The Store…

Hubs is not a shopper, never has been. Hates it actually. Prit-near torture if he has to go to a mall. It’s gotten worse as he’s aged. Even 20 years ago he could putter around Meijer for a half hour in the sporting goods, hardware or automotive department. Now he complains that Meijer only has groceries and clothes, which is probably pretty close to the truth.

Meijer produce department. They’ve eliminated most departments besides food and clothes…

So when he says, “do you need anything from the store,” he’s not actually offering to zip 3 miles down the road to Meijer for 20 bucks worth of groceries cause I’m too tired. Oh no, he simply means from my expanded kitchen/larder/bunker/ which is open 24-7 for our convenience. (This is located in my laundry room). Don’t go thinking this dude needs a cape. He would never willingly go to a ‘real’ store for me unless there was a dire emergency. In his defense however, Hubs has always realized his crazy ass wife loves to grocery shop. That can’t be normal. But it’s the way I am.

My kitchen is small. Not able to store much more than the absolute necessities. But my large laundry room downstairs has these built in cupboards which make a perfect ‘larder.’ Two huge cupboards, floor to ceiling, deep sections, 3 shelves each. One cupboard holds all of my home canned goods. The second one holds everything my kitchen doesn’t. Ever since I had more than 2 bucks in my purse to spend on groceries I’ve been a quantities shopper. (And quality). My second pet peeve (number 1 remains the jerk who refuses to get out of the passing lane-then continues to drive way too slow) is running out of something when I need it. Whether it’s toilet paper, eggs, baking powder or L’Oréal hair color, there’d better be a replacement on the shelf somewhere in this house. If I have to go to the store because I’ve literally run out, rest assured I will be buying 10 of whatever I’m lacking at the moment. Just the way I roll.

My home canned goods for 2018-so far. Still have to do apple sauce…

Hubs enjoys novels similar to The Walking Dead series on TV. Some weird strain of biological war/zombies/ has wiped out 90% of the population. The few humans remaining have to trek to North Dakota or some such place and the odds are never in their favor. So when John asks if I need something, he’s actually only offering to walk downstairs to ‘the other store.’ Yeah, he thinks it’s funny. Every time he reads another book he says, “when the real apocalypse hits, we’ll be able to live here and eat for at least a year, maybe 2. If we die, let’s hope the good guys come through our house and find your store downstairs. Since coffee is at a premium in every single apocalypse book, they’ll be in heaven when they spot your half dozen cans of coffee.”

Don’t judge. I keep a lot of canned goods on hand because would if I get hungry for Tres Leches Cake? Cannot be made without a can of Cream of Coconut. Note: that’s not Coconut milk which is common and cheap, but Cream of Coconut which is hard to find and expensive. To prove I’m not a hoarder I will tell you I only have one can of Cream of Coconut in the house. See? I can be normal. But the day I use that can, its replacement will appear on my next (constant) grocery list. Count on it.

Yup, only one of these on my shelves…

I need a lot of stuff in the house because I still cook and bake a lot. And we eat good. The older we get, the less we go out. We don’t enjoy eating out as much as we used to. Portions and prices are two big reasons why plus I can usually make it better. And I’m not that great of a cook. Normally I stick to a plan. I’ll march downstairs on the weekend. Head to the freezer, pluck out a package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts (tasteless according to Hubs. He thinks everything should be made with dark meat) a beef roast, package of ground round and a nice ham bone. The decision’s been made, the next 4 nights suppers (Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings, Hot Beef Sandwiches, Taverns and Ham & Bean Soup) are now on the menu. When my life is in sync, this is normal behavior. Well, as normal as I get. Then again, sometimes I open the freezer and stare into space. Geez, what can I make that’s different or we haven’t had in a while? Or I’ll ask John, who might say, “I’m hungry for salmon patties, fried potatoes and cream peas, or meatloaf or beef stroganoff.” We both have our favorites. I try to be fair. Or we’d have spaghetti once a week along with turkey and all the fixins. Every week. At least once.

I often make soup twice a week. Hubs likes soup, but nearly as much as I do. I’m more than ok with a big bowl of homemade soup everyday. Right now I’ve got a hankering for Chicken Corn Chowder and Red Skin Potato with Bacon soup. Soup is one of my favorites as far as leftovers go. Which is the real the reason I cook. So I can bring good food to work. I get up at 4 and get my break at 10:30, Lord willing. I’m starving by 10:30. Walk to the lunch room, toss my entree in the microwave. Nibble one of my fingers down to the first knuckle during these excruciating 3 minutes. Today was the last of my goulash, (John’s request) a slice of bread, fresh blackberries and Diet Pepsi.

Honestly, it’s not as-overwhelming as it looks…

John has suffered from a chronic affliction since the day we got married. He is helpless, unable and incapable of finding a gallon of milk in an otherwise empty fridge. Place my hand on the Bible, it’s the gospel truth. The man can wire a garage, put in a gas line where there was only 220 electric for a dryer. Replace an engine in a car. Has the vision to ‘see’ how a multi million dollar factory machine line is gonna run and make the parts he needs. However, if his life depended on it, he could not spot that damn gallon of milk. In an empty fridge. Sad. But true. My cross to bear.

My ‘larder’ is important. And I’m anal about FIFO. Hey, I worked at McDonald’s for years. One of the first things they teach you. First in, first out. When new stock comes in, the older stuff gets put in front so it will be used first. Always. Usually the maintenance man’s job but every crew worker at one time or another has had to help put away stock if the maintenance guy was busy doing something else. I’m constantly moving stuff around downstairs, checking expiration dates. I mean geez, it’s not not like I have 20 cans or jars of something. OK so maybe a dozen to 15 cans of tuna but really, who’s counting? When I say we eat good, I’m serious. Thus my tuna casserole uses 4 cans of tuna. Yes, 4.

This odd store really isn’t anything new with me. It’s just never been in one handy location before because I always had much larger kitchens. So all my grocery stash was in several different cupboards as opposed to one gigantic place now. When the kids were grown up, on their own but still single, anytime they were visiting meant they would do much of their grocery shopping right out of my cupboards. For free. Win-win for everyone. I was adament they tell me when they took the last of something because you know, it had to replaced immediately. Stat. There are still rules when shopping at mom’s house.

Shannon moved about 6 months ago. Her house is very, very nice. And big. Italian marble, mosaic floors, fancy ceilings 20 feet high. Her kitchen has 3 ovens. 3. Her ‘pantry’ is right off the kitchen. Even the pantry is cute, and the approximate size of my whole kitchen. She was trying to get her pantry organized and utilize that nice space, so she ordered some shelving racks. The kind you see in stores where you take a can of soup out and another rolls in its spot. Gonna take care of all her canned goods. Except they didn’t fit on her pantry shelves. Bummer. She dropped them off at our house to see if I could use them since she didn’t feel like sending them back. Well there’s more than enough room in my larder for those racks. Wish she’d ordered a half dozen. Dang. I hemmed and hawed about which cans should go on these racks. So many cans, so few places for such a great display. Well as long as I was finding the right spot for the racks I might as well rearrange the whole cupboard and check the dates on everything….

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