I remember reading, at some point in my college career, that after World War II when women went from doing the male jobs in factories back into the home, they were quite frustrated that their only intellectual activity involved making a grocery list. The author was implying that making a grocery list was a mindless task and these women were used to so much more intellectual stimulation. I am not going to get into post- WWII feminism issues, but for some reason that disdain of the grocery list has always stuck with me. I remember it to this day.
I understand what the author was getting at, but always felt the the grocery list was a bad example of what he/she was trying to portray. I have always made grocery lists. My parents insisted that we know how to cook when we left home so that we could live by ourselves and function basically. I always liked to bake, but it wasn’t until I got my first apartment my senior year of college that I really began to appreciate being able to cook. My roommate at the time wasn’t much of cook. Although now she is quite a good cook and I like to take some credit for that! I hadn’t ever realized until that point that people couldn’t cook, it seemed just something that you did. As a part of that, there was always a grocery list. I have never been one of those cooks who can go to the store, buy a bunch of things and then come home and make a week’s worth of meals out of it (or in college make a big batch of something, freeze it and eat it for the next week). I required a menu and then a grocery list to be made of the necessary ingredients from that menu.
As I got older and the cooking got more involved, the work required to structure a healthy and interesting menu for the week became more and more complicated. It has reached a pinnacle as of late because I am at home with Walter and I am rarely happy to eat the same thing twice in a month. The list becomes further complicated by wanting to buy things that are in season at our local farmer’s market and then the rest of the ingredients from Whole Foods. Making a menu and the accompanying list takes a good chunk of time for me each week. Alex even buys me stickers for each season or holiday to festoon my weekly list. The cards themselves are made out of leftover card stock from my sister Juli’s wedding program (and ours before that). So this grocery list means a lot to me. It means that my family will have tasty, nutritious things to eat each week and that I will have some cooking adventures. So to the author that made light of grocery lists in that long ago college textbook – you don’t have any idea what the true art of a grocery list is!