March 2, 2009 § 7 Comments
If there is one chore in the world that I don’t mind and actually look FORWARD to doing, it’s grocery shopping. Ever since I was kid I’ve loved going to the grocery store. Part of it could be that my sister and I were card carrying members of the Wegmans and Star Markets cookie club, allowing the bearer of said card to receive a cookie of their choosing from the grocery store bakery and even at 9:00 in the morning, eat said cookie without a word of protest from mom. For a while there was a creation available at Star that would make childhood nutritionists blow their stacks – the Cookie Cup. This thing was a soft chocolate chip cookie pushed into a muffin tin so as to make a bowl to hold ABOUT A HALF A CUP OF FROSTING. It’s true. They filled the cookie bowl with swirls and swirls of brightly colored buttercream. This was available for free. I don’t even have time to get into my love of old fashioned bakery frosting that I can’t find anywhere. That will have to be a sob story for another post.
I’ve put the free cookies behind me, but getting my cart, pluggin in the ipod and hitting the Jewel is still an event I look forward to with a sort of childlike glee. Unlike my mom, I rarely have a plan when going. I have a partial list of things that are needed, but what I love most is just roaming the store. I love finding a great looking bunch of asparagus, standing together like a bunch of cold co-eds outside a bar, waiting to be something delicious. Although I’m something of a picky eater, I do like to find new ingredients and devise new dishes. To me, cooking is a kind of crafting. Why not? I rarely use recipes. Even when I’m baking I look over the ratios to assure it rises and binds and all that, but I always like to substitute sugars or flavors or cocoa or fruit. To me, it doesn’t feel like MINE until I’ve put my personal touch on it. So when I grocery shop I’m usually buying INGREDIENTS rather than prepared sodium boxes.
Even if I have no need for anything in the “Household Cleaners and JuJu Fruit” aisle, I make my way down it. Here’s why: I’m an easy sell. I’m a sucker for 10 for 10 sales. I heed the call when grocery stores advise me to “stock up”. I love the idea of “stocking up”, as if I have a dirt walled root cellar under a trap door out in the prairie. Amongst the handwoven baskets of apples and onions and knobby potatoes, everyone needs a box of Glade Plug Ins to see them through the hard winter.
I guess this is a round about way of saying that I’m anxious to share recipes with you almost as much as I want to share my crafting and memories and housekeeping tales. Housekeeping tales? What will those be? “Brian yelled at me until I agreed to throw away my last five months of magazines.” So coming soon to the annals (heh heh) of DIAWC, the blog that tires easily, will be Jessica’s Recipes on Recipe Monday. I hope you’ll let me know if you try them and/or improve on them. I love hearin’ about the tweaking.:)
February 7, 2008 § 2 Comments
When Brian and I got married, it was with the understanding that I had pinned all of my hopes, dreams and ambitions on the city of Chicago and all of its treasures. We were young and he must have been smitten to blindly accept such a venture. We laugh now at how quickly we pulled up our tiny stakes from the middle of Perrysburg, Ohio and hit the road. We had nothing. The sum total of our belongings fit in two cars and a tiny U-Haul.
Our apartment was a studio rehab with no air conditioning and a stunning view of three dumpsters in the alley. The apartment broker had assured us that the Edgewater neighborhood was rapidly improving and was hot and up and coming. To hear him talk, we were getting in on the ground floor of the next Greenwich Village. In what could only have been described as “most outstanding acheivement in interior design,”, the “closet” of the two room studio was six feet deep and twelve feet long, opening into the bathroom. To us, it was a master suite. Our mattress and box spring slid perfectly against three walls, and for dramatic effect our clothes hung on a rod, tickling our feet as we slept. One couch, three local channels, no jobs and $700. My grandmother in the suburbs gave us a package of frozen bratwurst and a bag of buns to see us through the lean times.
But we learned the city quickly. We bought rolls of tokens and took the el downtown. We learned to not wear open toed sandals on Bryn Mawr, to silently walk around the young man defecating in the corner of the train station rather than scream out for some semblance of decorum. We stocked our fridge, paid our bills and survived a heat wave that killed nearly a thousand people by taking ice cold showers before bed and diving between the sheets soaking wet while fans blew over our heads.
It wasn’t until October (months after our arrival) that I realized we’d done it. We were grown up adults on our own in the greatest city in the nation. We were walking hand in hand that day. The sky was a beautiful shade of blue, the first crayon you’d pick from the pack. At home, chili was bubbling away in a crock pot and we were carrying a thick Sunday paper that we’d bought on our way home from church. It was football Sunday. We would cuddle up in our big girl pants with a blanket and enjoy our day off. I was so content with so little, so comfortable on a hand me down couch, so satisfied with ground chuck. I have truly never wanted for much, and at that moment – I had it all.