The grocery store, the meat, and the kids
I watch these cooking shows, and they always have a chef who grew up in a family where everyone revolved around the kitchen. That was never the case in my house. I’m not sure my mother enjoyed cooking, or at least for the entire family. When she said, “I’ll throw something together,” it was often cause for concern. She tried, but I know how hard it is to do something well if you don’t enjoy doing it. I don’t like cooking myself.
So the food was just not good. In fact, when I joined the Army and ate in the mess hall in basic training the first time, I was shocked at how good food could taste.
My mother always shopped at this one grocery chain. This particular year, they were the victims of a butcher’s strike. None of us realized the implications of that.
She went shopping as usual, and picked up the ground beef that was on sale. She threw a meal together with the meat and served to us for dinner. My father eats so fast that he doesn’t taste anything, so he was already halfway through while my brother, mother, and I discovered the meat was spoiled. Nothing ruins your appetite faster!
The following week she goes back. Buys more meat on sale. Same result.
Third week, she went back. This time when she came back with the meat, she asked all of us to smell it to see if it’s bad.
My father waved it off, telling her that he couldn’t tell anything. So she came to me and my brother, and of course, the meat was bad again. None of us wanted anything to do with the meat after that because it was obviously spoiled. Smell is one of the senses that brings back instant memories, and there are some no one wants, like spoiled meat.
The following week, she went to the store again. For some reason there was a huge disconnect here with my parents. It was a two person job to go shopping since my father was the driver, and no one thought about going to a different grocery store. For some reason, my mother either couldn’t tell the meat was bad or didn’t have the confidence to make the call. The latter was possible; she’d grown up in an era where women were taught that they weren’t supposed to have opinions. But the result was the same. She couldn’t tell if the meat was spoiled, my father said he didn’t know, so the kids got the job of checking.
After that, the next shopping trip was at a different grocery store. Finally!
Grocery Store – 0; Hamburger – 0; Kids – 1.