Tuesday, April 9, 2013

the shovel section

I have developed a love for the bulk food section of our grocery store.  I am embarrassed to admit that until recently I did not use it, and did not appreciate its greatness.

Given that I am quite a wimp in terms of upper body strength, Jonathan gamely purchases and carries to the shed our 50 pound sacks of chicken feed and we have added stopping by our local bakery for 50 lb sacks of King Arthur flour for all the bread, pasta, and other baking we do. We are currently going through these sacks in 3 to 4 weeks.

I try to get the rest of our our ingredients for baking and cooking in the bulk section of our grocery store.  Recently, shoulder deep in one of the barrels full of rolled oats, I was discovered there.  By two of my friends who were carrying their coffee cups as they walked, almost strolled, clearly having met there for a chat before they shopped.  They were dressed well.  I...well...in addition to my efficient llbean raincoat accessorized by said oat barrel...was not.

I don't know why, but for some reason I was a bit embarrassed.  Maybe it was my current positioning.  Maybe it was my outfit.  Or the fact that I feel sometimes like I am trying to kick it pioneer style in the middle of our modern and thriving city...you know heading into the general store like Pa Ingalls to buy the year's supply of salt and wheat, a bolt of calico cloth, along with a can of oysters as an impulse purchase...which is handy in case I get holed up in a snow bank on my way home from the store...(Little House fans...you know what I'm talking about right?  Word.)

((yeah.  I am testing driving that expression.  I don't think I am hip enough to pull it off.))

But maybe it was something in me ingrained by my mother...that we did not buy generic foods.  You remember, the ones that were in white boxes at the grocery store with black lettering?  Giving very barebones descriptions, like canned beans, oat flakes, and powdered milk.  Somehow, whether my mother said it or I surmised it, I associated generic foods either with not having enough money to buy "the good stuff" or that these items were of lesser nutritional content.  That somehow, the fancier the package, the glossier the pictures on the containers, the more celebrities on the cereal boxes saying yum with their eyes, the more exciting the name for the contained food, the better.

I am actually quite proud of the fact that I mostly buy ingredients at the grocery store these days.  That we eat a good deal of homemade food, bake our own bread, make our own baked goods, and eat almost no premade or processed food.  But I guess I am proud of this in a quiet way, in my own kitchen while I pack the kids lunches, not necessarily out in the wild of the grocery store.  I need to work on that.

I shop in the bulk food section because it cuts down on packaging, it cuts down on price, and frankly the fact that the woman at the check out lines was commenting weekly on my purchase of 6 small bags of flour a week was starting to make me feel self conscious.

Elliott stepped over the abandoned Whole Foods bags when he got home from school.  I had feverishly put away the refrigerator items when I arrived home, but not anything else.  Spilling out were some plastic bags.  I am going to begin working away at any assumptions he may be making about my choice buy bulk.  I will begin in our kitchen.

Did you go to the shovel section again? he asked.
You love the shovel section.
Yes I do.  Let me tell you why...

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