Thursday, April 17, 2008

Worshipping at the Temple

Whole Foods is the temple, I've said before. If they don't got it, you don't need it, especially if you're a patient.

Most people who know me know that I am an accomplished homemaker, when I am really on my game. I clean, cook, sew, garden (used to), repair things, and raise children with the best of them. I still believe Martha Stewart is a bloody genius for creating an empire around this pursuit. I wish I'd understood as she did that there was big money to be made if you were smart and ruthless about it.

Anyway, especially in the early years of my marriage, when I was child-free and pinching pennies (anybody remember TRIPLE COUPON DAYS at Tom Thumb? I say, give a shout out for triple coupon days!), I cooked at home a lot and liked to try lots of recipes. The grocery store held lots of interesting possibilities, even though I was on a tight budget. What could I do with pork on special? How to improve beef stew or pot roast? Make salad dressing, don't buy it (too expensive). Make desserts, don't buy them (cheaper and better tasting). I rarely bought convenience items (too expensive, probably unhealthy, not as tasty). Everything started pretty much from scratch, whether I was making chicken salad or Thai curry paste. It's the self-sufficient, DIY nutjob in me. It's better that way. It's cheaper. It's more pure.

Today it's a little different. My friend K says, "I love to cook but I hate having to cook." I was already in this camp before cancer, but now I'm in another country altogether. Now when I go through the grocery store, each aisle seems to hold nothing but bitter judgment for me. I look at ingredients and think, "I could make this-and-such, wow, it would be fantastic," and then quickly remember I am not a) a newlywed, and b) I have no physical energy to engage in the kitchen projects I once did. I can't be on my feet that long anymore and it would wipe me out if I were.

So I scout out the easy-to-make and ready-to-eat items and hope for the best. Whole Foods' egg salad is delicious (I could make it myself SO cheap! grr) but the chicken salad contains dark meat as well as breast meat, a combination I do not find palatable (again, my own preparation is my favorite). Boiled shrimp is very convenient, a great protein source, low in calories (but doing it yourself is way cheaper). Frozen items still disappoint me, like frozen hamburger patties.

More than all this, getting all Martha on everyone's ass doesn't feel like something I need to do right now. If everything goes the way I'm told it will, I will have many years left to clean my stove.

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