What’s for dinner?
You see us in the grocery store all the time. We’re the ones in a daze, pondering a question as old as time. The query itself is fairly innocent, but has probably been the catalyst for more epic wars than any squabble over land, politics or religion in history. No matter the answer, the wise inquirer should respond with, “Great – that’s my favorite!” Any other response might send someone like us directly into battle mode, particularly if we’ve just fought a monster-truck for a parking space, survived an apple avalanche in the produce department, chipped ice off our eyelashes in the frozen-food section, stood behind a customer with 56 coupons, and hauled 17 bags into the house in our quest for dinner.
Long gone are the days when the hunter/gatherer cavemen took off for the hinterlands to search for game, then dragged wooly mammoth parts home for the cave ladies to whip up into a nice stew – which, by the way, never failed to bring rave reviews from the ravenous clan. Rarely was a Neanderthal homemaker vexed by a recently upright-walking spouse or small, hairy child, whining, “Wooly Mammoth, AGAIN?” or “Jeez, I was hoping for brontosaurus tonight.”
Like me, you have probably spent countless hours on Pinterest; saving recipes you will never actually make, because you forget to write down the recipe, and in some stores there is no communication possible with the outside world. Or, you prepare what you think is a new and exciting dish, only to discover that three members of your family do not like (insert any vegetable here), became vegan yesterday, or invited a last-minute, lactose intolerant guest.
Leftovers? Surely, you jest. I’m thinking that it might be time to park the grocery cart, and let the broccoli fall where it may; to let all the hunters and gatherers that aren’t out beating the bushes for mastodons, or willing to take their turn stirring the pot, simply take it or leave it. My sister cave-dwellers had the right idea: go with what you have a lot of. Anyone not on Team Wooly Mammoth goes hungry. You get what you get and you don’t pitch a fit.
So should we eat out instead? Though one would think that option might solve the problem, it simply leads to the second-most battle-worthy question: “Where shall we eat dinner?” Turns out, the invention of the wheel was not always a good thing, and in the interest of public safety, the restaurant issue is best addressed before the car leaves the driveway.
It’s a quandary that probably won’t be solved until we can someday just press a button and have our food magically appear – a concept that may be closer than we think. Until then, you can look for me aimlessly wandering the produce department of the grocery store, with a stalk of celery, a banana, and no clue as to what’s for dinner. See you there!