Single-girl cooking was great. I could experiment with all kinds of funky, ethnic, vegan recipes and unknown, new ingredients and not have to entertain for a moment the worry "What if this doesn't turn out so well?" If it didn't taste so hot (which sometimes it didn't -- cue memory of tofu stir fry with lima beans -- GROSS), it was a bag of popcorn and a
Single-girl grocery shopping was a cinch.I knew how much food would last me how long, and usually I only had to go to the grocery store once a month! And how I loved those trips. I knew my local store like the back of my hand, and could quickly pick up all my staples, then wander around looking for deals, extras, and investigating weird Asian fruits. Ahhhh... my food life was so simple.
A week or so ago, Tanner and I made our first grocery outing as a married couple. I had shopped for groceries with Tanner many times before, but this time was different. I wasn't following him around while he picked out frozen pizzas and hot dogs while trying to persuade him to grab a banana or lettuce while he was at it. This time, we were shopping together for our household, and our bounty was supposed to feed the both of us and satisfy us (no lima bean disasters). Suddently, this confident, adventurous foodie was intimdated, big time.
The stores was arranged weird, I didn't know where anything was. Some of the staple items we needed (Santita's corn chips, hello!!) were totally unstocked. In fact, there were many gaping holes on the shelves (I'm guessing this is because we were shopping on a Sunday night?). I didn't come with a shopping list or any recipes in mind, which was no big deal for Super-Shopper-Single-Girl, but was suddenly crippling for Confused-Uncertain-Newlywed. For how many meals-for-two will this bag of frozen broccoli last? Should I get 2? How many protiens should I get? Will Tanner like tofu? Will we have any leftovers for me to take to lunch, or will hungry man eat eat all the extra servings?
Aside from being suddenly befuddled by all these new adjustments and the realization that cooking would never be the same, Tanner was inexplicably hyper that evening, which although very funny, was a little distracting to my yearning-to-figure-it-all-out-in-one-evening brain. I didn't think I'd be this way, but I think at the center of all my worrying, was this huge (unexpected) desire to please Tanner with my cooking and be viewed as a good homemaker in his eyes. I was insecure, "Will he like what I make? Will he be happy? Will I do a good job?"
So, on the verge of a nervous breakdown, instead of harboring my insecurities (I've slowly learned this is not such a great idea), I blurted my fear of marital and culinary failure to my hyper husband dancing down the canned vegetable aisle. In the grocery store and on the way home, Tanner calmed my fears. "This is supposed to be fun! We get to figure all this out by trial and error." Hmmm... I don't mind the trial part, but the error thing, I'm not so good with. I'm a perfectionist, remember! But you know what, Tanner was right (yep, he often is, funny enough). I don't need to figure all this out the first time around. AND, he assured me every meal doesn't have to be a gold-platter meal straight out of The Joy of Cooking. "I enjoy those nights too every once and a while, when you dine on chips and salsa or hot dogs and tortilla. I was a bachelor before I met you, remember???" OK, so I feel the (self-made) burden lightening.
So this perfectionista has been trying to lighten up and find the fun again in the kitchen. Tanner's not judinging me on a scale from 1-30 with 10 pts possible for use of the secret ingredient, 10 pts for plating, and 10 pts for taste. Some meals are gonna be great, and some aren't. Hey, there's always chips and salsa, and my man's OK with that.
As far as our first shopping trip, I think I did OK. I'm not sure I bought enough different vegetables, and I probably should have bought some more ready-made meals (frozen dinners or mac'n cheese) for those nights when I'm too tired to put together a major masterpiece. I should have gotten some smaller portions of different proteins for variety in addition of the bulk bag of chicken breasts. And, I'll just have to resign my self to the idea of follow-up trips in between shopping hauls for items like creamer or chips that we run out of.
If y'all have any tips for cooking for 2, or any grocery shopping strategies, let me know! In the meantime, we'll be figuring it out as we go. OH, and Tanner DOES like tofu :)