Grocery Shopping, a refresher course

For the past year, my partner* JD has been a truck driver. He worked for a company that had him on the road across the country, sending him home once a month for unpaid leave. It was tough, but we both adjusted to the separation.

Now, he works for a company that’s a little more local. He drives in a four state area, and he’s home once a week for his required down time; truckers have to take a 34-hour break once a week, legally. It’s been great having him home this past month for those breaks, but then again…

I’ve discovered that I need to relearn how to grocery shop. For a year, I’ve been buying foods I’m interested in (from vegetarian goodies during my various experiments to random Asian items I tried for shits-and-giggles). I’ve made sure there was food in the house for normal people, but it was mostly for me and my weird dietary diversions.

JD has been a little frustrated with the lack of “normal food” options, though. There’s no lunch meat, no quick-and-easy meal items he can nuke in the microwave. My diet of removing preservatives and eating only antibiotic-free (grassfed, blah blah blah) meats has meant that JD, against his will, is eating healthier with me. We had to sit down and talk, because I’d promised I wasn’t making him change his diet back when I went vegetarian for a month.

We’ve cleared the misunderstandings and frustrations; JD is fine with my smaller shifts in food choices, as long as we can find substitutions for items he’s used to (like grab’n’go foods, snacks, etc.).

It’s time. Time to relearn shopping for more than just me.

I have an app called Out of Milk. It’s a grocery list application that’s really useful so far, and it’s hopefully going to help me get used to shopping for everyone again. I told JD to text me anytime he thinks of something he’d like to eat; I can add it (or the ingredients to make it) to my grocery list, and we can move on from there.

The hardest thing is meal planning. It’s simple to toss together lunch ideas the night before I need them, or cook a small dinner for one when I’m the only person home. But with JD home more often, I need to re-adjust to making food plans. Traditional foods like spaghetti and roasted chicken with mashed potatoes will probably play a large part in my planning; however, I need to learn some things from scratch (like making dumplings for chicken and dumpling soup this week… I’ve always used refridgerator biscuits for the dumplings, but they’re FULL of bad stuff).

Let’s hope I learn quickly. This grocery shopping refresher course is on top of learning to budget with a smaller income (while saving mine to the side and pretending it doesn’t exist). We’ll see how well I pick things up again.

*Note: I use the word partner in this entry. JD is a man, and I’m a woman. We’re not married, so he’s not my husband. I hate calling him my fiance when we have no intent to formalize our relationship in a marriage. And boyfriend sounds like we’re teenagers. Lover sounds scandalous. Mate, unfortunately, just makes me think he’s my friend from down under. So all in all, I decided that partner would be the best term to describe a man I share my life with.

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