The I-Hate-to-Grocery-Shop Cure

by Anne Bennett on July 15, 2010

You say you hate to schlep to the store several times a week to buy fresh vegetables, boneless, skinless chicken breasts and skim milk. It’s such an inconvenient, repetitive chore, and today’s supermarkets are sterile, cavernous warehouses with literally miles of aisles to traverse, on foot no less.

And then when you get home, what do you have? Raw food that you have to cook! Another affront to your limited free time. And don’t you just hate to touch raw chicken?

Chicken breast, bone-in, skin and feathers on

OK. Reality check time. You knew it was coming, didn’t you?

A mere two hundred years ago, if you wanted chicken for dinner, here is what you had to do. You had to go outside and catch this bird and wring its neck. Then you had to “dress” it, a euphemism for all the disgusting things butchers do to dead birds before they shrink-wrap them for the aforementioned twenty-first century superstores.

Cooking the chicken involved another whole laundry list of chores: cutting firewood in the forest, lugging it home and chopping it into logs, setting a fire in the kitchen fireplace, threading the chicken onto the rotisserie, if you had one, or putting it in a big hanging iron pot over the open fire and boiling it with vegetables while you relaxed and…wait, who’s kidding here, there’s no relaxing!

Produce department, circe 1750

Another pesky chore has entered the picture. The vegetable garden. You had to have one of those as well, and to my knowledge there were no gardeners back then. You were on your own with the planting, hoeing, weeding, harvesting, canning tasks.

And when it  comes to the canning, we have to start all over again with the firewood and the chopping and the fireplace and the boiling. Yada, yada, yada.

It’s no coincidence that the only creature who’s reclining in this picture is the dog, further proof that dogs are smarter than we give them credit for.

It may seem trite to compare food preparation from 200 years ago with today, but I think there’s an important lesson here. We’ve come a long way in a relatively short time; perhaps we haven’t actually stopped to consider how much better we have it now.

I’ve thought about this a lot lately, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I would much rather go to the supermarket and buy my chicken (already dead and wrapped in plastic) than to have to wring its neck in the back yard.

If you continue to complain about having to grocery shop, you’re going to sound like a whiner. Whining is for poodles, not people.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Lin July 15, 2010 at 12:30 pm

and don’t forget you had to haul the water from the well….I’m so greatful to live in the 21st!

amy July 16, 2010 at 6:01 am

HAHAHAHAHAHAHHHAA!!!! I love it. I too am grateful to live in the 21st century because I get to read this hilarious blog.

Michael Boyd July 16, 2010 at 12:18 pm

I hate it when you are right. Or when I am thinking wrong and you point it out.
Very good thoughts and you’ve reminded us to be mindful about our good fortune when it comes to our food.
Keep it coming–I am wrong about lots of things.

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