WND – Grocery Shopping

March 27, 2009


I’ve come to the realization that while I’m perfectly capable of planning a week’s worth of menus, I can only do it if I’m not planning something else first. Case in point, this weekend my roommate and I went down to Connecticut to a baby shower for which we’d been asked to make some food. I duly went up to Wilson Farms on Saturday to pick up chickpeas and tahini (hummus), cream cheese and mushrooms (mushroom dip) and assorted fresh veggies (including purple cauliflower, about which I was disproportionately excited). I remembered to pick up extra mushrooms for the Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce I’d decided we were going to have for Dinner, and to buy spinach for the baked eggs I was planning on serving for dinner on Monday. However, I forgot eggs, milk, apples, pears, sage and just about everything else I needed, and this would explain why I’ve been at a grocery store three times and counting this week.

When you end up going to the grocery store multiple times during the week it’s always interesting to see who’s there at different times. Week nights net you people who are stopping in for that one last ingredient that they forgot. They always pick the 10 items or less checkout line, and I always entertain myself trying to figure out what they’re making for dinner based on what’s in their basket. This is usually a futile exercise since that’s also what I’m there for and my purchases are always an entirely random assortment of things – pair of stockings, 2 limes, sour cream and cereal. Which is the key ingredient in that basket?


Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings will get you grocery stores full of families shopping together. In theory I don’t have an issue with this, and in practice I try and avoid it. I’m far more entertained by the family groupings you get later in the afternoon on a Sunday, usually made up of fathers rolling their eyes at their tweenage daughters tripping over their platform flip-flops. Also, the later you go to the grocery store on Sunday afternoon the less likely you are to run into my least favorite shoppers in the world – the women in the 60s and 70s who use the grocery store as a place to gossip. You always find them three abreast in the middle of an aisle gossiping away about their children, their neighbors, the woman at church who wore the inappropriate dress. And when you politely try to edge past them to get to the pasta they turn to look at you as if you’ve asked to ritually sacrifice kittens for a satanic right in the middle of the grocery store.

My very favorite part of going to the grocery store, however, is actually waiting in the checkout line. You have to choose your line carefully. You want it to be long enough that you have time to skim all the tabloid headlines before it comes time for you to unpack your groceries onto the belt, but not so long that you might feel obliged to actually open one and therefore run the risk of having to buy it. I need to keep up with the feud between Michelle Obama and Sarah Palin, and find out if Brad Pitt is still sleeping on the couch this week, and check out the suspicious celebrity baby bumps, but I don’t actually need to take any of that home with me to read the articles. Unless it’s the People style issue, which I will almost always buy because I enthusiastically embrace the schadenfreude of looking at beautiful people in ugly dresses.

Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce

Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce
Boston is engaging in its annual flirtation with the concept of Spring, which is to say it was 27 on Tuesday, and 54 on Wednesday. I’m not discounting the possibility of more snow – this is Massachusetts after all – but I’m prepared to believe that if it does snow again it probably won’t stick. Walking around Wilson Farms this weekend I was strongly reminded of why the local foods movement didn’t start in the Northeast. Almost none of the beautiful piles of produce were local. The only really local things are items that aren’t dependent on a growing season – milk, eggs, sausages – and things that are very early Spring plants like pussy willow fronds and hyacinths, although I suspect even those come from a greenhouse rather than a field or shady river bank.

This is the point where I start craving peaches and strawberries and apricots months before it’s even remotely reasonable to expect them, because the air smells like the promise of summer and I’m tired of apples. However, it’s not quite summer yet and I can squeak by with another hearty winter meal before it’s time for ice tea and summer salads and biscuits.


Recipe previously given: Season of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness


One comment

  1. Bwah hah hah! Oh, our grocery store. It is indeed a curious place.

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