Friday, April 21, 2006

Must Love....Big Slabs of Beef????

One of the things that's most difficult about the life of the single gal is the vast landscape otherwise known as: The Supermarket. It's an unavoidable and pretty much every day errand for most people, but no matter how often I frequent it, I find myself wandering the aisles in a constant state of perplexity. One spends much of one's time looking for single-sized portions of common goods (I need two tablespoons of walnuts, not two cups; I need one stick of butter, not four (when am I ever going to use four sticks of butter?)) and she digs through piles of produce to find enough to make just one salad (eventually giving up on things like enormous stems of broccoli and heads of cauliflower). The fact is, many of us singles often cook (and eat) for one and we don't all have extra freezer space to store leftovers that we'll probably just throw away in the end (and I don't want to eat broccoli every day for a week and a half).

Today was a classic case: Last night, I decided I wanted to eat steak tonight. So I'm standing in the meat aisle (as opposed to the meat market) staring into the void, trying to find the smallest piece of steak I can and a package that only has one piece in it. The butcher finally comes out to ask if I need help. I hold up a package and say, "I'd like one steak, please. A small one."

He digs through the bin and holds one up. "Here's one."

It weighs, seriously, 23 ounces. "Er, no," I say. "A one-person steak. Can you give me one that's around six or seven ounces?"

He reluctantly disappears into the back and comes back out with my lonely little steak that I place in my hand-held basket next to my one banana, my three tablespoons of dried cherries, my two containers of yogurt, my bottle of pinot.

"You know, we're having a special on whole chickens," he says.

I can't decide if he's just doing his job or if he's being ironic or sarcastic. I decide on the latter. "What am I supposed to do with a whole chicken*?" I say.

"Try eating it," he says.

Now, I'll be the first to say that Must Love Dogs is a pretty pointless movie. But it embodies the moment so well when the always-delightful Diane Lane encounters her own butcher. He offers up the weekly chicken special (for only a few cents more she can get a whole chicken!), a handful of recipes, and tells her that she can just freeze the rest.

"I don't want a bunch of chicken sitting around in my freezer!" she screams at him.

Imagine: Those chicken bits, just staring at you from their haphazardly-wrapped tin foil coffins, a constant reminder as you shift past them to your pint of Haagen-Dazs, that you are, eternally, cooking for one.

*I mean this both metaphorically and literally. I wouldn't have a clue what to do with a whole chicken besides stick my head in it.


Blogger zlatickogirl said...

This is classic!! But I have a tip for you: Wholefoods!!! I used to hate grocery shopping and cooking for the exact reasons you meantioned and actually ate freezer meals..ugh!!! I'm now all natural and feel so much better for it, plus shopping and cooking for one is no longer so frustrating! At Wholefoods you can actually buy one small bunch of broccoli, find nuts, beans and trailmix in bulk bins so you can get the basic minimum that you need without having to buy a whole bag of any of them.....they will even cut blocks of cheese into smaller blocks at your can even buy single serving's wonderful!!!

2:37 PM  
Blogger zlatickogirl said... you think Wholefoods would hire me as a national spokesperson?! I already sound like one!

2:38 PM  
Blogger TessaJ said...

That's a good tip. (I broke free from freezer meals a couple of years ago, so really it's about finding fresh that's a good size!)

5:07 PM  

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