To Make a Meal, or: ‘I Used To Buy Groceries’

posted in: Food 13
I used to buy such things. Photo: Wikipedia.


There was a time. A time when I bought groceries. A time when I made tasty dishes. A time when, at some point during the day, I thought, “Hm … What would be good for dinner tonight?”

There was a time. A time when I bought groceries. A time when I made tasty dishes. A time when I would be seeing someone special and the rhythm of the day was such that we would often have food together, and there was some point in the day when I made a meal (sometimes with the gentleman’s help, sometimes not), and maybe it was breakfast, or it was lunch, or it was dinner, but we ate it together and we said, “Hm! What a delicious homemade meal.”

There was a time. A time when I bought groceries. A time when I had time to buy groceries and make tasty dishes. I remember this time! And I wasn’t just doing beans n’ rice, either (though at this point, home-cooked beans and rice sounds as good as flaming rack of lamb.*) No, there was a time when I thought through ingredients, purchased them in person, took them home, and used them to make ambitious food. I made lobster bisque for crying out loud! I creped! I made a tagine. I made a fine kettle of fish. Grilled cheese!: Lord, I even made bread at one point. The bread was not my best work, but at least I loved him. Ha, ha. I mean, I at least I tried it.

These days? Groceries and homemade food? L-O-L, as the kids say.

No, I don’t make food anymore because I don’t go to the grocery store anymore. There’s no time to do that and I’m always in the Loop for work and appointments and school. Instead of eating home-cooked food, I just go to Pret-a-Manger.

Do you have Pret where you are? Pret’s like Panera, only French-ish. Also, the people who work at Pret-a-Manger are way surlier than they are at Panera. At least that’s true in my neighborhood. But what can I do? Pret has grab-n-go salads and soups and coffee and I’m a busy woman. I grab. And I go. Grab, go. Grabgo.

I’m happy to be a grabgo, I really am. It’s a wonderful thing to have a new job and it’s a marvelous thing to be very close to a master’s degree. My new job is sweet and my master’s is so close I can taste it, but a woman cannot live on fulfilling work and paper alone. A woman must have a meal.

The other night, Sophie and Luke came over for dinner. Nick joined us, and this was a gift; I did not expect him when I was making plans and making the menu, but it worked out, to my delight. Anyway, for the first time in months — months! — I made a real meal. The occasion called for it: My friends closed on their home. They bought a house! A real, live house. Of course, I had to make food for them, so I made food for them and I also made a gingerbread house for them. I decorated it and everything. They bought a house! What else can a friend do in such a situation?!

Sophie is a vegan, by the way, so the whole meal, including the gingerbread house, was vegan. It almost killed me.

But it was delicious. And I realized that a) I miss real food; and b) I could maybe be vegan, that’s how good everything was. Oh, and c) Did you know Skittles are vegan??

*Hang on: Did lamb meat literally on fire at your table ever sound good?