Spooky at the Supermarket
I'm almost through the guest list from Vanessa's Halloween party, I'm down to less than a dozen left to visit. It's been a lot of fun but boy oh boy, I've put thousands and thousands of flying miles on my broom, criss crossing back and forth all over the world. I visited so many lovely bloggers, some old friends, some new. But it's time to close this laptop and get some last minute cleaning done. Family are arriving Friday early, maybe even late tonight (!), and I'm about a month behind schedule getting ready for them!
One of the many fun aspects of all that blog visiting was seeing all the great autumn treats folks had featured. I'm hoping to make some holiday goodies in the next few weeks. To that end, and part of getting ready for company, I cleaned out my refrigerator yesterday - which in this new refrigerator was SO MUCH EASIER. I was bummed I had to toss out a bunch of unused veggies and fruits - y'know, those invisible to the male eye kinds of food - but I made a great vegetable soup with the rest and made room in there for a market trip today.
Here comes the spooky part. I had a list when I went to the supermarket today. And I didn't even stray much from it except for adding a few things I remembered needing as I went up and down the aisles. I actually made an effort to eat a good lunch before I arrived and not to impulse buy. But still, holey cow, those are some steep food prices!!! One of the things I needed to replenish were basic canned goods. Y'know, the things you need to throw together a meal out of the cabinet. For me that meant a half dozen varieties of beans, tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, a few soups. I usually buy the cheap generic brands. Well, there were no cheap generic brands! Even the generic brands that were on sale were twice the price I remember them being last time I bought this stuff!!
Vegetables and fruits were just as pricey. I remember how I used to grow everything myself only to be teased that it probably cost me more to grow it than to buy it and I argued the whole organic, fresh, better taste angles. But there were some vegetables it just seemed silly to grow they were so cheap at the market. Now I can't think of a single kind of produce that isn't expensive.
I've spent the last three decades growing most of my family's own food and making meals from scratch or as close to from scratch as possible during the busiest kid years. I considered it "cheating" to use canned beans for instance instead of soaking and cooking my own. I made my own bread and felt guilty if I bought bread machine mixes instead of tossing together my own ingredients. And so on. The last few years I've fallen off my gardening/cooking high horse in a big way. You'll find packaged cereal in my pantry, store bought veggies in my refrigerator and, GASP, frozen T.V. dinners in my freezer.
I find a twisted evil humor in the fact that after decades of being so conscientious, now that I'm feeling a bit burned out and ready to embrace my "shortcuts are my middle name" Inner American Housewife, I'm beginning to think that going back to my purist roots might be a necessity and not a choice. Yeah, I know I've probably nobly expressed my yearnings to get back to those "good ol' days" - but in all honesty, some days what I really want is be able to afford hired help and let someone else to the cleaning, cooking and gardening. Not every day, but some days anyway.
Other days the Back to the Land Mama wants out again. I dropped a half dozen cans of tomatoes in my cart today and seriously regretted dropping the ball on my garden this summer. I reached for a box of granola on the cereal aisle and then decided no, I wanted to give a shot at making my own. I bought a bag of caramels with the intent to finally pick some apples out my back yard. Yes, they're still hanging out there on the branches, not five steps from my kitchen door. So seriously lame.
On my list of seasonal treats I hope to make in the next few weeks: pumpkin bars or pumpkin bread, sugar cookies with Halloween cookie cutters, caramel apples, graveyard pudding and mummy wrapped sausages. Also, for some reason, I've been craving some soft breakfast polenta cooked with dried fruit. I also need to make an apple pie for sweet Joli because it's just too adorable how she says "appa pie!" with a little questioning uplift to the last word.
Last but not least, I'm looking forward to making "homemade beverages" to accompany this favorite seasonal movie night -