The Grocery Gavotte
Forget the government’s new pie-shaped food guide; I’m still living by the pyramid. Well, mine is more of a triangle and it doesn’t represent food groups in the way nutritionists hope it does.
Mine is a triangle that moves between Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Harris Teeter and back again. There are some side trips: Farmers’ Markets, The Meat House and Cliffs, some lovely bakeries, to Southern Season for extra-special goodies, to Costco for less-costly sparkling water by the case. But mostly, I tour my main triangle because someone in my family wants a yogurt only sold at Whole Foods. Someone else will perish without Trader Joe’s Corn Salsa (that would be me!), staples and pantry basics frequently come from Harris Teeter in the way I’ve always patronized a traditional grocery store.
Part of me balks at this because I feel like a gerbil on a wheel, never completing a task. Part of me longs for the one-stop shopping that was the only option when I was a child at the table. It has become sort of like the first piece of dirty clothing in the newly-empty laundry basket or the first used fork in the dishwasher: a never-ending source of house-management drudgery. In fact, it’s become a joke in our home:
Me: “I’m off to __________, do you need anything?”
Spouse or Child: “Not until after you get back.”
Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha
Forget about annoying, the price of gas is enough to limit these trips. Please, if you’re going to comment that I should be walking or biking to do the shopping, I’ll send you my knee surgeon’s number!
Do you feel as if you always have to stop somewhere ELSE to get something ELSE? Or am I approaching this wrong? I long to be the type who can grow most, can the rest, needing only to pick up farm fresh eggs but, if you know me, you are still cackling at the thought.
I’m hoping one of you will write in with the perfectly obvious, easily executed solution. But let’s just say you don’t. Then the only course for me to take to ease the grumbling (again, stop cackling, all ye who know me!), is a bit of attitude adjustment.
I could go all wholesome on this: We must feed our bodies daily, therefore we must restock frequently for all that is fresh. I believe that, truly I do, but when the heat coming off the parking lot feels like 8,000°, I need more encouragement than simple good sense.
Searching for something to rally my dispirited approach, I recalled being a college student in Paris for the very first time, filled with pleasure about making many stops to gather provisions. What fun it was to practice the language while touring shops filled with food so good it still inhabits my dreams! Back then I didn’t mind the time it took, nor the sheer number of errands. It was part of the experience and one I found quite delightful. It wasn’t drudgery; it was gastrotourism.
That blissful approach may not be realistic in a life filled with more responsibility than simply savoring my surroundings, but it can help me feel less like feeding me and my family is just a grind (no meat joke intended).
Thus, my (upcoming) summer solstice resolution (why follow the crowd and make decrees only in January?) is to savor the practice and enjoy the gathering (if not the hunting). I will do my best to say hello while thinking “bonjour” and be grateful for the plethora of fine emporiums in our midst.
Warning: Watch for follow-ups on this plan. The first time someone at Whole Foods bashes into me with a cart at the fish counter, or looks askance at my clear lack of understanding of the differences among 8 types of almond milk, my open, peaceful, grateful, grind-free state-of-mind might just grind to a halt.
My plea above was offered in earnest. If you have a successful approach to this life-maintenance conundrum, please do share it with all of us by commenting below. Or, if you prefer, email me directly at Donnabeth@Chapelboro.com.