Back when we didn’t care what we put into our bodies, I was in charge of grocery shopping. I always went with a list, but I had carte blanche to go away from it as necessary. If Tostitos were two-for-one, I could pull the trigger on that deal. If the produce was not up to my standards, I could turn up my nose and walk away.
No vegetables? No problem.
When the vegan daughter got old enough, we gave Mom a break on Saturday mornings and did the shopping together. We typically got to the store as the lights were coming on and the floor buffer was still chugging up and down the aisles. The vegan daughter was an early riser.
With her riding shotgun, the cart became a lot more organized. This goes over here! That can’t go on top of THAT! Still, because her diet largely consisted of Cheez-its, Kraft macaroni & cheese, and chicken nuggets, our eating habits didn’t change much.
And life went on like that without much complaining. I didn’t eat a lot of ice cream, but I didn’t pass up a lot either. We devoured pasta without regret. We ate broccoli, but not without melting cheese on it first.
Flash forward to 2013.
The daughter is off at college so the vegan spouse and I do the grocery shopping. Shopping day has been bumped up to Friday night because we’re at the gym Saturday when the lights are flicked on, not the market. I have gone from carte blanche to pushing the cart.
We spend much of our time in the produce section. We always check the fruit that’s on sale, sampling a grape here or thumping a melon there. It’s not unusual for us to make salads with spinach and two different kinds of lettuce. Sometimes we buy three different kinds of peppers.
Then there are those items that we only buy in specialty stores. They are brought across the border by mules or flown in from faraway lands. We buy some things in bulk and I’m not sure if it’s for sopping up a spill or sprinkling on a casserole. There are foods I couldn’t pick out with a diagram and an interpreter.
There is one healthy thing I still get to pick out. Bananas. But even that is not without its pitfalls. Aside from trying to determine how long it will be before they become too ripe to eat, size matters. One of us, you see, likes bananas on the larger side while the other likes them smaller. I wouldn’t read too much into that if I were you.
Occasionally, I offer to shop like I did back in the day. Solo. Untethered. A man about town. Not permanently mind you, but just to provide a night off after a rough day. The vegan spouse will look at me the way one looks at a child who has just asked to go outside without pants. “That’s okay,” she’ll say, “it’s a pretty long list tonight.”
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