I went grocery shopping the other day and came home exhausted. It wasn’t the heft of the bags. In point of fact the young man who bagged groceries for me did a splendid job. No filling one to the top with canned goods so that it weighed a veritable ton and the next with lightweights like bread and pasta making it light as a feather so as to make me walk even more lopsided than I already do while carrying them into the house. On the contrary, he dispersed things evenly and nicely. And his bagging of pasta, cereal; all those neat little squares and rectangles, was stellar. Packed to perfection in brown paper. Tidy as all get out. There were six bags in all, plus a gallon of milk and a 12 pack of ginger ale (during these days of COVID I am an infrequent shopper and full stocker upper), and I ferried them into the house at a brisk plod, but ‘twas not the weight that brought me to hitting the proverbial wall. It was the very idea of cooking what was therein and that which was already stowed in my freezer and fridge.
I’m tired of the redundancy and can see no way out of it. Ponder it if you will. 40 years of chicken on Sunday, meat loaf on Wednesday and fish on Friday has driven me to the point of madness. I can no longer bear the thought of what to make for supper! Nothing appeals. Yes, I have cookbooks, yes, I have access to the internet and all the recipes it holds, yes, there are recipe file boxes in my cupboard. But no, I don’t want to try anything new thank you. Therein lies my conundrum, unending rounds of chicken and pork chops, of spaghetti and turkey burgers in an unending cycle with no reprieve lest I dare to try something new and different. It’s no wonder my mom’s generation thought TV dinners were the cat’s meow, they gave a break from the same old dull routine of making gallons of soup stock and peeling tons of potatoes and canning jar after jar of fruits and veggies.
Let me back up. I like projects. Making jams or jellies for instance. There’s the gathering and the cleaning of the fruit. There’s the preparing of the jars, rings and lids. There’s the lovely pop as each lid seals. Then it’s done. Project complete. Cooking is not a project. Cooking is something that has to be done at least two, sometimes three, times a day. Cooking is never done by virtue of a neatly sealing popping lid! One is no sooner done with the lunch dishes when a thought as to what supper will be must come front and center. Ugh. How to turn daily meal preparation into a project? What to do? What to do?
Then my lack of gratitude hit me full in the face. I recalled a small poem I’d written many years ago now — “I watched the deer, a young one, feeding on twigs, the snow deep in his home. Browse is hard to come by. What must it be like, I wonder? Sitting in my warm house, pantry full, clothing for all seasons. Dry and clean. While the young one outside snaps twigs for its evening meal.”
There are creatures, four-legged but more importantly two-legged, who have little or nothing to eat while I have more than plenty. I even have the luxury of choice, not to mention snacks! And I’m complaining about what to cook!? 40 years of not having to worry (at least not much since those earliest days) about what the next meal would be?! Time to crawl out of the complaint korner, get off the crock pot and start supper. Something simple is fine, no need for high cuisine here. Yes, burgers and fries will do quite well, along with a side order of gratitude attitude.