I remember being in Trader Joes several months ago (back when I was first engaged and convinced that wedding planning would be a breeze, moving would be a double breeze and commuting through philly traffic would give me “time to reflect on my day”) when I overheard a young woman asking an employee how to cook the bag of brussel sprouts she was purchasing. She explained to the employee that she was newly married and had never cooked a day in her life. Smugly I thought, who can’t cook brussel sprouts?! I would like to now apologize to that woman.
My husband and I didn’t share an apartment before we tied the knot. A series of awkward timing with school, jobs and various leases kept pushing back our decision to co-habitate. So fresh back from our honeymoon and living together for the first time, my husband and I started finding chores that fell into his purview and mine. He works longer hours than I do, so dinner seemed an obvious job for me, and with that, I decided I should do the grocery shopping for the initial week too. So there I was early on a Sunday morning wandering up and down the supermarket aisles. First, I was fairly confident that I could handle shopping for a week and would dispatch the chore quickly. I marched in confidently, pushing my cart, armed with my shopping list and reusable cloth bags. However, I’ve always been sort of a grazer when it comes to dinner – eating thrown together salads, hummus or toast and eggs as dinner during school. Making five (or heaven forbid seven) meals over the next week that someone else would not only find edible but perhaps even appealing suddenly seemed very daunting.
As I wandered around aisle four wondering if you could use breading to pan fry chicken as well as sear fish, it occurred to me that this is why people buy magaines devoted to ‘summer recipes’. This is why there are websites that offer a week of pre-planned meals, grocery lists, recipes and all. What did women do back on the prairie prior to wifi and a local grocery store? Luckily these days there are many books advertising healthy dinners, and easy meals, so hopefully I won’t get the chef’s version of writer’s block anytime soon. But I certainly admire those who can just whip up a quick dinner with whatever is in the fridge!