Mr. Apron asked what my blog was going to be about tonight.  Let’s first preface this by saying we are staying in on a Friday night, having cooked a delicious stir-fry.  I will be blogging whilst Mr. Apron calls his best friend, and the dog commences to gas us all to death with his broccoli farts.  We are lame.  We have reached, at the tender mid-to late-twenties, a level of married lameness I both fear and welcome.  If it means we have dates to Borders and get excited by sales on new ranges at Home Depot, so be it.  I worry about my much-cooler little sister’s image of us, as she has just turned 21 and is entering the prime of her (legal) awesomeness.  We, however, new homeowners, party down by not having to call the plumber on a given weekend.  Tomorrow, we are excitedly trekking back out to the optician where Mr. Apron is getting new lenses (and, daresay, new frames?!!  The excitement is almost too much to handle.), a place we’ve been to twice already this month, to pick out my new glasses, get my eyes examined, and pick up my new glasses.  I can’t stand it.  Nevertheless, as I embrace my lameness as one might a distinctive mole, I shall persevere and blog heretofore, as planned, about my perpetual grocery list.

I rarely use a list when I go grocery shopping.  First of all, I can’t stick to it, which makes me feel like a failure when I walk out with 54 items, and my list has 7.  Second, we have a lovely document called “We’re out of” in “My Documents”.  It’s supposed to keep a tally of frequently used items so we can check them off as we need them.  But we usually end up writing in so many extras for special meals and other crap we “need”, that it starts to resemble Strom Thurmond’s 1954 South Carolina ballot.  And we rarely remember to keep one printed out as a running tab anyway.  Plus, there are always those items I will buy if they are on sale, each and every time. 

1) Kellogg’s Smart Start Healthy Heart (Raisin Bran) or (close second) Original Antioxidants

I couldn’t care less that it markets itself as a healthy cereal for people who care enough to get all their vitamins and minerals in one bowl so they can eat nothing but McDonald’s McFlurries the resf of the day.  I don’t care if it’s called Healthy Heart because it’s piggy-backing on the oat bran fad of the 1980s.  I don’t care if the Antioxidants are just rebadged vitamin B12 and Thiamin.  This is just the best cereal around.  It’s sweet enough you can pretend you’re back eating Frosted Flakes.  The flakes stay crunchy in milk, unlike that other, inferior raisin bran.  There’s enough fiber and protein to keep me full until I start devouring the children at work around 11:30am.  The only drawback is that the boxes always seem very small, and Mr. Apron and I can polish off a box in 2.5 breakfasts.  Retail price: $4.79.  When it goes down to $3.19, I buy it.  When it drops to 2/$5.00, I buy 4. 

2) Tropical Pure Premium Not From Concentrate Orange Juice, Low Acid.

Not to get all HIPAA on you or anything, but I have acid reflux.  No one else makes low acid juice.  Minute Maid did for a while, but it wasn’t Not From Concentrate.  And once you’ve gone Not, you can’t go back.  This juice allows me to enjoy orange juice in a way I cannot if I go for the regular stuff.  When I get brave and I go back to full-acid at a friend’s house or a party (what?  We go to parties?), it immediately bites me in the ass.  Or, rather, the esophagus.  I shan’t go into details.  Even Mr. Apron has converted to my juice, and finds regular OJ too strong.  Haa haa.  Did I mention we’re not drinkers?  Retail price: $4.19.  If  I’m desparate, I’ll buy one.  Often drops down to $3.99, and I’ll buy one.  At 2/$6.00 or (awesome!) 2/$5.00, I’m your gal.  Just make room in the fridge, ‘cuz we’ll be stocked.

3)  Soy milk, preferably Silk Plain, in the red carton, 64oz size

In addition to acid reflux, I’m a lactard.  One who never liked milk.  One who despised milk to such a degree I had to disguise it in my cereal growing up by pouring chocolate (yes, chocolate) milk on my Frosted Flakes.  There, I’ve admitted it.  It’s out.  Truthfully, how much worse is that than having Cocoa Puffs, Cocoa Krispies, Special K “chocolatey delight”, or Cookie Crisp?  Thank you.  I tried Lactaid milk in college, since it was available.  And then I found the heaven that is soy milk.  Soy milk, which tastes unobjectionable at worst, and nutty delicious in hot chocolate at best.  Soy milk, which doesn’t leave that film in my throat, cause diarhhea, or make me want to vomit after I drink it.  Soy milk, which lets me get my calcium, protein, and shovel through boxes of Smart Start.  I’m not so brand-loyal that I won’t buy whatever’s on sale, unless it’s the Whole Foods 365 generic (has weird non-integrated bits in it — yuck), or 8th Continent, which they only apparently sell in “light”, and which looks and tastes like water.  I love, love, love Edensoy, but it’s much pricier (sometimes $3.19 for a quart: 32 oz, which actually they used to sell by the liter, in 33.8 oz boxes), and not all the mainstream markets sell it.  Plus, it’s shelf-stable.  I like that on the surface — stock up on a months’ worth of milk.  However, in boxes that small, you’re constantly having to keep a spare in the fridge so you don’t have to pour room-temp milk on your Smart Start, and the little foil pull-tabs never come out cleanly, and the pour spout is a bitch on a full box.  Open letter to Edensoy: redesign your boxes, and I’m back on board.  Your milk rocks.  Retail price of Silk plain: $3.99 or $4.19.  At that price, I buy the store brand.  On sale for $3.49, and you’ll find your way into my cart.  On sale for 2/$6 or 2/$5, and the OJ had better make room at home.

4)  Triscuits, Garden Herb, Fire-roasted Tomato, or Rosemary and Olive Oil varieties

Triscuits are wonderful, triscuits are awesome.  Flavored triscuits are even better.  When we crave a savory snack in our house, out comes triscuits and cheese.  Chips never last long around here, and are not nearly as redeeming nutritionally as a whole-wheat cracker strong enough to hold a slab of cheese, yet obsessive-compulsive enough to break on those cleverly scored cross-hatches.  Bigger than Wheat Thins, less eyebrow-raising than Chicken-in-a-Biscuit, less crumbly than Ritz, and more substantial than saltines.  The flavors mentioned above are the ones without MSG.  For some reason, Nabisco decided that those were fine without, but dumped MSG into the garlic-flavored variety, and several others.  I can handle MSG in my Doritos.  I expect it.  I demand it in a chip with 42, 000 ingredients, and green and red flecks baked fried into a background of fluoresent orange.  I don’t want it in an otherwise wholesome cracker.  The above varieties have Michael Pollan’s requisite number of recognizable ingredients; the ones with MSG do not.  It’s very weird.  Sometimes I break down and buy them if the others aren’t available and they’re on sale.  Retail price: $3.29 or thereabouts.  Sale price at which I snatch them up: 2/$4. 

5.  Caffeine Free Diet Coke

For reasons I shall launch into at a later point in time, I am not supposed to have caffeine.  I do not like coffee and have never tried, as many I know have.  I once had an instructor who professed to have “trained” himself by dumping copious amount of sugar and creamer, and then gradually tapering himself off of the additives as far as he could go.  I think the vast majority of coffee drinkers who go to Dunkin’ Donuts and don’t order their java black, don’t like coffee.  Yeah, I’m calling you on it.  You don’t like it.  First, DD makes a milder roast than Starbucks.  Second, they pump in a dose of liquid sugar large enough to kill Wilfred Brimley, and enough “creamer” to make my intestines gurgle in fear.  This is their standard procedure.  In Rhode Island, you can order “a medium, extra extra”, which is a coffee-flavored sugar milk beverage.  All those new McCafe pieces of garbage that probably weigh in at 400 calories are no different.  They’re for people who don’t like coffee.  Like me.  So that’s not really a big issue.  Unlike Diet Coke, which is a big issue.  I grew up on Diet Coke because that’s what my mother drank.  She didn’t buy soda for us kids, so if we wanted soda at home, we had to sneak hers.  And thus I grew accustomed to the taste of diet, to the point that I can no longer drink sugared soda.  It makes my teeth hurt.  Diet + Caffeine Free = liquid crack we guzzle in the summer.  Again, Mr. Apron has come over to my side.  He gets his jolt from coffee (or a coffee-flavored sugar-milk concoction), and we move on with life.  I don’t like aspartame in my yogurt, or my juice, applesauce or cookies, for the 20 calories they’re saving.  Really?  A regular, already low-fat Yoplait has about 100 calories.  The non-fat version saves you maybe 30 calories, tops.  And then there’s aftertaste in your applesauce.  Eww.  I’ll save my calories in my diet soda, thank you.  And give me low-fat yogurt with full flavor.  Where was I?  Ah, yes.  Retail price for a 2-Liter: $1.29-$179, depending on the market.  Sale: 4/$5.00 or, better 10/$10.00.  They’re all lined up by the basement stairs like little soldiers. 

6) Bonbel cheese circles

I don’t understand how these can taste so good.  I always enjoyed the novelty of the wax wrapping.  In high school, I used to pull the opening strip all the way off, and make a Pac-man of the remaining portion of the circle.  Then, we cruel children would mash up the wax and squish it into the cracks of the table for the underpaid cafeteria workers to pry out.  Because, you know, they’re getting paid for it.  It’s their job.  The same justification applied throughout college, when, past the point of hunger, we’d make impressionist masterpieces on our plates for the dishwashers to enjoy.  Cheese circles, good for lunches, good for snacks, good for cramming into small crevices of tables.  Retail price $3.49 for a package of 6 circles.  Stock up at 2/$5.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this foray into my fridge.  I’d love to know what your staples are, your stock-up items.  Not really, but it would be interesting at the least.  I think groceries are a window into the soul.  Like the guy behind me in line who had his items sorted by food group.  It was mostly bread-based products and huge cuts of red meat, but he lined up the veggies in their quadrant of the conveyor belt, too.  Or the lady in front of me, who bought 3 bags of premium chocolate chips, 3 boxes of cereal, and a box of strawberries.  What’s she making?  Chocolate strawberry O’s?

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