My Strange Addiction

112_2550811I’ll admit it.  I am addicted to the grocery store.  I absolutely love grocery shopping above almost any other kind of shopping except shoe shopping.  (But that’s another story).  I always hear people complaining about going grocery shopping, taking the kids grocery shopping, dreading grocery shopping; but I can honestly say that I have never experienced that feeling in my life.  If grocery shopping could be a part time job; I would so do that for someone.

From the moment I put my hands on a shopping cart I feel a rush of endorphins.  It’s a sense of pure happiness.  Even if I was only there to purchase a pack of gum, I would wander the aisles all day.  Looking at every bit of exotic produce, different types of bakery items, tasting samples, and peering in the deli case.  Walking into the wine section and looking at the different brands, types, countries of origin, and fascinated by the ones that have unique or beautiful bottles.

I love each and every part of the grocery store.  Looking for new items, sale items, discounted and clearance items; it’s a joy that I cannot fully even express.  Part of it is the challenge of getting the most for my money, becuase I refuse to buy anything that isn’t on sale that I don’t have to.  I comb over the marked down meat and picture what I would cook with it, hunt for items that are on sale that I can combine with virtual or paper coupons; and scour the shelves for items that are on clearance.

I think another part of it comes from my upbringing.  My parents were poor.  I mean poor poor.  But we didn’t know we were poor.  We got government cheese and puffed rice, and the big brick of Shredded Wheat that came in a box and looked like a giant scrubbing pad.  There was no such thing as Frosted Mini-Wheats.  The cheese came in a big brick like Velveeta; but it was slightly lighter in color.  We had powdered milk that you would add water to; and when we were out of milk my mother would take canned evaporated milk and add water to put on cereal. (That was nashty.  I hated it.)  We ate a lot of beans, rice, and vegetables, and rarely had red meat or pork.  My mother would make a huge pot of beans and rice for dinner, and the next day take the leftover rice and heat it up with butter, sugar, and milk and that was breakfast.  She would send me out to the big field next to our apartment with a grocery sack to pick dandelion greens; the leaves off of dandelion flowers; and she would cook them in a pot with onions and whatever meat we had.  I learned to appreciate food; and appreciate having food.  I also learned that I never wanted to not have choices.

112_2550824I also love to cook.  It relaxes me.  My kitchen is my refuge.  When people ask to help me cook, 99.99% of the time I’ll say no.  (Now, I may grumble from time to time about nobody cooking for ME, but that doesn’t mean I want THEM to help me when I’m in there).  When I get in the kitchen I’m in a zone.  I have a very small house with a very small kitchen, but I will use every available surface and burner if my muse is singing.

Right now, with my family’s recent economic downturn, I think that this obsession with the grocery store might actually be a blessing in disguise. We’re not in any danger of starving, because I think I’ve stockpiled enough groceries through the year to feed us for a good month solid if we only had to buy perishable goods.

So, I will continue on as I have been, feeling that little flutter of excitement every Wednesday when I peruse the grocery ads to see which store has what on sale; the rush when I find a great clearance deal (like a 14 pack of fresh chicken thighs for 2.75), and the wide eyed wonder I experience every time I see a new item on the shelf that I haven’t seen before.

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Melissa McAtee

Melissa McAtee

I'm a single mom of 2 originally from the Midwest. How many people can you say that you know from the Town of Normal? I have one son, age 14 and one daughter, age 17. I'm also engaged to be married in June, 2015. We also have 2 furbabies, Tinkerbella Pixiedust, a 9 pound Chin-Tzu, and Jack Sparrow, our rescue Boxer. I have quite a few nicknames; including Mama Mack, Wonder Woman and Chocolate Mary Poppins (all of which are totally true....).