Lately my Saturdays have consisted of taking my husband to work and immediately driving 15 minutes to our favorite grocery store, Cermak. I do live in Milwaukee, so there are other closer choices available, but let me tell you, Cermak is awesome! For those of you not in Chicagoland or Milwaukeeville (contrary to popular cheesehead belief, Milwaukee is not a metropolis and therefore not a ‘land’), Cermak is a Mexican grocery chain that offers a huge selection and fantastic prices on produce and meat. You’ll find this in most Mexican grocery stores, even the small ones. I presume this is because Mexicans (and I’m going to go out on a limb and say probably most Latin Americans) actually cook most of their meals from scratch with real ingredients. Yes, I’m dissing on the rest of us Americans a little bit (while making broad generalizations), but I’ve been one of the worst offenders, so don’t hate me.
Back to my Saturdays, I drive immediately from dropping off my husband to the grocery store because if I don’t do it then, I’m likely never to do it which will then send us into a spiral of hunger, confusion over what to eat, and eventual submission to ordering pizza. We’ve been there many times and have learned we both tend to become despondent and very indecisive when not fed regularly; it isn’t pretty (See: Me getting teary because nothing “sounds good” to eat and him desperately searching our cupboards and hastily making something out of canned tuna to keep me from a meltdown – yes, I appreciate the gesture, but yes, it is gross). So I resist the inviting couch and endless supply of entertainment via Netflix/Hulu and get to my weekend work as soon as he gets to his real work.
The worst part of the entire day is lugging a slew of bags upstairs to our apartment. Generally I don’t want to have to go back out to the car, so I trudge along with 10-15 (easy) plastic grocery bags in hand, juggling keys, awkwardly opening, closing and locking the door, then hiking upstairs to another locked door. I thank my lucky stars I’m tall because I can’t imagine this feat even being a few inches shorter. Bags would drag; it would be bad.
By the way, there are a lot more bags of food now that we are trying (and mostly succeeding) to eat more healthfully. No one warned me about that, so I am warning you: there are a lot more groceries in general if you want to eat better, so hire a butler or at least have a couple of kids to help you with the process. To be fair, my husband helps with the majority of bags when he is around, but that isn’t often on Saturdays since he’s currently enmeshed in the glory of retail splendor.
The most remarkable (to me) part of the routine that I’ve now adopted is preparing (as in washing, chopping and storing in zip lock bags) all the vegetables as soon as I get home so that they are ready to go to when we want to cook them during the week.
It is remarkable to me for two reasons:
1. Because I’ve actually been doing it consistently, and
2. Because it is something I heard on 30 Minute Meals with Rachael Ray on the Food Network years ago AND IT WORKS.
There are a couple of interesting things about this:
I. Long before I had a steady boyfriend or cooked fresh food or ever needed to know how to make a meal in 30 minutes or less, I watched AND REMEMBERED this tip. Somewhere in the back of my female brain there must have been a storage area labeled “Useful Tips for Running a Household if I Ever Need to Be Even Indirectly Involved in the Health of Another Human Being.” Outstanding.
II. IT WORKS. It takes a little while (about an hour), but it absolutely saves time when cooking and makes us more likely to use the food. Pretty impressive little tip, Ms. Ray.
I’m excited about this because:
One: IT WORKS.
Two: Did I mention IT WORKS?! Therefore, you can trust me when I say you can believe everything you hear on Food Network. These people actually know what they are talking about! Yes, I am making a blind generalization. And, yes, I expect you to believe me. But if you don’t, just try it for yourself, even if you harbor a secret hatred toward Rachael Ray and her big smile and peppy ways (you know who you are), just try it.
You will see.
You will believe.