Last Sunday, my wonderful husband and I did something we don’t get to do together very often; we went grocery shopping. It was one of those down-to-bare-bones sort of trips. Our dinner the previous night was Dave’s very ingenious use of practically every already-opened bag of frozen veggies in the freezer prepared on the grill pan (there was, strangely enough, some smokiness added) and a balsamic and wine reduction to drizzle on top.
It really was inexplicably tasty. I wondered if part of the reason for its deliciousness was thanks to hubby’s practical “use what we have” thinking and absolutely infectious can-do attitude. Whatever it was, it made me want to try to use up the rest of the crap in our cupboards and fridge, much like John and Sherry over at Young House Love the weeks before they moved. But, alas, thinking of the school week ahead and crazy evening schedules starting, we were out of our all natural turkey and a plethora of other items. So, schlep to Hannaford we did.
And, y’know, it was as fun as a really good first date. We worked and talked about what we really needed. We discussed whether Campbell’s pretty-much-all-natural Homestyle soup was better than Wolfgang Puck’s organic stuff, and whether it mattered. We looked at dressings and quickly decided to put them down again — I could make this at home, and cheaper, and all natural in the process. We got exactly what we needed, and nothing that we didn’t. (I do “allow” that we can add up to 5 non-list items, just in case of sale or “gaaaaahhhh I must have that” syndrome, but we did pretty well this time as far as the 5 was concerned.)
Here’s how we did (toilet paper and all):
As you can see, we’re still doing well with our all natural/organic quest. If it’s not organic, at least it’s all natural (and no HFCS, thankyouverymuch). You may notice the word “Goya” a few times. Now, I wasn’t raised to be a beans girl, but knowing that Dave’s now interested in eating more vegetarian meals, and just that he’s verbalized that means that I need to grab it and RUN WITH IT! So, I’m looking for ways to incorporate beans more. And not be intimidated by making them the center of a meal.
Carmelized hazelnuts for salads – or snacks – or dessert. Two homemade salad dressings (my own thousand islands!!!). The Barefoot Contessa’s scallops provencal planned for dinner. It was a lovely Sunday afternoon when we got home.
Then, Saturday, we decided to schlep out to Cooperstown for their occasional winter farmers’ market. While it was a little chilly (it’s inside, but in an unheated building that they have to try to blow warm air into), I think it was one of the most enjoyable farmers’ market experiences we’d had.
Sure, the cool British guy with awesome coffee and true, homemade scones wasn’t there, but it was so much less pressured than usual. During the summer, it’s gorgeous out and there’s such an incredible variety of produce, but everyone’s thinking the same thing: “What a nice day to go to the farmers’ market” or “Gotta do my weekly shopping.” So, you get lots of Cooperstown locals (which, admittedly, is a dream of ours to become, if life could follow that direction), tourists, and folks from 50 miles in any direction. Lots. Of. People. It can get brutal if you’re not in the right mood to wait or put up with a crowd — one reason we don’t go weekly during the summer (plus, our own garden and the cost of the drive).
So, anyhoo, this visit was great. We not only were able to actually look at every vendor, compare prices, pick what we needed, and get out pretty darn fast. We had time to hunt down a cafe and enjoy a local-eggs-and-sausage breakfast sandwich before our regular town walk (although, admittedly, it was fuh-reezing). We ended up picking up some raw milk cheddar that had been soaked in hard cider, maple syrup, some whole wheat/potato bread, and our produce – gorgeous carrots, parsnips, potatoes, onions, shallots, leeks…
So, can we get a hallelujah for two weekends in a row that consist of a food AND relationship focus? Love it!