Sunday, February 4, 2007

* Food Shopping is Man's Work

Or at Least it Used to be in My House.

I haven’t set food inside a supermarket for over two years. I know how to cook, but my husband loves to cook. So by default this makes him the official family food shopper. Clearly I’ve been blessed, but nothing lasts forever.

My husband recently started a new job, where the hours are not as flexible as we’re used to; a big adjustment for all of us. Part of that adjustment is that I now have to do the food shopping. One can only order in Pizza and Chinese food but for so long.

Now lest you think I’m a complete pampered princess, I used to food shop for myself all the time before I got married, but I am woefully out of practice. I remembered to wear comfortable shoes. Only the most hard core divas wear pumps to market. What I didn’t remember was to dress warmly.

I get cold easily and supermarkets are chilly places. By aisle four (of 18) I was shivering and blowing on my hands to keep warm, pushing the shopping cart with my elbows. The other shoppers looked at me as if to say, "amateur." At this rate I knew I was never going to make it to the frozen food aisle. The Eggos, milk and Tater Tots would have to wait.

You’re not supposed to food shop when you’re hungry. I know that, but I had foolishly skipped lunch so I could hurry up and get the shopping done. So naturally by aisle eight I had convinced myself that, "Yeah, I could whip up a plate of homemade lasagna in 20 minutes. No problem."

So while I did have a shopping list, half the stuff in my cart wasn’t on the list; like the Frosted Cherrios. I’ve never had Frosted Cherrios, but I was confident they’d taste good, help me step down from my life long Frosted Flakes habit and make a great post lasagna dessert. They were also on sale for $1.99. So, I’m saving money, right?

I was just about done when I realized I hadn’t gotten cabbage. My husband had specifically asked for cabbage so, I couldn’t very well come home without it; or could I?

"Baby did you buy cabbage?"
"No, Sweetheart. They don’t make it anymore. I think the company went out of business."

I doubled back to the produce section, found the cabbage, but all the heads looked as though they’d been grown on steroids. I grabbed the smallest head I could find jammed it into produce bag and called it a day.

At the cash register I got a good dose of sticker shock when my groceries totaled over $100. Over $100 and I hadn’t even bought meat, dog food or tater tots. But the good the news was I spent enough money to win a free turkey. Thank god for the cabbage.

Getting the groceries into my car was interesting. While I paid for $100 worth food, it felt like I was carrying at least $200 worth. My inner feminist theorized that since a woman’s strength is in her legs and a man’s strength is in his arms, shouldn’t carrying and loading groceries be man’s work? Dangerous question that. Getting the groceries out of the car and into the house only deepened my belief in this theory.

All the groceries put away, tired and spent, I thought better of my lasagna plan and resigned myself to the easiest meal possible: a bowl of Frosted Cherrios. Tasty even without the milk I was too cold to buy.

When my husband came home from work, he thanked me profusely for doing the shopping. Yes, he is a sweetie. He opened the fridge to grab some water and said, "Whoa, what’s up with the big head of cabbage?"

"You asked me to buy cabbage and that’s the smallest head they had,"
I said.
"Why didn’t you just buy it in the bag?"

"Yeah, Baby. You can buy shredded cabbage in a bag, just like lettuce."

I didn’t like the sound of that. He was giving me information he thought I needed; Implying I’d be food shopping again. "Oh dear god, no. Please don’t make me go back there."
Thinking fast on my feet — and mind you fast doesn’t always mean smart — I said, "They don’t make the cabbage in the bag anymore, Baby. I think the company went out of business."

* Excerpt from Leighann's upcoming humor book, "Tales From the Lip."

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