Posted tagged ‘grocery shopping’

“Strange to see how a good dinner and feasting reconciles everybody.”

March 4, 2018

My hopes are high that Coffee will be here tomorrow. If not, remember to go to www.keepthecoffeecoming.blogspot.com as I’ll be waiting there for you.

Today is damp but lighter than it has been. The sun is working to get out of the clouds. I’m its most ardent cheerleader. There is still wind which makes the day feel even colder. I think it rained during the night as the sides of the street were still wet this morning when I got the papers, the dry papers. I can’t fault a day which starts with dry papers.

When I was a kid, Sunday was always boring. It followed the same regimen every week. Eat breakfast, put on church clothes, walk to church, go home and hang around until Sunday dinner, the most lavish meal of the week. It always included a roast of some sort, potatoes and vegetables. The potatoes were mashed and the vegetables, except for the carrots, came from cans. Those fresh vegetables, the carrots and the potatoes, were always boiled. We never had salad, and we never had bread on the table. A roast of beef as my grandmother called it is still my favorite.

My mother grocery shopped on Friday nights. As she had no license, my father drove her. They’d return with a trunk load of filled paper bags. The only foods we, my brother, sisters and I, cared about were the cookies. We knew they’d be Oreos and sometimes chocolate chip cookies or some other kind. We’d want them right away, and my mother would warn us that once they were gone, they’d be no more. We were kids. We were in the moment. We wanted the cookies.

I have grown my palate since I was a kid. Canned vegetables will never grace (sort of grace) my table. I like to cook potatoes all different ways, but I love mashed potatoes covered in gravy the most. I love carrots, and I experiment when I cook them. The last recipe called for ginger. My favorite is honeyed carrots. I use the baby carrots still with their greenery.

I just heard a loud crash which seemed to come from my deck. I ran outside but saw nothing except the man in the house behind mine burning leaves in a barrel. What I saw made me laugh. The wind is taking the burning leaves, and they are falling on the carpet of leaves in the guy’s yard. Small fires start, and he goes around with his rake putting the fires out. Maybe this will teach him why burning leaves is illegal.

“I love being home, reading the paper in the morning and having a cup of coffee, doing laundry, going grocery shopping and running daily errands. For me, it’s important to have that balance in my life.”

November 9, 2017

Last night was cold, not quite wintry cold but close enough. Saturday night will be in the 30’s. That’s winter to me. The sun is resting elsewhere so the sky is all over cloudy, not a single break of blue. It is a still day.

I was out yesterday and am going out again today. I can’t remember the last time I was out two days in a row. Maddie and Gracie are my incentives today. They both need canned food, and Gracie is almost out of treats. I also need sunflower seeds. That’s the first stop, Agway. As for me, I’m out of bread and butter. It is a two stop day.

When I was a kid, my parents always went grocery shopping on Friday nights. My father had to take my mother as she didn’t have a driver’s license and wouldn’t have one until after we had moved to the cape. Saturday was my father’s day for errands and chores. When I go by the Chinese laundry still in my home town, I think of my dad. He’d go to the “Chinaman” every Saturday with his long sleeve white shirts. He wore one every day to work and liked them starched. He wouldn’t start wearing colors until much later. I gave him a button down collar yellow shirt for Christmas one year, and that was the start of colors and buttoned down collars. My father surprised me when he abandoned white.

My father seldom deviated from his usual anything. He didn’t easily try new foods and wouldn’t eat familiar foods if they were changed even in the smallest way. The key to my dad was to work around him. When he was here visiting, he ate a pork roast to which I had added garlic in slits around the meat. My dad loved the meal. When my mother was making the same dish, he caught her adding the garlic. He told my mother no way would he eat it. Only shrimp scampi had garlic. He wouldn’t eat hummus because he said it looked like wallpaper paste. Chinese food was exotic to him, a man who loved Spam, sardines and instant coffee.

“fuzzy black lines hiccuped across the screen.”

January 2, 2017

All the hoopla is over. It is time to put Christmas away, my project for the week. I also need to grocery shop. Alexa is keeping my list. I added coffee filters and trash bags this morning.

Tomorrow Gracie and I are going to the dump. It’s back to the mundane. All the anticipation is gone. January is a boring month.

Being stuck in the house was always a winter woe when I was little. It was either too cold or too wet or too snowy to go out. We’d play games until we got bored then we’d watch TV for a while. We’d play in the cellar. The bottom of the banister was a horse to me. I’d use old blankets to make a saddle to put over the wood. I’d concoct a story of me as the sheriff or the marshall, and I’d ride that horse until I’d captured the bad guy. I was every character, and I’d use different voices. My lowest voice was the bad guy’s. He always got caught.

My favorite way to spend time was lying in bed reading my new Christmas book. I was cozy under the blankets. The headboard lamp was warm. It lit the pages perfectly. I was by myself. I heard nothing. I had been captured by my book.

Even now, so many years later, I find books the best way to while away time. I don’t read in bed much anymore as I tend to fall asleep; instead, I get cozy here in the den on the couch with an afghan keeping me warm and Gracie asleep by my feet. It is always time well spent.

Today I watched Highway Patrol with Broderick Crawford who always wears a suit and his fedora. It is in black and white and dates from the mid-1950’s. In this episode, the Highway Patrol is hunting an escaped mental patient with homicidal tendencies and abnormally strong hands. He is a frustrated violin player whose hand jumps so he can no longer play. That is often what triggers his rage: any mention of his hand or music. He just killed a man who mentioned the shaking hand. 21-50 to headquarters. Body found! 10-4!

“Quiet is here and all in me.

June 25, 2016

The weather is still perfect. The days are warm, even hot, and the nights chilly. Even upstairs, on the third floor, I need a light blanket at night. What a delight to feel chilly!

Yesterday was major errand day as I haven’t been out so I can keep an eye on Fern. Animal food was the priority then my food. I bought wonderful food: a cooked tenderloin, orzo salad, Caesar salad, barbecued shrimp, watermelon, kebobs, chicken salad, a Clark bar and honey wheat bread. I have a feast in my fridge.

Last night I was trying to find a movie to watch from On Demand. I told my remote to find science fiction movies. I went through all of them and read the information on the ones which interested me. Come to find out many of them had something in common. The destruction of the human race was a prime theme. Aliens seem hell bent on eliminating us. They want our planet or our water. Et was the last friendly alien.

Fern is doing better. This morning she woke me up by lying on my hip and purring in my ear. She waited around until I’d patted her several times. I have given her only one medication so far, three more to go. She caught on to the pill pockets so I have to be inventive. She can jump on my bed and on the couch where she is sleeping right beside Gracie.

My neighborhood is quiet except for the birds. It is as if only I exist here in my house. I haven’t even heard a car. It is a sense of aloneness. Out my window I can see the sun through the branches, the birds at the feeder and the leaves slightly blowing. The view is almost magical in its perfection.

I have the urge to cook. I keep saving recipes from magazines and newspapers. Usually I cook a dish for the first time and invite friends. I just hope for the best. I’m thinking I might do an international dinner. On the menu will be kelewele. I am so looking forward to Ghana when I can eat it every day.

“… food is not simply organic fuel to keep body and soul together, it is a perishable art that must be savoured at the peak of perfection.”

November 15, 2013

No sun today and a fairly strong breeze, but the day is warm for November, in the high 50’s, and will be the same all week. One day may even reach 60˚. I’m thinking the deck with my face to the sun.

My back is screaming loudly from my over-doing. I am not a slow learner but just figure I can do what I always used to do. I can’t. Yesterday I hauled out the heavy litter. It is biodegradable pine litter which turns into sawdust when wet, and the bag was heavy. I carried it downstairs, outside to the car and then lifted it into the trunk. I also went shopping for my dinner ingredients and toted three heavy bags of groceries into the house. I left the stout in the car and thought I was being cautious. I wasn’t. I spent the whole middle of the day and the afternoon getting dinner ready. All of the dishes were ready to cook, and because I just had to put two of them into the oven and reheat the carrots, I got to spend the evening sitting with my friends rather than in the kitchen. I thought getting everything ready was a great idea. I was wrong. I never thought about all that standing while I worked.

Dinner was perfectly planned from appetizers to dessert. I, however, didn’t plan for my back, but luckily for me my friends did the clean-up. I just sat and gave directions. It sort of made me feel like the lady of the manor.

I slept little last night between Gracie’s snoring and my back aching. I didn’t even go upstairs until 2 AM. I most decidedly see a nap in my future.

I have wonderful leftovers for dinner tonight.

“Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap.”

October 19, 2013

Last night Morpheus grabbed hold, and I slept for twelve hours. My mother would have said I needed it, and I agree. I woke up not feeling up to par (another one of my mother’s sayings) so I’ll just sort of wait around and see what happens. The TV is filled with aliens and monsters so I’ll have plenty of entertainment.

I can hear leaf blowers and mowers, the sounds of Saturday. I went out on the deck and the air smells fresh, of cut grass and fall flowers. There is a morning chill I expect will be gone by afternoon.

I do have a couple of errands today and laundry to wash. I don’t feel like doing either, but I did finish the last of my bread for toast this morning, and I’m out of cheese, two good reasons to get out and refill the larder.

My mother shopped every Friday evening. My father drove her to the supermarket as she didn’t drive, but he never went shopping with her. When they got home, we all helped to unload the trunk. It was filled with paper grocery bags. The next few days were bountiful as  cookies and snacks were back in the house though some snacks were untouchables as they were for lunches. Oreos were always a standard. They were everyone’s favorite cookie, even the dog’s. My sisters used to feed him the sides once they’d eaten the middle. He sat right by them on the steps while they snacked. He knew what was coming. My mother always warned us to go slowly because once the cookies were gone, that was it until the next shopping day. We were kids: slowly wasn’t in our vocabulary.

We used to pop corn on the stove in a pan with a lid. It was less expensive than Jiffy Pop, but it took more attention and constant shaking of the pan or the popcorn would burn. My father made the best popcorn. He never burned a single kernel. My mother would melt butter and put it on the top then mix the popcorn around to spread the butter. She then sprinkle a bit of salt. The popcorn was served in a huge bowl. In my mind’s eye, I see a green bowl, but I’m not sure as my mother also had a set of white bowls with tulips, and that set also had a large bowl. When I was shopping with my mother once, we found a set just like it at an antique store and I bought the set. It sits on my fridge and holds all sort of memories.

“How strange it is to view a town you grew up in, not in wonderment through the eyes of youth, but with the eyes of a historian on the way things were.”

August 24, 2013

The morning is delightfully chilly. The sun, though, is warm and has drawn Fern and the dog to the mat by the front door. The deck is in shadows so I stayed inside to read the papers. My lawn got cut this morning. The noise scares Fern so she sits on the floor between my feet until the lawn is done. The deck cleaning is after the lawn and that noise is right by the window in here so Fern runs for cover. Now that everything is quiet she’s asleep in the warmth of the morning sun.

My mother did her grocery shopping on Friday evenings. She didn’t learn to drive until she was in her late 30’s so she had to be driven to the store by my dad. The weekend was always errand and chore time for my dad. Taking my mother was first on his list. We always liked   their going grocery shopping because cookies and treats were back in the house. Though they never lasted long, it was still nice having them for a while. Oreos were a staple, no fancy double stuffed or orange at Halloween, just your regular Oreos. My sisters were famous for eating just the middles and feeding the rest to Duke, our dog, a Boxer of course. He knew to stay close to my two sisters.

Saturdays my dad went uptown in the mornings to drop off his shirts at the Chinaman and to get a trim at the barber shop. It was a small shop with either two or three chairs. I can’t remember which. After an Italian deli opened up, my dad would stop there to buy cold cuts. The place was called Angelos.

I swear my dad knew at least half the town. He had lived there since high school, was an usher at church and was also a member of the Red Men; he was even Sachem once. It was an all male club which had meetings and did some charitable stuff but mostly I think it was a place for guys to get together and have a few drinks. The Red Men building was a nondescript gray square with only a door in the front. It was on a side street and had an unpaved parking lot beside it. You had to know what it was because the front gave no inkling. The downstairs was for drinking while the upstairs was for rent, and I remember going there many times. We even had my aunt the nun’s anniversary there. I think it was her 50th.

The Red Men building was razed as were several others including the Chinaman’s laundry when that part of uptown became the victim of beautification. The town built a park and a parking lot where those buildings used to stand. I was sorry to see them go. The ones on the Main Street were not the prettiest, and they needed some tender care, but they were old and had been a part of the town for decades. A bit of local color disappeared for the sake of beautification. I figure that’s the definition of irony.

“Weekends don’t count unless you spend them doing something completely pointless.”

May 11, 2013

The morning is damp and cloudy, and every now and then it rains a bit then stops. The whole day is supposed to be like that: a bit rainy, but I don’t mind. I have laundry to do, a bed to change and a book to read. It’s Killing Lincoln by Bill O’Reilly who’s not a favorite of mine but the book so far has been interesting.

I can hear lawn mowers: a Saturday sound ever since I was little. Now, though, it’s the gas mower and not the click clack of blades. Also missing is the sound of voices, of men talking to one another across lawns.  Mowing was traditionally a man’s job. Women worked inside the house except when hanging laundry and men worked outside. The yard was my father’s realm.

Saturday has always been my favorite day of the week. When I was a kid, it meant no early bedtime on Friday, a matinée in the afternoon during the fall and winter and staying up late until I was tired. This time of year it was a day to roam, to ride bikes, to have no destination in mind and no real plans. Saturday was spontaneous. When I was older, in high school, Saturday meant sleeping late, and Saturday night was reserved for friends. We’d go bowling or to a movie or just hang around together. My friend Tommy would invite us over his house, and his mother would make us pizza, great homemade pizza. When Bobby got his license and a car, we’d go to the drive-in, all of us. I remember laughing a lot.

College was a whole different set of friends and Saturday was party night. Sometimes we’d go to a hockey game and sometimes we’d party before but we always partied after. I remember going for breakfast around two or three in the morning at a local hole in the wall diner. Those were the best eggs I ever tasted. I’d get to bed around four.

When I was in Ghana, Saturday was sometimes go to market day and sometimes it was go see a really old movie outside at the Hotel d’Bull, like a drive-in without the car. Saturday was chore day for the students. They did their laundry and worked  around the school compound, but on Saturday night they had entertainment. Tribal dancing was one of my favorites. Usually Bill and I would roam all over to see the dancers. Peg usually stayed with the baby. Other nights we’d see a movie or a play completion or a singing competition among the houses.  It was, in its own way, a special day.

When I taught, Saturday was grocery shopping day and clean the house day, but it was still the best day of the week. I got to sleep late and I usually needed it. Friday was happy hour day, a day to celebrate the end of the work week, and Saturday was the day to recuperate from all that celebrating. Most Saturday nights I was busy with friends, sometimes we’d see a movie or just hang around together.

Now I joke that every day is Saturday, but there are still a few hold-over traditions. When it gets warmer, Saturday will be movie on the deck night. I love that. It’s like a return to the matinée days but without getting hit by a JuJu bead or having a flashlight shined in my eyes.

“Conversation should touch everything, but should concentrate itself on nothing.”

November 16, 2012

Today is the same as yesterday: cloudy and damp. I have no place I need to go so I’m staying home and finishing my book. I will loll about and eat bonbons.

The grocery shopping is done. I maneuvered around the carts in the middle of the aisle, waited at the register while the man in front of me chatted with the cashier after he had already paid and then I hauled almost everything into the house. This morning I brought in the rest: a carton of Diet Coke, some cat litter and laundry detergent. It seems strange to open the fridge and see it filled.

Sad news: Hostess is closing up shop. No more Hostess cupcakes or Ding Dongs, the treats of my childhood. I still remember the thrill and surprise when I’d open my lunch box and find a package of Hostess cupcakes for dessert. I always used the same method to eat them. First I’d peel off the frosting then I’d eat the cupcake and work my way to the cream center. When I was finished with the cream, I’d eat the frosting, the chocolate frosting with the white swirl across the middle. I loved those cupcakes. Hostess will sell its wares until they’re gone and will make no more. The cupcakes will go the way of Hydrox, Bolster Bars and all the candy made by Schrafft’s.

In the paper this morning, the news was, as usual, dreary. I was surprised to read that Mr. Romney had shot himself in the foot again as I didn’t think he had any parts of his feet left to shoot. It’s the if man bites dog aphorism that defines what gets printed. Don’t look for good news, but when I got to the sports page, I had my only laugh. Coach Belichick of the Patriots was his usual chatty self at a press conference. When asked about expectations for the new player, Talib, who’s just coming off a drug suspension, Belichick, a noted oratorian, answered, ” Any player that we bring here, we feel confident in bringing here or we wouldn’t bring him here.” Talib said he and his new coach had not discussed off-field problems, “We kind of just talked straight football. He didn’t bring up the past. I didn’t bring up the past. He didn’t bring up the future. I didn’t bring up the future.” That must have been one heck of a conversation!

“Pithy sentences are like sharp nails which force truth upon our memory.”

October 14, 2012

My alarm woke me up. I had set it to give myself enough time to write Coffee before I head out to this morning’s RPCV event: as in Returned Peace Corps Volunteer. We are dedicating an engraved stone at site 7 of the JFK legacy trail in Hyannis. The stone commemorates 50 years of Peace Corps, and site 7 honors the Peace Corps. Luckily the rain fell last night. The morning is gray and damp but fairly warm. I’m going to wear a fugu, a smock I brought back from Ghana last year. I even have a matching hat. No woman dares venture out on a Sunday without her matching hat!

Yesterday I bit the bullet and went grocery shopping. It was late afternoon. I had chosen the time well. The aisles were nearly empty, and I was able to step right up to the register. My disappointment was I had nothing to complain about: no baskets in the middle of the aisle and no long lines. What is this world coming to?

One of the places I don’t spend a lot of time is a hardware store. It is my destination only when I need something specific. In most stores I like to roam the aisles in case something catches my eye, and even though I didn’t know I needed it, I end up wanting it. That the wanting has yet to happen in a hardware store. The aisles of screws and bolts and chains of all sizes don’t catch my eye. I go right by them. The electrical aisle is just as uninteresting. I usually only want an outside extension cord, and I just ignore the rest. The other aisles are jam-packed, and I can’t tell you what they are jammed packed with. I have no idea. The screws are in the back as are the nails. The electrical aisle is on the left about three aisles up. Keys are made up front. Other than those areas, I have no idea what treasures my hardware store holds. Ask me about Trader Joe’s and I can close my eyes and describe each aisle. Cheese is in the case on the right side wall toward the back; my favorite frozen pizzas, the ones with the Gruyère cheese, are are in a small case halfway down the frozen food aisle. If you obey traffic rules, the case is on the right as you travel up the aisle. I suggest you buy two of those pizzas.