Grocery Store Hell

When I was a newlywed, I was not the best cook.I remember looking in one of the 9 cookbooks I got for my wedding (I think people were trying to tell me something) and choosing a recipe. It had a shoppping list in the margin, and I headed off to the grocery store, ready to buy all the ingredients and then make a lovely dinner for my husband. I hit a snag. When I got to the grocery store, I realized I did not know what chicken stock was. I called my friend who could cook, and she told me it would be in the soup aisle. I went to the soup aisle, and could not find chicken stock to save my life. Nobody felt the need to mention to me that 'chicken stock' and 'chicken broth' were the same thing. Apparently that's common knowledge. I ended up coming home with chicken gravy. SOOOOOO not the same thing. Fortunately, DH got home before I began to cook, and saved me from disaster. He also looked at the garlic I had bought, and asked if we had a garlic press. I didn't know what that was, either. I was close to tears. We managed to put the recipe together, (well, mostly he managed to do it, after another trip to the store) and it was actually very tasty. But I had never felt so incompetent in my life. Yesterday, the feeling was back. First of all, I must begin by stating that I was at Albertson's, and I never go to Albertson's, I hate Albertson's with their stupid card, and now I hate Albertson's even more, but it's close, and I thought it would be quicker, (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA) since I had to go pick somebody up after my "quick " trip to the store. I picked up a few things, and then started wandering the aisles looking for cider vinegar. I found the balsamic vinegar, I found the rice vinegar, I found the white wine vinegar. NO CIDER VINEGAR. I have bought cider vinegar before. It's not that exotic an item! Where the $%!#$%! is it? Also, I could not find "turkey cutlets." (Also for a new recipe) Supposedly next to the chicken, right? NOT THERE! NOT ANYWHERE! Why do grocery stores conspire to make us feel stupid? In the meantime, my cart is filling up with Cheetos, Oreos, Pringles, as my children sense my distractedness and calmly start putting things in the cart that they believe any well-stocked kitchen should have. I could not believe it. Here it was, 8+ years later, and I'm having a chicken stock flashback. I think the answer just may be to never try new recipes. Later that evening, my husband went to the store and returned with turkey cutlets and cider vinegar. He didn't say a word about how incompetent I was. I love him.


Blogger Melissa said...

I hate that you if you can find something at one grocery store, it most likely will not be at the other. Like ice cream. Why can't Wal-Mart carry a variety of ice creams? Why do I have to go to Kroger just to get something other than vanilla and chocolate?


6/07/2005 02:02:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

I don't know how people shop with children. I only have Jacob, and many a time I have come home from the store only to discover I have bought the completely wrong thing, no doubt borne of the distracted state I was while in constantly telling my son, 'No, we are not getting a toy, don't touch that, hey, don't stand up in the cart!' The worst is when I buy chicken breasts with bones. I hate that.

6/07/2005 10:36:00 PM  
Blogger dede said...

Ok, two comments.

First of all, you need to find a store that you can order your stuff online and then either they deliver or you just pick it up outfront without even having to go in. You can sit at your computer with your recipes and meals planned out for the week (yea, right) and be done! No screaming children, no forgetting anything, no candy isle temptation! And if you no idea where to find something, like cider vinegar, most have a search engine.

Secondly, I am NOT a good cook, but I have discovered this magic secret. Find two things that you can make that your family really likes. (Mine are enchiladas and lasagna). Make them a few times a month and for some reason they wipe out the memory of the crappy casseroles that you put in front of them the rest of the month. When we were having the missionaries over the other day, no joke, my husband actually told them that I was a "fantastic" (his words" cook. And I am soooo totally not.

6/08/2005 08:40:00 AM  
Blogger annegb said...

My first husband said my meat loaf's were like big burnt hamburgers.

I still don't know how to use, nor do I own, a garlic press, Heather. I've been married to my third husband for 24 years.

I hate grocery shopping, if I was rich, I would hire somebody to do it for me, after I hire the maid. I used to shop with my kids, my two stepchildren are ADD and they would be bouncing off the walls and screaming. It was from hell.

I tried giving my daughter a list to shop, it took once for her to try to avoid that chore from now on. My husband hates it, too. It's nerve-wracking in so many different ways.

6/08/2005 09:52:00 AM  
Blogger Kaimi said...

There is a limited degree of substitutability between most cooking items.

For turkey cutlets, you can probably buy some uncooked turkey breast and slice it up yourself. Or substitute chicken and buy some of those boneless skinless sliced chicken breasts.

Vinegar is trickier. Rice vinegar is not the same as cider, and neither is balsamic. However, white wine vinegar probably isn't a bad substitute. Vinegar that's made from fermented apple juice (cider) and vinegar that's made from fermented grape juice (wine) aren't all that far apart.

6/08/2005 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger The Wiz said...

I own two garlic presses now. Garlic is a staple around here. Growing up, my mother hated garlic, so we never had it. I don't blame her for much, but I do blame her for my lack of knowledge about garlic.

If Momma didn't like it, family didn't eat it.

6/08/2005 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

Hey, my in-laws would consider themselves very sophisticated cooks, and they had never seen a garlic press until this weekend when I used a garlic press to put garlic in my homemade chicken noodle soup. My MIL was also amazed that the "delicious" broth came from just plain old bullion cubes. Just goes to show even the most sophisticated cooks don't know everything.

6/08/2005 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger annegb said...

Guys, what do you do with a garlic press? I buy bottled garlic because it keeps a long time. I add garlic to almost everything, but just by the teaspoon.

How do you use a garlic press? My friend says she likes to bake garlic and it tastes good.

6/08/2005 04:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Vanessa said...

I like the garlic presses where you don't have to pre-peel the clove.

6/08/2005 08:52:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...


A garlic press is a tool where you can put a whole fresh garlic clove in a small compartment and press it through a sieve-like thingie, and presto--minced garlic! There's lots of different kinds, and they are a lot easier to use than trying to mince those tiny cloves yourself.

6/08/2005 11:00:00 PM  
Blogger annegb said...

It seems easier to just buy the jar.

Have you baked garlic? Do you eat it straight or mash it up or something?

6/09/2005 08:49:00 AM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

I have never baked garlic or eaten in straight. I have heard of baking whole cloves with a recipe, like garlic chicken, but that's as far as I go.

6/09/2005 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger The Wiz said...

annegb -

I have baked garlic. You just eat it straight. It takes on a whole separate flavor once it's baked, and it's not strong or garlicy. Bake them until they're soft. Yum.

6/09/2005 11:37:00 AM  
Anonymous claire said...

Baked garlic is great spread on french bread. Low fat!

6/09/2005 11:48:00 AM  
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