Wednesday, March 10, 2010

You Are What You Eat

There are few chores in life that I take as much pleasure in as grocery shopping. Scrubbing down the kitchen? Nah. Getting my hands dirty in the bathroom? No way. Even vacuuming, with its loud noises and immediate gratification, isn't really on my radar. Spring cleaning at my house is me, halfheartedly waving a broom at the cobwebs that have accumulated on my ceilings, and dusting. I'm not a neat freak.

But grocery shopping really gets my blood moving, chore-wise. First of all, it gets me out of the house: I'm not choking on chemical cleaners or room sprays or what have you. In the winter, this can be kind of a drag for a non-driver like myself, but in the spring months, it's a lovely treat to hop on my bicycle and breeze over to the Loblaws. Grocery shopping on my bike is one of the top-tier instances of feeling like A True Cyclist. I'm not at the trailer-hauling level that some folks are, but a girl can dream.

Once I'm actually at the store, and have wrestled my bike into the (never adequate) bike parking, I'm free to wander, exploring the possibilities. I can generally gauge how optimistic I'm feeling based on the kind of food I pick up: tomatoes and brie are a staple, bananas are a solid maybe - hey, even if they go bad, I can always magic them into delicious banana bread - and mangoes are like a shot at the wild blue yonder. I eat, like, one mango a year. do I buy one mango a year? I buy...more than that. And they rot.

Grocery shopping let people try on new personalities without having to invest in, say, a condo on the waterfront. Am I the type of person who eats goat yogurt and organic salsa? Let's find out! And it won't cost as much as either tickets to a monster truck rally or a spa visit.

I know that kind of argument can be specious. I've called bullshit on defining yourself through what you consume, but food is so fundamental to survival, and there's such a range or ways you can eat. Some folks are very much of a soymilk and manuka honey mindset, while others are completely content to graze on Hot Pockets and Mountain Dew. Most of us fall somewhere in the happy medium, scarfing down both free-range eggs and Twizzlers. I know you're supposed to shop the periphery, leaving the centre aisles - the ones that contain delicious things like tacos - out of your cart. But in the words of Mandy Patinkin, fuck that bullshit, they can blow me. Tacos, butter chicken sauce, rice cakes and tins of tuna all live in the centre aisles. And they are good.

In grocery shopping, the stakes are so low: you hate something? Just don't buy it again. It's not like you have to sit your veal chops down and tell them "It's not you, it's me." Some days, you feel fancy, like a quinoa and walnut salad would be the perfect accompaniment to your Perrier. And others...well, let's just say I've had several evenings with Wine Gums and my couch, and they were very nice. After all, we are what we eat. Sometimes we eat crap, and sometimes we eat fancy.

Eat hearty, my pretties!

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