I stood in the produce section of the grocery store, trying to look like I was fully in charge of the mission I was on. The grocery list I had in my hand had been transcribed from an online recipe, and the basket of items I was carrying was starting to make me seriously regret I hadn’t grabbed a cart.
I looked through the salad section, you know, the pre-made ones for people who are too lazy to buy a head of lettuce and take the time to cut it up and stick it in that tiny rotating bowl that resembles a miniature washing machine for, say, Tinkerbell. My eyes were starting to glaze over. I don’t know if I feel like a Greek or caesar salad, and more importantly, if I’m grocery shopping for the entire week, how on earth am I supposed to know what I’ll want to eat in three days?
Other shoppers were now moving around me like I was a permanent fixture. Yet, as I looked around, I noticed the same glazed eye look in a few other people, and they all seemed to be my age….or younger.
Ah. There it was. I was fortunate enough to grow up during a time where fast and convenient food was available to me 24/7. Have to work late? I’ll grab a burger and bring it back to the office. Don’t feel like cooking tonight? I’ll manage to get off Instagram for the two minutes it takes to order a pizza online. Drank a little too much on a night out with friends? I’ll graciously buy the cab driver his own fries if he takes me through a drive thru at 1:30 in the morning.
Even the food in the grocery store is becoming fast food. Right in front of me, was a container of chopped red peppers. The tag read “Great for stir fry!” and it cost a ridiculous four times the amount of simply buying a red pepper and venturing into the scary part of your house where all the appliances are to find that thing with a sharp steal blade and cut it up yourself.
I lugged my now exceptionally heavy basket over to the under enthused cashier. As he rang my items though with the same amount of excitement as someone watching paint dry, I saw the number on the screen grow larger and larger.
“That’ll be $73.86”
Sweet guacamole!! I could get 50 cheeseburgers for that price! I pulled out my debit card and tapped it as quickly as possibly, hoping that if I kept my eyes closed, the money would somehow stay in my account.
As I drove home with my whopping three bags of groceries, I thought about the differences of cooking between generations. People used to take time when they cooked. It wasn’t just to feed yourself, it was an event, and it ended with family sitting down at a table, with fresh, homemade food, talking about how their day was. It wasn’t just about the food you were eating, it was the bonding that occurred when you broke bread with those you cherished most. It’s something that seems to be occurring less and less these days in our ultra rushed, eat fast-food on the go lifestyles.
“I’d like to get back to that”, I said out loud, as I dialled my Mom’s cellphone number on bluetooth.
“Hey, I’m just going through the drive thru at McDonald’s, you want anything?”