Grocery Shopping is a Complex Balance of Hard Facts and Wishful Thinking

Think about the last time you made a grocery list. Did you stick to it, buying only what was on it? If you did, you are my new hero and I salute you. If you didn’t, I feel your pain. Grocery shopping is a complex balance of hard facts and wishful thinking. The true victims of my grocery lists gone awry are the wee Persian cucumbers that molder away into a pile of slime and seeds in the back of my fridge. I always buy them and then the week doesn’t turn out the way I thought it would and who pays the price? Innocent cucumbers, that’s who.

I understand why so many cultures prize daily shopping. You can make much better predictions about how the day will go if you only attempt to see as far as dessert. But I don’t have time to go to the store everyday. So I sit down with the calendar and my bank account and a general idea of what is in the kitchen and I attempt to tell my own future. Tarot cards and a crystal ball would do a better job than I do. 

There just seems to be no way to get it right. I either over or under buy. We are either out of fresh fruit and veg by midweek (I generally shop on Monday morning after I drop Six off at school) or we are gulping down fruit salad at every meal. I can’t tell you how many sad slimy Persian cucumbers I have added to what I loosely call “the compost heap” that lives behind the dumpster. 

I carefully examine the calendar, taking into account classes and evenings with dad, playdates and movie nights and I still end up with one lonely lime in the fruit bowl or am trying to figure out how to eat all the potatoes before they sprout.

Even those meal kits, where they send you everything plus a fun recipe, are a problem for me. I never gauge correctly if we will be home that week to eat the creamy tuscany chicken over linguine garnished with grilled lemon wedges. The lemons turn to rocks, the chicken gets chucked into the freezer before it spoils and I use the linguine with jarred spaghetti sauce I find in the back of the fridge.

No wonder so many of us end up in the drive through or ordering take out. It’s a very specific skill to get this right.

My deepest respect to those of us who do. I beg you to let the rest of us know what you are doing right because until I get some help grocery shopping will remain a complex balance of hard facts and wishful thinking and poor, perished Persian cucumbers. 

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