Sunday, January 31, 2010

Grocery Shopping

I love to eat and I am really good at it. And while going out to eat at a restaurant is always nice, there is no place more exciting to me than the supermarket.

First of all the market is a super one, they even put the word in the title. But in addition to being super, it is only there that you can find food in all its forms. It is truly the land of possibility. Aisles upon aisles of frozen foods, hot foods, room temperature foods, all screaming, begging for you to pull them off the shelf and take them home.

Rich! Rich! See how good I look in my packaging? You know you want me!

But there is one key factor necessary to ensure a successful trip to the supermarket: A person must know how to buy groceries.

I am not that person.

For as much as I love going grocery shopping, I actually have no idea what I’m doing. I mean not even half a clue. I think most guys don’t. It’s built into our DNA from our days as hunters. We don’t compare and we don’t inspect labels. We just grab.

Have you ever read about a caveman inspecting the nutrition value on a dead tiger? What about comparing the value of one dead antelope to another?

No of course not. They see, they take home, and they eat.

And that is exactly how I grocery shop. Oh look a jelly, boom, done. Are those eggs? Boom, in the cart. I know I should be looking for certain price points, and nutritional values, but I have a limited amount of time in a grocery store before my brain just shuts down and I start overfilling my cart with protein bars and boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

God I love cinnamon toast crunch. (Interesting side note: I have never in my life closed a box of cinnamon toast crunch, if I open one, I immediately eat the entire contents and then just throw out the empty box)

Men are susceptible to easily found items. Spending time foraging in a supermarket is not really our thing. I’m actually not sure why all the staples aren’t located right next to the cash register. I mean operating on that mentality in the current setup most of us would survive only on Beef Jerky, Juicy Fruit, and a copy of US Weekly.

You will never see a man looking as confused as he will standing in the aisle of a supermarket. What it really comes down to is that men get into trouble when we are given choices.

Confronted with a hot blonde and a hot brunette, we will inevitably try to go for both. Faced with a shirt that we don’t know whether to dry clean or launder, we will do neither.

That is why the grocery store is a perfect storm of possible poor decisions. The first time I went grocery shopping in my freshman year of college, I made a grocery list. And even though the actual paper list is now gone, I have unconsciously stuck to that grocery list on every single shopping trip since.

After college there was that 2 year gap where my roommates (parents) did the grocery shopping for me so I didn’t have to worry about it. But I have now been in my current apartment for almost 2 years and I realize I buy the exact frigging things I bought in college every time I go to the super market.

Walking into a grocery store is such a confusing experience; nowhere else do I feel so excited and confused at the same time. It’s like a calculus class taught by a playboy bunny. My ability to purchase groceries depends on what meal I am buying for.

Breakfast? No problem. In fact it is usually the first collection of items in my cart. Waffles, yogurt, juice, fruit, cereal, and granola. Heck, I could do it with my eyes closed.

Lunch? Um, ok, we can do this. I fluster a little bit. A loaf of bread seems right, maybe some turkey, maybe some mustard… and then my mind goes blank. I have no idea what else to buy myself

Dinner? I look down in my cart and see I have 35 chicken breasts and a carrot.

But I think one of my other problems with the grocery store is I only know how to buy food for meals. I have no idea what to buy for the in-between. This would explain why my fridge usually looks like this.

I go to the grocery store and spend well over a hundred dollars on food (not paper towels or tissues or sponges but actual food) only to get home and realize… I have absolutely nothing to eat.


But this will not stop me from walking over to my kitchen and opening my fridge every 10 minutes as though THIS will be the time I figure out the meal I can make out of yogurt, chicken stock, and beer.

And I’m so bad at coordinating my meals with my schedule that I frequently end up wasting food because I either overbuy food during a week when I’m not coming home for dinner, or I forget it’s in my fridge and pull it out with a thin layer of blue fur.

At which point I dry heave and trip over myself trying to throw it in the trash.

So to avoid being wasteful I started buying frozen…. Everything. Frozen vegetables, frozen chicken. I even freeze my tequila! My fridge may be half empty but my freezer is so jam packed it looks like a cold war bomb shelter ice box.

People who open my freezer might wonder what it is that I know that they don’t.

Even if I do manage to keep my food fresh I still find myself buying the same ingredients over and over again because I make the same things pretty regularly. Since I live by myself I’m not really trying to impress anybody. As long as the fire department doesn’t show up when I use my skillet, I am impressed.

The only time I buy new ingredients is when I’m making a new dish. The only time I make a new dish is when, let’s say, I have a date. And I go on a date about once every… 18 months. So at this rate I should know how to make about 6 things by the time I get married.

Unless of course the woman I marry happens to be incredibly wealthy in which case we can eat out every night.

Now that I think about it, that is a way better idea than trying to get my wife to like chicken stock beer yogurt. Yea forget grocery shopping, I’ll just marry rich.


Nancy said...

LOL! You need a good cook book! Something easy like Two Dudes, One Pan. Maybe then you can branch out and have some leftovers. You know that's what you are looking for every time you open your fridge. Just like at mom's house. My youngest called with an offer the other day to put all of her things in storage and move home for a few months to save money for travel! Wow, I thought. Hmmm, now I can worry about where she is at night, I can pick up after her, wash her dishes, and clean up her bathroom. I countered with graduate school, if she moves home, and I haven't heard back! Ha.

Jeninacide said...

My plan was to marry rich too, HOW DID THAT NOT WORK OUT FOR ME!? LOL!

OMG, did I tell you about the Two Dudes, One Pan already? My mom is so funny. I think I might have to try a recipe in that book and then I'll let you know how it goes. It would be awesome for living alone probably. You could just cook once or twice a week and have enough leftovers to cover you for the rest of the week! Perhaps that is not how guys work though? I have no idea, my husband is such a foodie that he taught ME how to shop.

Um, the word verification on your blog right now is "facket" Haha.

Caroline B said...

Well, that goes some way to explaining why the supermarkets are chock full of confused-looking men getting in my way at the poor souls! Interesting how when my partner went to work abroad, our grocery bill dropped by HALF, and yet me & my kids are still eating remarkably well, fridge & cupboards fully-stocked...I guess beer-and-nothing-much is pretty expensive!

Anonymous said...

I need to stop reading your blogs after dinner...they make my belly ache from laughing!!
<3 Mrs.D

Travel Bug said...

I cannot tell you how many times I laughed out loud when reading that post. It was a lot. And all out of total relatability! I too, am a sucker for buying foods for meals, but no foods for snacks. Although I have to admit that I have recently become a fan of celery and carrots with dip... although the veg require preparation of some sort... so alternatively, crackers do just as well! I'm also a fan of frozen food! I think it is a neccesity for people who live on their own! Either that or go to the supermarket once a day...

Pat said...

You need, "A Man, A Can, A Plan" cookbook for even the simple-minded, oops, I mean it shows simple meals to cook.

I know that I have gone to the grocery store, slap down a whole bunch of money, and came home with nothing to eat. I guess I was looking for more "snacky" items, not chicken breasts, steaks, etc.

I hate the "blue fur" stuff! Yuk!

Jennifer C said...

I laughed so hard the entire time I read this. Especially with your admittance to trying for both the blonde and brunette. Nancy and Jeninacide wrote you should buy Two Dudes One Pan - the book just won the title of being in the top 10 best new cookbooks in the US this year! So I'd second that advice.

R said...
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It's All Good said...

my brother and his friends just moved out for the first time recently, so they're suffering the same thing. When they came to visit this weekend, my brother raids the kitchen first thing getting excited over olives, crackers, and chewy granola bars! he called his friend and they both were excited at how full they have felt for the first time in a month, haha! My mom sent him off with all the crap that we havent eaten plus she cooked some meatballs and stored them in single serving sandwich bags for him to freeze and pull out when hes hungry...

thanks for visiting my blog, your a funny guy! =)

DangGina said...

First of all, thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment; makes me feel SO validated!

Also, just reading this one post, I decided I must become a follower. You are BLOODY HILARIOUS.

Quandry, though: it seems as though I shop like a man; I avoid looking at the labels. Never even crosses my mind, matter of fact. -Anyway, if I shop like a man, I shop like one who likes to cook, because I get all sorts of things each time I enter a grocery store. And then there's the problem of over-buying: I buy way more than what's on the ol' list. And STILL I manage to forget something almost every trip.

DANG, I'm hungry...I better go eat something NOW...

alexandra loch said...

i'm not going to lie, i really appreciated reading this. hahh it's kindof sad because it sounds like our eating habits are really similair- i pretty much live off of frozen dinners and cartoon character macaroni and cheese. i don't shop for myself now, but i will in a few months and it is a legitimatley scary prospect.

Anonymous said...
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Old School/New School Mom said...

My friend once speculated that someone should create a grocery store especially for single people. The reason being that the proportions of food that the actual grocery store sells are so large they are designed to feed an enormous family. Also, I have the same issue of feeling entirely overwhelmed by colorful packaging and want to buy everything instantly. This is why (and I am ashamed to admit it because I am not a yuppie) I buy from I know don't judge me!

Derik said...

This is a relatively funny post--not only in the way you go through with language, but also the way I can completely relate to this. Maybe guys everywhere can relate to this.

Spend a hundred wing-wangs on food, and you get home and have nothing to eat. Common!

Ye-anyway, thanks for coming by my corner and keep up the good work.

Stephany said...

You might feel lost in the grocery store, but you chose the best yogurt ever. Add some cinnemon and sliced strawberries to it for breakfast! mmm

eleanor said...

One of the most useful Christmas presents I ever received was a grocery list with checkboxes and you checked off what you were out of/should buy at the store. It immediately improved the quality of my shopping- otherwise I just wander the aisles overwhelmed with choices and thinking "what do people buy here?" Then I end up back at home with six kinds of yogurt, an avocado and some trail mix for the third week in a row.

Maya Whitt said...

I know the feeling...the blue and white fur... throwing it out... the sinking feeling that comes with remembering that you forgot it. Im only just learning to cook... so far im the only person that likes my food. im okay with that :) oh and i like to walk about the grocey store like i know what im doing. no matter how confused i get, i frown and nod like its all good.