Field Trip

Last Wednesday, I opened my basement chest freezer.  I had to reach all the way to the bottom for a package of frozen chicken breasts.

I pulled out the chicken, surveyed the empty freezer, and rejoiced.

I could finally go back to the grocery store.

I’d made myself a rule, you see—I couldn’t shop again until I’d eaten everything in the freezer.  This rule had a dual purpose—to reduce grocery store trips, and to make sure that five years from now I didn’t find a bag of freezer-burned soup that had to be tossed.

I’d spent all last summer cooking and freezing, so now was the time to finish it off.

Finally ate it all…

But I finally made it to the end—gallons of soup, frozen berries, zucchini muffins, chicken stock.  I ate every last bit of it.

And now, after 4 weeks without entering a store, it was time for a field trip.

In 2020 BC (Before Corona), I shopped for groceries every weekend, often with a mid-week trip to supplement my supply of fresh fruits and veggies.  I’d cavalierly drop in for one (one!) item, or leisurely browse the aisles musing over what to make for dinner.  I’d make separate trips to Giant Eagle, Target, and Sam’s Club.  My list was a general guide.  It was the Age of Innocence.

In 2020 AD (After Discovery of the virus), I plan my shopping trips like a Navy Seal on an extraction mission.

I spent days making my list to ensure I wouldn’t forget anything, then categorized all the items together based on store placement—there is no backtracking in 2020 AD.  If I missed it the first time through, I would have to leave it behind.

I chose my time to strike—7:00 am Saturday morning, just as the store was reopening.  It would be maximally (if not fully) stocked, recently sanitized, and uncrowded.

I donned my mask and gloves, and tucked my credit card and list in my back pocket.  I left my phone and purse in the trunk, as I didn’t want to touch either inside the store.

When I entered the produce section, I felt like Dorothy walking into Oz, going from black and white to brilliant technicolor.  There was fresh food everyone—green lettuce, red peppers, mushrooms not from a can!  My old friends bananas and strawberries were there.

I wanted to take them all home with me.  The main mission—which I fear I did not complete—was not to buy more fresh produce than I could eat before it spoiled.

Which is why I’m having a tomato and mushroom salad over butter lettuce for my Sunday breakfast.

I couldn’t be happier.

I missed you, Giant Eagle.  See you next month!

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