Of all the household duties that need my attention the three I like least are emptying the dishwasher (I don’t mind loading it), taking out the trash and grocery shopping. I’ll go weeks, months, without stepping foot in one of those large chain grocery stores; I’ll make frequent trips to the local, small, independent shop for the necessary items – produce, milk, yogurt, eggs, bread. Meals are not fancy around here.
When I got home from work last night I wanted to go out for a run. It was dry and breezy, thunderstorms were expected later in the evening, a perfect night for outdoor exercise. After changing into capris and running shoes I made a quick sweep through the kitchen, wondered what I could throw together when I got back. The pickings were slim in the cupboards, 1/2 box of ziti, cereal, protein powder, peanut butter and jelly, black beans, pinto beans, cannellini beans. Besides the usual condiments, mustard, ketchup, maple syrup, the refrigerator’s shelves were lacking even the basics. I ate my last egg for dinner Thursday and Bill sent me home Sunday night with enough milk for my morning oatmeal. The odds of making myself dinner were stacked against me.
Peering into the freezer I spotted a plastic container with the last of the ratatouille my sister made me a few weeks ago. Next to that was a bag of frozen shrimp. I dumped some shrimp into a bowl of cold water, left the ratatouille on the counter to thaw and went out for a five-mile run through my neighborhood. The closer I got to home the more I thought about dinner.
Done with my run, I walked the backyard, sweat dripping from my hairline and neck, cooled down. I checked the progress of my little garden and pots of lettuce and herbs, watered everything and went in to make dinner. I boiled the pasta, heated up the ratatouille in a small saucepan, added shrimp in the last minutes. I plucked some oregano and cilantro from my garden and, when my meal was ready, sprinkled it with the chopped herbs. It was perfect. And there was enough left over for lunch today. Unless I can get creative with a can of beans and very little else that may have been my last meal until I get myself to a store.
After dinner, I loaded my dishes into the dishwasher and turned it on. I wonder when I’ll get around to unloading it.