It is often said, by others, that I have a ‘bad relationship with food’ although I am not sure exactly what that means. Having spent the majority of my adult life working away from home and single I think that it is simply that I have no romantic attachment to food, no love for the task.
For me food is a chore that, by default, brings with it other chores. So eating a meal isn’t the end of it there is all of the preparation and clearing up, in honesty the actual eating of the meal is the shortest part. I rarely feel hungry and can merrily go for days without eating but that said I am pretty healthy so must be doing something right.
I wanted to share with you my shopping experience the other morning because, contrary to popular belief, I think that a lot of you will find something in common with it. To set the scene, so to speak, I should establish that I am a single man with a very small kitchen so on any given day my entire food stock will amount to bread, butter, some baked beans and a bag of pasta. On this particular day I was at work from 11:00 until probably 01:30 which meant that the shopping trip was preparatory towards having dinner ready when I finished.
The day stated well with various ideas of what I could variously put in the oven or the slow cooker and even some back up plans if those ideas didn’t make it to fruition. We have two supermarkets in town and I boldly strode off to the larger of the two, after all if you are going shopping you may as well go large.
My first frustration was met as soon as I got inside the door, no traditional baskets in sight just those monstrous deep things. Not for me the embarrassment of a few measly items languishing so far down the basket that I need a crook to pull them up with, where were the normal baskets? I wasn’t going to let this small issue set me back though, after all I was on a mission, I only needed a few items so I would make do without a basket*
The first thing that I am presented with is fruit and salad so these are readily discounted. I am not adverse to a salad but producing one at 1 o’clock in the morning isn’t happening. Next up is the fresh meat and it is here that we will make big gains. A chicken perhaps? thrown in the slow cooker with some seasoning a full bird will result in succulent fresh chicken for dinner so it looks good. But then there is the hassle, remember its at 1 am, of stripping the carcass, clearing up etc. BBQ shredded beef, again slow cooked to my own recipe, sounded good until I concluded that all I would do with it is put it in a sandwich. What is the point in cooking if what you end up at the end is a sandwich?
Having pretty much discounted all of the meat products for various reasons I hit upon a stunning piece of smoked cod. It was, almost inevitably, a short meeting because the lingering smell of cooked fish has long ago consigned the activity to restaurants only. Next up was the ‘ready to cook’ style meat products which had been on my mind previously. An oven cooked chicken perhaps or a beef joint? Pre-prepared so just throw it in the oven and they even come in their own tray. The choices of honey glazed ribs or stuffed chicken breast all seemed to either need accompaniments, and their associated hassle, or were more like snacks.
I rapidly passed the ready meals because I refuse to acknowledge publicly that I am only really eating for one. There is something deeply ingrained in me that finds it embarrassing and somewhat offensive to purchase meals for one. Next up was chilled pizza, I don’t mind a pizza on occasion so this could be lucky….. but then there is the fact that if I cook a pizza I will invariably eat more of it than I need to eat and just end up feeling bloated. The challenge of discarding uneaten pizza seemed a step too far so I turned on my heels and left.
I stopped on the way home at the smaller of the supermarkets, although I have no idea why I couldn’t have made the purchase in the store that I had just left, and purchased a loaf of bread. At half past one in the morning I ate dinner, whilst going through some paperwork, yes you guessed it I had a couple of slices of toast.
I don’t believe that I am the only person that has this type of relationship with food, one where the simple act of food shopping can turn me apoplectic and see me returning empty-handed. I am sure that I am not the only person who can cook and then decide it’s too much or too heavy or just can’t be bothered and trash it before moving straight to washing up. So if you recognise anything in this post please let me know that I am not alone.
I will finish this post with an aside that occurred to me the other day after a sudden bout of social media. On this particular day there were no end of posts from mothers lamenting the fact that they don’t even get to use the toilet on their own. On the face of it this seems like a reasonable complaint and one justifiably voiced but is it really? The complaint is that there is no solitude to be found in the bathroom yet women always attend in packs. Girls always go the bathroom together and indeed I watched a lady shepherding her young teen daughters into the ladies with her the other day. So what’s the problem?
*In truth I think that this was an early indication of failure