A blogger whom I follow made an interesting New Year’s resolution, and challenged her readers to consider doing likewise. Her resolution? Going to the grocery store only once a week.
For years, I — along with every other parent who had a full-time paying job — faithfully shopped only once a week, generally on Saturday. When I was first retired, it took a bit of time before I could convince myself that I no longer had to shop with the masses; I could shop on, say, Thursday afternoon or Tuesday morning. I had few obligations to inhibit shopping choices.
And yet still, for the most part, I shopped once a week. I chose Monday morning as my self-designated shopping day. Soon I figured out that Monday morning was not a good choice, since the shelves were empty from all of those working stiffs who had shopped on Sunday. It also seems that grocery store management apparently is no longer willing to pay for a night stocking crew. So I spent a significant amount of time dodging stocking pallets while the crew stocked shelves between customers’ legs.
I think it was after we bought our home here in AZ that shopping every day slowly became my normal. There is a Basha’s grocery store about a three minute walk from my house. So while I would generally still make a grocery list and buy my big items at the local Kroger store or perhaps Costco or Walmart, it seems like I would forget something or other, and find myself walking to Basha’s.
Before I really paid attention to what was happening, I found that I was shopping on a daily basis — both in AZ and in Denver. Tsk tsk. I know that is killer on the budget. That’s why the above-mentioned blogger is challenging herself to only shop once a week.
When Bill and I traveled in Europe for those three months in 2008, I noticed that Italian women generally go to the market every day for their groceries. They walked to the closest markets pulling a grocery cart, which I came to call a nonna cart. At the meat market, they picked out a chicken or some sausage. At the vegetable market, they looked at all of the vegetables and decided which looked good to them. No squeezing was necessary because if the vegetables weren’t ready to be eaten, they wouldn’t be in the market. Believe me, I know this because I — being an American — was a guilty vegetable squeezer. I got the evil eye from many Italian women because of this practice. Next they marched to the bakery to choose bread and a sweet treat.
While admittedly, we ate the majority of our meals at restaurants for those three months, I did cook meals when I could. I recall one trip to a market in the small Italian hill town of Roccatederighi in Tuscany…..
With a population of about 850, Bill and I couldn’t hide the fact that we were tourists. My Mickey Mouse baseball cap and Bill’s All My Exes Live in Texas t-shirt hinted that we were Americans. (Just kidding, but only barely.)
I decided I wanted to make dinner for us that evening, as it was a drizzly day. The communication between the local grocery market owner and me was a sight to behold. I remember asking her for olive oil, basil, tomatoes, and spaghetti in Italian (olio d’oliva, basilico, pomodori, and spaghetti), and her looking at me like I had two heads. I guess my Italian wasn’t quite as good as I’d hoped. But we were able to work it out via my dictionary and lots of hand gestures, and I went home with the correct ingredients.
I digress, I know. But I have sort of modeled my grocery shopping behaviors after those nonnas that I saw in Italy, down to even buying and using my own nonna cart…..
So, while I gave the blogger’s challenge some consideration, I don’t plan on limiting my shopping to one day a week, though hats off to those who do. Instead, I will lose weight, eat healthy, and get more organized.