A Rough Draft: On Groceries
I’m not good at grocery shopping.
You can put me in front of an editing bay with a loaded hard drive of random video clips and sound files and I could easily come out with some sort of a narrative achievement. Give me a typewriter and blank pages and I can pull words out of thin air and find a cogent point. But walking through the isles of Ralph’s (for me) is like looking at the periodic table of elements: I just have no idea how these things go together.
I can cook two things: spaghetti and eggs (and I only recently leveled up my egg game — pro tip: stir’em as you cook’em). Every attempt I’ve made to create anything beyond these two culinary rookie recipes has resulted in a sub-par if not arduous dining experience. I recently purchased some pre-made stuffed mushrooms that simply required being heated in an oven for a short period of time and end up choking down the chalky fungus the way kids attempt to swallow awful medicine. It’s embarrassing but even worse: it’s expensive.
Most of my disposable income goes to food… which might not be considered something you file under “disposable” but that’s the only way I can highlight the amount of money I spend on dining in a single week — let alone a month, a year. And I want to fight it but it’s tough and downright unhealthy to live off of peanut-butter sandwiches and processed meat the majority of your life especially as you get older.
When I was a kid I couldn’t imagine ever being turned off by Wendy’s and their insanely delicious hamburgers but now I can’t walk into one without shuddering at the displays of Christmas-Future standing in line around me. I try not to look past the cashier into the “kitchen” area for the sake of my conscious but I can’t help it. One time I saw a fly chilling out in an oregano container: I still ate my meal tho. I couldn’t even look at a Carl’s Jr. without shuddering at this point.
So the only other option is eating healthier. But there’s also time and effort to factor in as well.
Because you see: simply I don’t like to cook. I know: it’s like the most unattractive thing a person could say. Right up there with being cruel to your mother and not tipping. It’s one of those things that people are so easy to judge your moral fiber for without considering all the complex and personal reasons you may have for going against the grain.
It’s especially awful when you’re a guy. And yeah, I’d like for it not to be sexist either but considering it practically expected for a woman to cook up until a little over a half a century ago it’s not exactly profound if anyone’s daughter brought up in the patriarch has learned to take a joy in the practice (there were even some slaves who enjoyed cotton picking — oh no: he did not just go there).
But as a guy: not liking to cook sends out bad signals. It’s so regressive. So blue-collar “I expect my dinner to be hot and ready when I get home”. Not just in the context of partnerships but just relationships in general. Nobody speaks well of the guy who comes to the communal dinner and doesn’t even lend a hand peeling potatoes. Bringing the wine only gets you so far. At that point its a matter of not being able to contribute on a fundamental level. It’s saying “I’m fine just being an observer of this” which isn’t even acceptable when doing drugs let alone making dinner.
Although do we really need seven people peeling corn? How many of us does it take to stuff a turkey? Why should I help if I’m just going to make things worse?
Because I’m the kind of person who can’t open a bag a flour without leaving a mess. I can’t cook a chicken breast without it coming out dry. And I certainly can’t make cookie dough without eating half of it.
So I still wander the isles. No idea what I’m looking at. No understanding of how any of this could be put together to make anything as delicious and savory as something I could just easily purchase: leaving it to the professionals.