bin, (what exactly is in those gritty little chunks of marbled nuttiness?) look at product in the freezer that I’ve never seen (frozen chicken gizzards? Eek!)
It’s an adventure AND I get to take something home afterwards! That doesn’t happen at a museum. You cannot actually remove anything from those places. But grocery stores let you buy shit. You can take the historical or modern items OUT of the store and into the comfort of your own pantry where you can put them on display for your guests.
I am also at home in a grocery store. I adore the comforting familiarity of what I see as I stroll: my favorite box of flax seed crackers peeking at me from the shelf. I remember those, my tummy chimes. And now, look they come in a new flavor. Rosemary! Heavenly! Savory!? Ohh lala ! Cinnamon raisin, no way! Crackers with cinnamon and raisin in them. Who thinks of this shit? Amazeballs. I search for sales – denoted by a bright orange sign. I clip coupons as a warm up: my grocery shopping foreplay. I don’t care if its 35 cents goshdarnitt, I’m saving money at some point during this trip. I am so happy when I can just go through a little coupon book and realize I have already save $3 and I haven’t even started putting things in my basket. I am basically holding a 3 dollar bill in my hand and that makes me feel powerful, not because 3 dollar bills don’t exist, but because that was $3 that I got paid for no other reason than I picked up a little booklet of coupons and looked through it. There is something about handing over a coupon that allows for that gratifying sensation that I just got something for nothing. Basically, someone just gave me 65 cents to help me buy a juice or something I was going to buy anyway.
On a recent Saturday trip to my local store, the only people there seemed to fall into three categories: 1. The market lovin’ foodie folks, coupons peeking out of their pockets, (hello, MOI,) taking the time to choose the perfect tomato, studying labels and relishing in a chocolate covered coconut chunk they snuck from the bulk bin (Yes, that would be me again). 2. The couples on a dinner-making date buying the ingredients for their meal, (the older ones quibbling, the newer ones trying to be as agreeable as possible – “Um, yeah, sure! I like it all, you choose!” 3. The solo shopper, shoulders slightly hunched, staring blankly at the ice cream in the freezer section. (At least these were the folks I saw on my most recent trip.)
What adventures do you have at the grocery store? In which aisles do you dilly dally? What new product made its way into you cart at your last shopping escapade? Or, how do you spend your Saturday nights if you aren’t mingling with the miso pastes?