Man foodJessie Knadler
Jake and I have this recurring…I don’t want to call it a “battle,” more like “debate with occasional tension”….about grocery shopping.
We split grocery shopping duties. Sometimes I go, sometimes he goes.
About a month ago, he went grocery shopping and came home with 20 bags of predominantly highly processed, high fructose corn syrup substances gussied up to resemble food. A lot of it was econo-size — Jake is incapable of passing up econo-size — which meant we ended up eating large spoonfuls of chemicals and preservatives for months.
As I unloaded the bags, I felt myself becoming testy.
“Seriously, Jake?” I ask, holding up a package. “‘Waffle nuggets?’ What the heck is a waffle nugget?”
“They’re good,” he says. “The syrup is baked inside.”
“And look what we have here,” I say, selecting another box from a bag. “Frozen mozzarella sticks with the marinara sauce also baked inside. So efficient. Because I for one like to eat my frozen mozzarella sticks on the go.”
“What’s your problem?” he asks.
“Nothing, except that every time you go to the grocery store you come home with food that looks like it came from the reject pile from The Price of Right.”
“What are you talking about? Look, these Cheese Doinks are made from whole grain.”
“When I go grocery shopping,” I say. “I do it with an eye toward extending and enriching my life — not to mention that of June’s — while you seem determined to want to kill us all with your waffle nuggets and your cheese doinks.”
Then it got real: “You know, I work my butt off for this family,” he says. “I just spent two hours grocery shopping. I just spent $250 on food so we can all eat and all you can do is criticize.”
I kinda felt bad.
“And not all of the food I buy is unhealthy,” he says. “Look, there’s plain yogurt, organic milk, whole wheat bread. I got all the vegetables you asked for. There’s a yam in there somewhere.”
I kept my mouth shut and unloaded the rest of the groceries, making a mental note to never let my husband go grocery shopping again.
What it boils down to is that we have different perspectives on what is “healthy eating.” Jake is way more relaxed about it because of the physical demands of his job — he’s a builder — which requires large suffusions of calories throughout the day, ideally consumed with one hand (see: waffle nuggets). And he has no problem handing our 2 year old a (mini) candy bar, donut or Nutella-slathered slice of toast or sandwich comprised of all three while I have serious misgivings about such things. He eats for utility while I eat for…well, I don’t eat for utility. But he thinks I’m uptight.
Last night he ended up grocery shopping again (I was on deadline with a story). He came home with his usual assortment of highly processed snack foods. I bit my lip. But I noticed some of it was the “healthier” versions of his previous attempt…waffle nuggets lite. This is somewhere within the realm of progress. Included in his purchases was a wide assortment of fruits and vegetables and other good stuff. I didn’t criticize once. I’m learning this is one of those marital discrepancies I gotta let go of (if I don’t want to spend the rest of my life grocery shopping).
Well, I take that back. I didn’t complain once EXCEPT for the cheese. He came home with two giant, highly processed CHEESE LOGS. Wha–? Cheese logs? Who eats cheese logs?
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