“Are you ready yet?”
My other half, aka the ‘Moth,’ called out – anxious to leave for another shopping expedition. Meanwhile, I tapped away on the keyboard writing yet another blog post.
“I won’t be long,” I distractedly shouted back down the hall.
But time then slowed for me; I was engrossed in getting my thoughts down from the jumble of words that regularly spin about in my head.
I dislike shopping for food or groceries as it is such a mind-numbingly, repetitive, ‘rinse-repeat-rinse,’ kind of task that my other half likes to do, almost weekly. For him, it’s like a contemporary equivalent of an old religious ritual. And each time we do it, I have to grit my teeth.
Before the move to the Home by the Sea, the prelude to a shopping trip would be a visit to a delightful Italian cafe or Pasticceria and, in this way, I’d come to believe shopping could be enjoyable especially when it comes with a cup of hot chocolate as well!
The Pasticceria Cafe was run by an Italian man from Venice, with a rich and deep baritone voice, named Aladdino, who made the very best Italian hot chocolate! If you imagine a cup of blancmange-like, soupy thick, steaming dark chocolate milk, that you almost have to spoon into your mouth, you’d have the general idea.
Aladdino could often be quite intimidating, or so I found one day when I reminded him I liked the hot chocolate made really thick and soupy.
“You Australians,” he bellowed at me in a tone that would impress Pavarotti. “It’s not a pudding, you know!“
“It is a pudding for me,” I quip back. And my bribery comfort food, I think to myself; as it is some consolation for the ‘battle’ ahead.
Grocery shopping can be a suburban battlefield.
The stainless steel shopping trolleys are our ‘cavalry steeds’ and the supermarket aisles, a place where a cavalry-style charge might occur, if only during a red light special!
Each week, I notice the faces of shoppers at the supermarket. Stereotypes are always well represented.
There’s the elderly gentleman trying in vain to find Bi-Carb Soda, the fatigued mothers with crying babies insitu or children wanting popcorn, the bogan with a shirt-busting beer gut in a rush to get to the pub, the well-heeled Hampton fan searching for gourmet cheese and others who try to emulate TV reality show Chefs in an effort to tantalize their family’s tastebuds, while still balancing the budget.
The battlefield is exhausting!
The Rise of Generic and Convenience Food
Food prices continue to spiral upwards, coercing us to buy more of the less expensive generically branded items. Many seem to be quality degraded items from dubious overseas manufacturers, where one imagines working conditions to be almost medieval. I am lucky enough to pass them by if I can. The appearance of more and more convenience/ready-made meals is also worrisome.
Convenience food options seem to multiply each week taking up more and more shelf space.
I nearly lost the plot and caused a public scene last month, when I found they were selling shredded iceberg lettuce and grated carrot, in a bag!
So, now the working family has no time at all to grate a carrot, or perhaps the problem is they don’t own a grater? Will children grow up not knowing how to grate a carrot for a humble salad sandwich?
This leads my runaway mind to think of a future where only the elderly remember what a virgin vegetable actually looks like prior to peeling, slicing, dicing and wrapped in plastic bags lined with preservatives!
But we all have to eat, or face a riot on the home front, particularly if there are any remaining adolescent children lurking in the bedrooms!
“How much longer are you going to be?”
The disembodied voice filters down the hallway suddenly dragging me back to reality. It has happened again: I have become engrossed in another blog post.
Has your supermarket changed?
Do you enjoy convenience food options?