Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Shopping for One

Something no one ever tells you in life is how difficult shopping for one person can be.  I'm sure back in the days where everything was in an open air market in the center of town, shopping for one was likely a breeze.  Nothing was pre-packaged into sizes that make sense for large families or people who eat like large families, but for those of us who enjoy about four ounces of protein and fresh produce, good luck.

I spend an inordinate amount of time at the grocery store.  Each of has our place of faith, mine just happens to be the local Wegman's, though I can also keep the faith in a ShopRite, Trader Joes, local farmer's market or if the gods be cruel, Whole Foods.  I went to Wegman's today, as I left Target, a place to buy food, with nothing but an empty basket, as I was disappointed with all of the narrow-necked salsa jars and lack of a meaningful tortilla chip selection.  Not to mention the lack of decent bread. 

So, with two bags from the farmer's market, because I needed produce for Sweetiepig and there were no mushrooms in the house, yet about three pounds of beef, I trekked across the county to Wegman's.  I live about seven miles or 18 grocery stores away from Wegman's, but they do have the best selection and prices, though their meat tends to be a little overpriced. 

Upon arrival, I was heartened that the store was not full of panicking shoppers and not bereft of shopping carts like Target where I literally took the last one.  I manage to navigate the deli counter, one of the few shopping for one friendly places in the supermarket, as I am not trying to figure out how much Soppressata can one person eat. 

Walking over to the meat counter, I was faced with family packs of meat, as if people who live alone have never cooked a meal in their lives.  Having three pounds of steak in my freezer from Sunday's excursion to the store, I agonize for about 5 minutes as to whether to buy some pre-cooked pulled pork.  I like pulled pork, but the odds of me cooking a pork shoulder to this point are none.  It takes a long time to get this done and pork comes in multiple pounds, which is more than I can or should eat before spoilage seeps in.

I finally relent and purchase a one pound package, since I wanted pulled pork, but was uncertain as to whether I wanted to eat pulled port for three days in a row, since I don't feel I can freeze it, nor do I feel I can save it beyond that point.  It's terrible, because I'd like a smaller package since no one else will eat it here.  And too often that is the choice I feel I need to make at the grocery store.  How many days in a row can I eat the same thing?  Or why do things come in three pound packages? 

Eventually, my freezer becomes the graveyard of forgotten meat.  Something goes in the freezer, then sits and waits for me to think, "Hey, let's prepare for a meal and take something out of the freezer." 

This is a seldom occurrence, as I would rather wing it, even though that means eating more pasta and grilled cheese sandwiches than I would like, because it is easier.  Sometimes the cheese dies a valiant death in the refrigerator, sometimes I get to finish it, but even at half a pound, it is a race between cheddar and myself, one which cheddar usually wins...and loses. 

I even agonized over buying rolls at the store.  The bakery section left something to be desired, but I didn't necessarily want eight hamburger or onion rolls.  Yet, here I was, wandering the aisles trying to make a meal plan fit, which I did with eight onion rolls, in lieu of fresh baked bread, as a storm is brewing and I could be locked away from access to fresh baked goods, a fate not quite worse than death. 

So, as I moved forward, I will continue to struggle with the supermarket, even though it is my spiritual home, as I have for the last seven and a half years, fitting a life of one into a world of many. 

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