Over the years, grocery shopping became my job. I used to enjoy grocery shopping. It was fun to buy food I liked and then eat it.
But then we had kids. My kids were not the type who just ate what they were given. They were picky eaters, Kayleigh considerably worse than Kelsey. I always said Kayleigh ate like a racist – if it ain't white, it ain't right. She ate pasta, rice, oatmeal, eggs, peeled apples – no reds, as she said, and that included all fruit and vegetables. Cherries, strawberries, cranberries, raspberries were all a communist plot; she would not eat them. She still won't eat them.
It made grocery shopping a chore, dragging this child, and later these children, to the store when they were uninterested in food that was tasty and healthful. Making matters even more frustrating was taking my mother grocery shopping. She couldn't walk the whole way through the store, so we would put her in a wheelchair. She refused to use one of those motorized carts they had, so I had to push her and her cart and my cart and my kids. What fun. It took hours. Drive to her house, take her to the bank, the grocery store, then drug store, the market where she preferred to buy her milk, maybe out to lunch, back home, put her groceries away, go home, put my groceries away. It was exhausting and boring and frustrating for all of us.
I would put it off as long as possible. I came home angry and uninterested in cooking. We always ordered pizza on days I went shopping.
With Eric working half-time this year, I gladly gave up grocery shopping. He didn't gladly take it up. He was scared and nervous. He knew he would forget things and not be able to find things and buy the wrong things and have a hard time dealing with all the people and the noise. Never mind that it was like that for me, too. I knew where things were, after all.
Regardless, he got used to it and came to enjoy it. Now, though, he is back at work, and I am home for the summer. I am shopping again.
Which means, of course, I am scouring the international foods section. Last week, we – fussy, picky, no-reds-eating children included – ate Companion brand Assorted Vegetables with Quail Eggs, or, if you prefer, Sze-Hsien-Kow-Fu.
You can always tell foreign food because you can pronounce the ingredients: gluten, bamboo shoots, quail eggs, straw mushrooms, soybean extract, water, sugar, salt, soybean oil. "Contain no preservatives or artificial coloring."
The quail eggs had been sitting in that broth for a long time and were no longer white, but brown. The yolks were a tad runny and coated our mouths in a sickening, sticky way. The wheat glutens weren't bad, and the mushrooms were few. Kelsey preferred the bamboo shoots. She likes to eat like a panda.
So, I'm back, and my kids are eating it.
And to be fair, once my sister moved back from Canada and once I was in school (when my mom broke her arm and her back and the following year had a heart attack), I got a lot of help from my siblings taking care of my mom. I needed it. My thanks to them. I still didn't like grocery shopping, though.