July 18, 2022
Michelle is the master chef at home, taking full command of the kitchen. I stay out of the way. A VRBO in lieu of hotels allows me to flex my cooking muscles and to eat in rather than out at restaurants. We get enough restaurant food when on the road. We ate more French fries in our first five days of this trip than we had in several months prior.
With a touch of excitement I made up a grocery list, on my phone, of course. There was also some trepidation. Having cooked very little in the past eight years, I find myself at a loss when it comes to menu planning. Thankfully I had picked up some fresh greens including a bag of mixed sprouts at the IF Farmers Market on Saturday. I had also frozen some chicken from a previous purchase, and a casserole transported from Arizona was available in the freezer. I needed only a few items to make chili, one of my favorites but a dish underappreciated by members of my household, except Mike. Mike accompanies me to the store, following me like a puppy with the cart as my brain whirls through decisions.
Fred Meyer Market reminded meof the hyper markets of Germany in the early 1980s. Everything from fine jewelry to kids clothes was available. TV, furniture, any household good. In a town the size of Idaho Falls, Fred Meyer serves at the department/grocery store. Being a Kroger brand makes some decisions easier for me, as I am acquainted with Kroger through Fry’s grocery in Arizona. I know which peanut butter to choose. I know to trust the canned goods.
We trolled the aisles relatively quickly, as I went through the recipe in my head. Soon we had everything except olive oil to dress the salad. Olive oil now a staple of the American diet, I expected to locate it easily in this warehouse of plenty.
Ahh, baking supplies and vegetable oils were clearly marked above the aisle. Surveying the oil shelves, we were dumbfounded to find avocado/olive oil, canola oil, vegetable oil, and a few other combinations, but no olive oil. We headed over to the salad dressings and condiments. Nothing. This is not a major metropolis, but really?
A congenial-looking red-shirted man stocking shelves responded immediately to my request to locate olive oil. Looking humorously perplexed, he answered enthusiastically that he didn’t know but would help us find it. Back to Aisle 7, home of the oils. As Congenial Man inquired of another employee in the aisle, we all raised our eyes and saw the sign: Olive Oils. Gee, an entire section to itself. Just not with the oils.
There is no logic, CM said, assuaging me of my guilt or stupidity, reporting he has had to return canvas waterproofing to the birdseed aisle and minced garlic to lettuce. He thanked me for helping him find the olive oil. Am I in England? So far, everyone is, as my sister would say, very nice.
Earlier in the day Mike and I enjoyed a few minutes apart when he took the car in for an oil change. He seems relaxed, taking time to watch “Better Call Saul” with me plus a few tiny house episodes. He enjoys Cheetos for brunch and chips for hors d’oeuvres. Yesterday being quite windy, we were content to remain home except for our excursions for the oil change and to the grocery store.
The chili was delicious and the salad perfect with its light olive oil dressing. There was enough chili for another night, but I may go out just to converse with the nice staff at Fred Meyer.