by Maria Schulz
There is one chore I have to do every week that I really could do without. So what is it? Going to the supermarket. I will drive out of my way to go to a store that isn’t packed with people who have all the manners and charm of the dentist in the Marathon Man. There’s lots of pushing, shoving, and running in the store closest to my house.
Plus, there are never enough open registers and I’m forced to go to the self-serve register. My purchases always seem to cause the register to spaz out (that’s the technical term), so an employee has to trudge over to my register and re-set it. If he had any superpowers at all, it would be the power to render me into nothing but a pile of ash.
I don’t enjoy grocery shopping anymore. But then my husband bought a box of Cap’n Crunch Crunchberries and my former love affair with the supermarket came rushing back into my memory.
When I was little, there was nothing quite as exciting as Food Shopping Day. My mother would spend the Sunday beforehand cutting out coupons and making a master list that rivaled the Magna Carta for sheer size. Then, usually on a Tuesday, Mom, my twin brother and I would head out to buy enough food to last our family of nine for a week.
We’d jump into our lime green station wagon and drive off in search of enough proper food and sugar-laden goodies to keep us revved up for days to come. My mom would blast the radio, and we would sing harmonies along to Paperback Writer, Dominique, or Eres Tu. It was hard to keep up with my mother when Eres Tu was on, because she was the only native Spanish speaker and had an unfair advantage.
Mom would gun the engine as we rode through the streets of Bayside Hills and headed down the 2-block hill. We would roar with laughter as the car hit the pothole on the bottom of the first hill and soared to the bottom of the second hill. When the car would finally bottom out, we’d all get thrown around, because of course, no one wore seat belts back then.
At last, we’d pull into the parking lot at Hills Supermarket. We’d climb into a cart (we’d take turns riding in the seat or in the big part of the cart) and Mom would wheel us around the store.
We’d snooze while my mother pushed us through the soap and shampoo aisles, but we’d perk right up when we came to the book aisle. My mother would sometimes get us each A Little Golden Book about puppies and kittens or Halloween and Christmas. The books were important, because every once in a while there would be a sale on sneakers and we would sit and read while my mother pulled out sneakers for us to try on.
Didn’t everyone get their sneakers in a bin at Hills? Thank goodness we didn’t grow up later, because if we wanted to buy sneakers that cost $500, we would be going everywhere in bare feet. There was no such thing as “Pumped Up Kicks,” and no one coveted your supermarket sneakers or wanted to kill you for them.
Our favorite aisle was, of course, the cereal aisle. So many choices! All of them bad! There was Count Chocula (my personal favorite), Frosted Flakes, Fruity Pebbles, Frankenberry (Chris’ favorite), Cap’n Crunch’s Crunchberries, and Mikey’s favorite, Life.
Some weeks, an advertising gimmick had captured our attention. Did the Rabbit want to eat Trix? Let’s get a box in case he shows up. Then there was the great “Quisp vs. Quake” showdown where Quisp was voted as more popular than Quake, and Quake disappeared forever. I voted for Quake! I’m still waiting for him to return.
There was also Chocolate Cow, which had chocolate puffs that flavored your boring milk until it was magically transformed into…chocolate milk! As far as we were concerned, the person who came up with this idea deserved a Lifetime Achievement Award. He was a genius!
Eventually, my mother would drag us out of that aisle and we’d get boring stuff like meat, chicken, vegetables, fruit, milk, bread and other healthy stuff. Eventually, the one who was sitting in the big part of the cart had to get out and ride on the ledge of the cart, or walk.
We wouldn’t get excited again until we hit the cookie aisle. There we would beg and plead to buy mallomars, Vienna fingers, Oreos, animal crackers, or chocolate chips. My mother would buy whatever was on sale, and then we’d hit the Entenmann’s table. My favorite box of cake was the Marshmallow Fudge, but since my father liked crumb cake, that’s what we ended up with most of the time.
Of course, no supermarket trip would be complete without begging and pleading for quarters so we could buy ourselves treasures from the machines outside. While our mother was paying for the boatload of food, doling out her coupons and trying to get enough “points” to cash in for her reward of a new clock or toaster oven, we would rush outside to get the all-important gumball machine toy.
Silly putty. Super Bouncy Balls. Fake mustaches. Silly eyeglasses. Wacky packs. Gum. Troll Dolls! The only thing that kept the supermarket from being heaven on earth was that I never had enough quarters to buy more than one super cool toy.
One time, I decided to go in through the out door, but the door began to shut before I was all the way through it. I tried to push it open but got my hand caught in the electric door instead. My mother heard the screams but didn’t know where they were coming from. Luckily, Chris thought fast and ran inside to activate the door so I would be freed.
The good news was, I got to sit in the cart while the store manager showered me with lollipops, candy bars, silly putty, books, and ice packs. I gave most of the loot to Chris but sat there with my giant lollipop, throbbing hand, and tear-stained face. The lady at the register kept telling me how brave I was and the whole store congratulated Chris for being the Hills Hero.
These days, no one congratulates me for my bravery when I enter the supermarket or showers me with gifts. I buy lots more healthy food than cookies and cake, and my cereal does not have 16 grams of sugar in it. And I most certainly DO NOT go in through the out door, no matter how many times I hear Prince sing about it.
This breakfast burrito recipe got great reviews, so give it a try. It will keep you satisfied all morning.
So, what’s your favorite sugary breakfast cereal? Do you like food shopping? What’s your go-to healthy breakfast? Please leave a comment and let us all know. For more great breakfast ideas, stop by Butterscotchblastoff. I always get a smile and a great idea for breakfast whenever I read these posts.