Tuesday, January 15, 2013

To Market, To Market

Last Sunday I was meandering around the aisles of Oliver's Market, without a care in the world.

I'd stopped by my house after work to assess the food situation before some pre-kid-arrival grocery shopping with Paulie. In my fridge I'd found a half gallon of milk, some shredded mozzarella left over from last week's Make Your Own Pizza night, some flour tortillas left over from Make Your Own Burrito night, and a carton of eggs; as well as random jams, mystery olives and two different half-empty bottles of enchilada sauce. I was pleased as punch because I knew that all of those items would get me through the next couple of days with my kids, giving me more time to save up for a Big Shop at a more affordable store.

While Paulie bustled around collecting everything he needed, I leisurely ate samples, browsed the magazines, smelled soaps, and looked at all the pretty stuff. We reconvened in the cheese department and chose one to snack on later while sampling the wine he's making in his cellar. All was well with the universe.

Fast forward to this morning. As usual, I put on the kettle and prepared my tea, singing "gooood mor-ning!" to wake up the kids. I grabbed the milk out of the fridge, my thumb landing near the sell-by date: December 29th. Oops! I remembered that my neighbor had given me this particular gallon on January 5th, already well past its prime but as yet unopened, so pretty safe. And it was fine, a week ago. Today however, there was a little skim of whiter-than-normal-milk-white on the top, but it didn't smell too bad. Admittedly, my nose is a bit stuffy in the mornings. I poured some very slowly into my mug, assuming that the good stuff would escape out from underneath the questionable stuff. I also put some extra sugar in my cup, just in case.

Then I set to work making breakfast - fried eggs for Evie, egg pancake for Jonah. I opened the egg carton and found exactly two inside, which is half of our normal daily egg intake.

I pictured myself walking past the wall of eggs in Oliver's, and cursed myself. Thanks to the gods of extra toast, the two eggs got us through our morning just fine. Jonah asked for orange juice, which I realized I was out of. He asked for milk instead, so I poured him some but said "just try a little bit first, I'm not sure it's tasting super delicious this morning." He took a sip and I looked at him hopefully, but he grimaced and said "uh, it's pretty sour mom."

Dammit! That means I can't skirt by with cereal for breakfast tomorrow morning.

Once they were eating, I walked over to my fruit basket to grab some apples to wash for their snack, but instead only found two rotting lemons. Jesus, Amanda! I saw myself walking around all the produce only two days before, sampling apples before getting distracted by all the fun-colored juices. Luckily I had some random snacks in my cupboards and was able to create a little banana chip, raisin and tamari almond thing for them. Unfortunately almost every single time I send them with any of my tupperware, it mysteriously disappears, never to be seen again.  The containers I found were about a hundred times bigger than the snacks themselves, and barely fit into their backpacks.

The lesson here is - if you see milk and eggs in the fridge, smell the milk, and open the egg carton. If you glance toward the fruit corner but it's too dark to see, turn on the light to make sure actual fruit is sitting there, not rotting. Because if your life is anything like mine, there probably won't be time between work, picking up kids, homework, then bedtime to go to the store for those essentials. And then you'll be feeding your kids mozzarella and olive quesadillas with enchilada sauce on top for breakfast.

Assuming the cheese isn't moldy, of course.


  1. This is hilarious, and sad at the same time, and I can totally relate!

    It reminds me of a day, back in about 1975, when my brother and I, both 9 and 6 respectively, went home for lunch from school to discover the only thing we had in the house to eat was a can of kidney beans. I can't even imagine how crappy our mom must've felt, or what the true circumstance might have been... Were we really that poor? Was it just a case of not being able to make it to the store? I'll never know the true answer.

    To this day, I can't look at a can of kidney beans (much less eat them) without thinking of that memory. And as much as I hated lunch that day, at least we had something.

    1. Stephanie, I have a story about once being offered 'onion soup' as my dinner, and refusing, based on the fact that it was literally onions in hot water. Turns out it was all that we had, blurg! I've never liked onions since. I try to remember that when I'm getting down on myself about only having x, y and z to offer my kids...there's always SOMETHING. Thanks for your sharing your kidney beans :-)