June 20th

theresa albert - my friend in food


Grocery Getaway


When I had a toddler and an infant at home, any break from them was a welcome one;   it was an opportunity to do things which required the use of both hands.  It was a chance to remember what it was like to have my arms free and my thoughts turning to something other than hyper-vigilance (ACK!  Where IS the toddler now?!).   Being a mother of young children is like being on a stake-out; you have to keep your eyes and ears open at all times and that alone can be exhausting.

That’s where grocery shopping came in.   My husband would come home from work, I would tell him we were all out of milk and I would ask him to watch the children in my absence.   Three HOURS later, I’d be back.   “What did you do for all that time, hon?”, he would ask.   “Shop”, I glibly answered and I was not lying.   I’m certain he thought I’d gone off to a bar or something.

There’s an art to having a relaxing vacation in the grocery store.   First, you have to choose a large one; one of those superstores with a cafe, a health-food section and a “movator”  (so you can stand behind your cart and do nothing for 5 minutes as it climbs the ramp… aaaaahhhhh!).   Next, make sure you have a good cart; no wobbly wheels ‘cause this baby is your RV for next few hours.   Hopefully the store has some good overhead music you can groove to as you bop up and down the aisles (hey, you’re multitasking because you’re getting some exercise!).

Now, start by picking up the store flyer and systematically checking what’s on sale as compared to what your family needs  (Tripe is half off?  Why not.).   This is best done while sitting in the cafe with a latte and a biscotti.   Next, browse the produce, smelling, inspecting and squeezing each selection as if it were a fine gem before bagging it.

After that it’s just a matter of doing a lot of comparison shopping.   Read ingredients and nutrition labels (contributing to your education, of course); compare prices based on unit costs (using a calculator can be fun!).   Organize the items in your cart by size, weight or genre… take your time, make it aesthetically pleasing!

If there’s a sampling table, you’re in luck… appetizers!   See how many times you can change your look each time you pass so you can score more snacks and coupons.   Check your watch… not ready to go home yet?   Take some time to neaten up the store shelves; I’m sure they’ll appreciate it and you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment.

Finally, choose the longest check out line and enjoy the “complimentary” magazines for browsing so you can catch up on the latest trends, celebrity gossip and fad diets.  Leaf through The Enquirer to see if extra-terrestrials really have landed in Topeka and are now controlling the World Bank.  Oh, most importantly… don’t forget the milk!



Ilana Waldston is the mother of two teenage girls who keeps sane by singing. A graduate of the prestigious International Cabaret Conference at Yale, she’s been delighting Toronto audiences with her comedic patter and well-honed ability to sell a song. She’s a self-professed foodie, loves to bake, travel and dine (often all at once) who sometimes sings of food in songs such as “My Diet Starts Tomorrow”, “Dieter’s Prayer” and “Foodblooz”. In addition to her solo work, she’s also a part of Toronto’s only female jazz quartet, The Satin Dolls... www.jazznlaughs.ca


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