I love grabbing my tinny, wheel-squeeky shopping cart and maneuvering my way through the aisles of my local, hyper-illuminiated grocery store. I just really, really do. Some people find long walks in the park to be the trigger for ideas and inspiration. Me? I find a nice stroll through the supermarket does the trick.
I do a lot of dreaming while I’m pushing around my cart with the inevitably wayward wheels that go in every direction but straight. I dream about being the kind of person who eats exotic fruits like starfruit and cumquats. Which then leads to dreaming of equally exotic island destinations and sunny getaways.
I gaze longingly at the asparagus and mushrooms and pretend I’m deciphering which one would be the right addition to a soup I’m going to freehand (Freestyle? Free-recipe?). And while today might not be the day I go home and concoct that soup, my wheels are turning and I’m thinking about how much I really do love trying new things. Even if I don’t make that soup today, there’s a good chance I’ll look into that new author I’ve been hearing about or go check out that park I’ve been meaning to visit.
While my mind bursts with plans and ideas, I trace the lines of neatly-stacked boxes of Stovetop dressing and bowtie pasta and Matzo balls. I look with wonder at the cereal aisle and pretend I might pick up corn flakes or granola, when in actuality we all know I’ll be throwing Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Fruit Loops in the cart.
Even when I don’t have anything to bake, I always walk down the baking aisle. For me, this aisle is the ultimate, the best of the best. I could gaze at the different types of vanilla extract and 37 different kinds of baking chips – not just chocolate anymore, boys and girls! – and imagine all the wonderful-tasting treats just waiting to be made.
I wheel my cart slowly, aimlessly – much to the dismay of my husband whenever he has the misfortune of accompanying me. I just love all the possibilities, all the opportunities for new and delicious dishes. For new ideas. For thinking great thoughts. (What? You don’t do that at the grocery store?)
Typically, I stick with my usuals. My 2% milk. My whole wheat bread. My sugar-laden cereal. But sometimes, I mix it up and throw in a head of cauliflower or some tarragon without a plan in the world for what to do with them. Because the fun, my friends, is just beginning.