Friday, May 1, 2015

Pray For Us.

I'm a little concerned about grocery shopping in our new neighborhood.

I've come to rely on Fresh Direct for most of our groceries the last 3 years. (For those of you outside of New York, Fresh Direct is an online grocery store. You place your order on a web site, choose a delivery time, and they bring your groceries to you at home.) I got in the habit when I was working 9-5 in Brooklyn and the 2 or 3 hours it would have taken to go grocery shopping felt like 2 or 3 hours I didn't have. And, though we have one big supermarket and another smaller one nearby, they aren't great. They're fine for staples, canned and dried stuff, flour, milk, snacks, etc, but I hate buying meat out of a big open case and you don't know how long it's been sitting there, and the produce usually looks ratty and old and well picked over.

Fresh Direct is more expensive than your average C-Town, but I rationalize it because the produce is very fresh and high quality and it's less expensive than Whole Foods or a specialty organic place where I would probably be going for good meat and produce if Fresh Direct didn't exist. I cook at home almost every day, and we have a small kitchen with very little pantry space, so I have groceries delivered at least once a week, often twice. It's always hard to know which shopping choices are more horrible for the world and the people in it, but Fresh Direct at least has lots of locally grown and made food, and I can get reasonably priced meat and dairy raised without hormones. I do try to be conscious of where our food comes from, buy local and organic unless it costs twice as much, but I'm not a fundamentalist about it.

I plan to wean myself off Fresh Direct after we move, because our new place is near enough Chinatown, where produce and meat are insanely cheap and fresh and good. And I love shopping in Chinatown. And now that I'm not working a day job any more, it doesn't make me panicky to contemplate an afternoon of grocery shopping.

All of that to say that I realized another benefit to online grocery shopping is impulse control. I keep a list of what we need, I enter each item in the search bar, check out, done! Grocery stores, however, are a mine field. This morning, I ran out of milk for my coffee, so I ran out to the little deli on the corner. I came back with, not milk but half and half, and a bag of pita chips, a pint of ice cream, and shortbread cookies. What the holy hell?

If I've learned anything in my 54 years it's that i have no power over a bag of potato chips or a pint of ice cream. Or chocolate cake. So I just make sure that they aren't in the house. Except on special occasions, like a birthday. Or a Saturday.

I'd forgotten that about grocery shopping, the way everything talks to you. Somehow the little picture on the computer screen is not nearly as persuasive as the actual item on the shelf. I want to walk down every aisle, and for some reason I think I need those little Dutch Boy cookies with the chocolate, and a big thing of wasabi peas, and ricotta because I don't know maybe lasagna?, and frozen pierogis, and look! Triscuits! and they have those honey sesame brittle things and Green & Black's chocolate at the checkout line, and Table Talk lemon pies, and now I weigh 300 pounds.

Lord help us.

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