By VINCENT CARDEGIN
AWARD WINNING COLUMNIST
Once upon a time I kept writing ‘Gloves’ on the grocery list, but my wife kept not buying them. I like to use disposable gloves when mixing meatballs, pulling apart bacon, and handling steak and chicken. (I don’t wash steak, but I do wash chicken and even use my lighter to burn off pinfeathers.) I also want gloves when I’m forced to pick up a cat or pet a dog—I don’t like it, but it happens.
We both miss items on the list all the time, especially when it’s a mix of different aisles and departments and I don’t have a pen to mark them off. But three times in a row? I’m not a list-fanatic, so it took a while before I realized what was going on. I discovered three new small containers of ground cloves in the cabinet, and while staring at their labels I realized what was happening: my wife had mistaken my handwritten G for a C. Oh good grief. So I wrote on the pad that hangs from a magnet on the side of our fridge: No more Cloves! I want Gloves: note the G! Somehow she again forgot them, so I finally went out and bought a box myself.
Lately I’ve started a separate list of things she keeps buying that rot in the refrigerator. Often food gets pushed to the back and out of sight, so she thinks I’ve eaten it and buys more. I call it the ‘No More List.’ Just because I like pastrami doesn’t mean I want to keep eating it, just so the package doesn’t go bad. I only need small amounts of that, and only when I ask for it! Same for all deli meats. Bags of potatoes and onions, too: most of them start sprouting long before we need to peel and slice or chop them for any meal. And I swear, if I got a token from Disney World every time I found a fresh pack of mushrooms in front of an unopened pack of dark and greasy shrooms, I’d live in that wonderland. No more, please. Ditto for table onions.
And no more buying big bags of cauliflower and broccoli. Three-quarters of them always get brown spots, and I’m not a big fan anyway. I can tolerate such veggies boiled or fully steamed, never raw, and mostly I like the twigs and leaves of those little broccoli trees, but not every week, and certainly not every day. And clearly neither does my wife. And please no more whole heads of lettuce that look rusty when I finally want a salad.
Strawberries get mushy and grow white mold, and maybe that’s a form of antibiotic, but I’m not eating them. Grapes enter their raisin-hood long before we can finish snacking them. Many times I’ve tossed a bag of opened, moldy shredded cheddar cheese from behind two newer bags. And I don’t want to eat the same cereal for two weeks in a row, so no more family sized. And no more perfumed garbage bags. My wife bought them to try to hide the stench of cat litter when she cleans the box, but now I associate “Fresh Clean Scent” with cat poop and gag when I pull a new bag from the role.
My idea is, don’t buy a lot, but also sometimes stop buying any at all. No more packages of asparagus, no more bags of yams when all we want is a couple of baked. The only thing I want a lot of is sliced pepperoni. I use it as a topping for everything, and it has darn near replaced salt and pepper. I buy bigger bags of that. For now.