Sending Husband's Food Shopping
July 14, 2018
My father was the grocery shopper in our house. For the time, he was a pioneer.
My mom worked, and while she planned all the meals, she hated to shop. My father, on the other hand, loved to shop because it was a respite from his work as an ob/gyn.
Either that, or he was marketing to new patients in the grocery aisles. But she trusted that he would get everything on her list. And he was the kind of husband that if he forgot something, he’d go rushing back for that one can of whatever she needed for a recipe.
My husband, on the other hand, should never, ever, be allowed to go food shopping. He does a lot in our household, and he’s well-intentioned. But every time I send him with a list, he comes back with all the wrong things. He thinks he’s going food shopping as an independent thinker, and I think he’s going as me.
When I said I needed cherry tomatoes, he came back with a can of Romano tomatoes. Can, fresh. Big difference. Of course, it was my fault because I didn’t say those actual words on the list I provided to him.
He loves to substitute things: fresh tuna for the poke cannot be substituted with tuna in a can. (And doesn’t he know not to get the one packed in oil?).
Once, I sent him for last-minute capers needed for a recipe. At first he wanted to know what they were. Seriously? Who knows — I just needed them. His is not to question why; his is just to purchase. But apparently there are many different kinds of capers. Big ones, small ones, canned ones, jarred ones. It’s like shopping with Dr. Seuss.
Confused by all the capers and terrified of the wrath of Pam, he decided to Facetime me as he stood with the poor Wegmans employee who had drawn the short straw to help the desperately-seeking-capers guy in aisle 15.
I had thought I could solve the problem by writing a very specific list outlined by category, placement in the store, and purpose for the item, empowering him as a shopper. But my writing and his reading just don’t seem to ever converge.
That, and Wegmans is notorious for redecorating and rearranging (usually right before a major holiday), moving everything so you can be confused and spend more time in the store, just like when you’re in a gambling casino in Las Vegas and they use dark lighting and loud carpet to keep you at the tables.
To solve the list disconnect, my husband now uses the Wegmans food shopping app, but I’m a technology idiot so we are back to square one. I’m also very brand loyal. I freak out if a given brand or even the regular size of the brand I like is not there. My husband loves to experiment based on whether he likes the packaging.
I have come to realize that we are still loyal to the brands we came into the marriage with. Even though we’ve been together for 35 years, I cannot seem to convince him that Hellman’s Mayonnaise is not Kraft Miracle Whip. And Dijon mustard cannot be substituted with French’s mustard.
And that’s really the issue, isn’t it? I know I’m a control freak and like to shop according to my own set of expectations. And he’s his own man willing to go out on a limb and switch out my peanut butter of choice to the one he grew up with. Like any marriage, it’s all about compromise and communication — or just doing it yourself.
As first published in the Democrat + Chronicle and on the USA Today Network