Things are getting weird thanks to the latest mandate: wear face masks in public especially when quarantine shopping.
Being overly compliant I went to the grocery store looking like a Howard Hughes impersonator wearing Rubbermaid dishwashing gloves, a plastic poncho and a DYI bandana “surgical mask” that made me look like I was going to hold up the cashier at gunpoint. But what’s weird is everyone else shopping at Safeway looked like their version of a germaphobe Howard Hughes.
Is this what the Rapture looks like? Or is this some Pandemic Central Casting audition call? Where am I?
I remembered: I’m at Safeway to add to my stock of pandemic food supplies so I can survive the recession/depression/apocalypse. Ever vigilant I’m armed with a semi-automatic spray bottle of homemade 1:10 Bleach:H2O solution in case the store’s sanitizer dispenser is empty or MIA and I need to scrub down my cart.
This is my second major grocery shop since Covid-19 so I’m prepared. My pandemic pantry is filled with responsible food choices with expiration dates well into the next century. Today’s pandemic shopping mission is two-fold:
(1) Practice glove protocol (so as not to create “cross contamination”). I’m wearing one hand gloved, one hand bare while trying to remember which hand touched what to keep it kosher, and
(2) Stock up on the foods I’ve been craving like crazy (hint: not last night’s immune-boosting supper of grilled cauliflower steaks, brown rice and dahl).
The stress and uncertainty of COVID-19 has me dreaming of stuff I haven’t eaten since I was high in high-school:
I’m over carrot salad, oat-milk kale smoothies, hard-boiled eggs and rye-crisp with unsalted almond butter. If I’m gonna survive the stress/insanity of hourly news cycles toggling between a reassuring promise of a Rebounding Recession and the inevitability of The Next Great Depression I’m gonna need to stock my pantry with some heart-popping sweet stuff and lots of blood-pressure defying salty crispy treats like NOW.
Wheeling my cart down aisles I’d normally avoid like the plague, but since we are in the middle of one it feels practically self-nurturing to fill my cart with forbidden foods. I toss in some
Sour Cream & Onion Pringles!
In the cereal aisle my eye’s drawn to a two-for-one sale on Sugar Smack Cereal (does it come with a plastic IV for a full spectrum sugar rush?). I resist the impulse to mainline breakfast and grab two-for-one boxes of “healthy” “organic” honey granola with chocolate chips and banana flakes.
I pass on the supersized jar of Marshmallow Fluffer-Nutter but grab a box of power bars figuring I’m going need to power thru the apocalypse somehow. We all know stuff like double-fudge ginger-icing Cliff Bars bars are basically candy-bars for couch-athletes but it’s fun to eat a peanut-butter and jelly chocolate-glazed power bar pretending it’s way healthier than scarfing a Snickers.
For good measure I toss in a bag of Planters Sweet and Salty Trail Mix for the long hikes I won’t be taking during quarantine and start to feel good about my growing pandemic junk food stash. Some Pirate’s Booty, a can of Spray Cheez and some Ghirardelli’s semi-sweet chocolate chips (for heart health) make the final cut.
Heading over to produce for a few token green things, I look at my pandemic shopping cart ... and wonder ... will all this junk calm, nurture or satiate me?
Or will the pleasure like a bad lover be over in a nano-second?
Maybe it’d be a good idea to put some or most of my pandemic junk food back? Do I really need two boxes of granola when granola is nothing more than a virtue-signaling deconstructed cookie? (Experiencing a moral dilemma while wearing a surgical mask in Safeway feels very sci-fi sit-com dystopian.)
Will these tempting megadoses of sugar and salt calm my anxiety for more than a munch? And what’s the source of all this stomach-churning uncertainty?
I promise to figure it out ... in next week’s Part II of Pandemic Shopping Cart. In the meantime I’d like your input.
Let me know in comments: Do you have a pandemic junk food stash? Or is it mostly healthy foods? Or a mix? What foods do you crave while COVID-19 fills too many dance cards?
Women Write Funny. Blog 102: Pandemic Shopping Cart Part 2
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