Why I am banned from grocery shopping


I wonder why it is that certain subjects get blogged about by many people at the same time. Today there seem to be a few of us thinking about our grocery shopping experiences; what exciting lives we do lead.

My husband banned me from grocery shopping soon after we got married. He was shocked to discover that I bought only what I felt like eating at the time, with no thought for the future including the next day. I would wander up and down the aisles, filling my trolley with whatever caught my eye and looked tasty. I never planned meals and rarely bought basic ingredients. Most appalling of all in his eyes, I did not consider cheaper brands or stock up on items when they were on special offer.

I saw no problem with eating breakfast cereal for dinner, toast topped with whatever I happened to find in my cupboards, and bananas. I always bought bananas. My cupboards usually contained a variety of boxed and tinned goods, coffee and packets of biscuits. When I ran out of food I would go shopping again. Normally I went because I was hungry; apparently this is not a good idea.

Occasionally I would invite friends round for dinner. On these rare occasions I would hunt out a recipe and hit the supermarket with a list of  ingredients, many of which I had never heard of before. I was always trying to cook a dish for the first time when I was feeding somebody else, with varying success. As my flat had an ancient oven that belched smoke (I wasn’t yet aware that they should be cleaned occasionally) the suggested cooking temperature did not always produce the expected results. As far as I am aware, I have yet to poison a dinner guest.

My husband assumed that I would know how to shop and cook, I have no idea why. The first meal I fed him was a slice of pizza that I found lurking in the freezer section of my fridge, a baked potato and some tinned vegetables; impressive huh? I had no interest in acquiring cookery skills when I lived with my parents so left home knowing how to scramble an egg and toast cheese but little else. As a student I ate a lot of bread products and those ubiquitous bananas; obviously I survived. As I have been trying to lose weight since I was sixteen, food was my enemy and the less I had to do with it the better.

My husband can cook. In the early years of our marriage, when we were both working full time, he cooked at least as much as I did. When the kids came along though, and I became a stay at home mum, I was required to take on the role of family food provider. Now that I had babies to feed I started thinking about balance and nutrition. Too many mushy bananas are not good to deal with when processed by nappy wearers.

My husband still did not trust me to do the grocery shopping though. During the baby years I struggled to leave the house due to the need to shower and put on clothes. Also, I did not have a car. I would give my husband a list of food to buy and he would pick up provisions when he was out and about. This arrangement worked fine for both of us.

And then all the big supermarkets started to introduce on line ordering with a home delivery service. For this to work I had to plan out meals a fortnight in advance and let my husband know exactly what I needed. He would set up the order and I would stay in to accept the crates of groceries and put the food away. Suddenly I was organised with a rolling fortnightly menu that rarely changed; how boring this felt.

I sometimes miss those early dinners of a bag of cookies from the in store bakery and a banana eaten in front of the TV. I am still constantly trying to lose weight. If any kids are reading this, don’t be fooled into thinking you get to do what you want when you grow up. My husband may have killed my ability to be impulsive with his practical and efficient ideas, but it is my teenagers who nag me about my continuing inclination to adopt odd eating habits. I may now be able to produce a variety of nutritious meals from scratch each evening, but the only time that I truly enjoy my food is when the preparation has been taken on by somebody else.


8 comments on “Why I am banned from grocery shopping

  1. My queen insists on making a list for every shopping trip. I conveniently “forget” this list when we leave the house and then shop like you do.

  2. Lydia Devadason says:

    I am exactly the same. My husband is the one who loves the cooking. I even had one of those dinners this evening – I fed the family but was quite happy eating bananas and toast, lol

  3. K.C. Wise says:

    This was an interesting read because it’s the complete opposite of my experience. I was “trained” in grocery store shopping at a very young age. Mom went to the store weekly, with a list, and she would take me and my sister with her. We were schooled on what to look at, what was “good” meat and produce and what was “bad.” That, of course, graduated to different types of meat and flavors.. we were trained in good brands and bad, where to compromise with the “store” brand and when to stay clear… when I moved in with The Husband (then The Boyfriend), he was amazed at the organization. And the waste. I couldn’t live with an empty fridge or freezer, so I’d “stock up” on meat, throw it in the fridge and then never cook it! It drove him crazy.

    It took a while of finding the balance, but eventually we figured out how to shop for what we want and need within a budget and without waste. I usually send The Husband to do the monthly Costco run (do they have Costco over there? Or equivilants? They are these crazy-huge warehouses full of bulk-sized items…) because he better tolerates the crowds and doesn’t get distracted like I do. I do the weekly shopping on a VERY STRICT budget. We manage, which is great. I, too, miss the days of picking up the random fun thing at the store…. like gummy worms… mmmmmm, gummy worms…

    • zeudytigre says:

      Could this be why you are such a great cook and I am, well, not? The waste thing is interesting. My mother was big on saving every penny and using everything, something which I have found hard to shake since I have had to feed five (not cheap). I still try to cut back on expensive ingredients in recipes and bulk up on cheaper alternatives, perhaps one of the reasons my meals aren’t as tasty as the fat and oil heavy dishes my husband favours. And I cannot throw food away. I will concoct something rather than consign edibles to the bin. It always interests me what we take from the lessons our parents teach. I wonder what our kids will take from us.

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