Opinion: Food for thought


I’ve missed doing a number of things this year. I used to love going to the movies with my wife, going out to dinner with my wife and going food shopping without my wife. She’s meticulous about what she buys and spends more time squeezing a melon than I spend choosing a new car. When I did grocery shopping with her, she judged my choices. Whatever I snuck into in the cart, she’d notice at the check-out, and I’d hear one of three things:

  • You’ll never eat that. We threw away the last two bags. Return that to the shelf, please.
  • If you buy that horrible snack, you’ll just eat the whole thing and hate yourself. Let’s put that back in the candy section.
  • There’s been a jar of that in the fridge for a year. Please, take it back.

I would have to go around the store, trying to find where things belong. The employees busted me.

“Hi, Mr. Wolfsie. Doing a little reverse shopping again today?” one of them said. “Not to be critical, but last week, we saw you cram some Pop-Tarts on top of the energy bars. We found a dozen glazed doughnuts stuck in between the everything-bagels and the 7-grain bread.  Please don’t confuse the other husbands who are lucky enough to be shopping alone.”

Mary Ellen is now doing all her food buying online due to the pandemic, and I’ve been forbidden to enter stores. This has drastically cut down on my intake of frozen pizza, Ben & Jerry’s and barbeque potato chips. I watch “Sesame Street” just to see someone eating a cookie.

I asked Mary Ellen if I could do the grocery ordering yesterday, so I could be of some help in this weekly chore.

“OK, but please order exactly what I tell you,” she said. “We’ve been eating much healthier lately because you’re not tempted with impulse buying.”

Mary Ellen then shouted her list from the bathroom while she was drying her hair. I sat at the keyboard entering the selections online.

Later in the day, I picked up the order.Mary Ellen was not happy.

“Let’s see. I said macaroni, you got bologna,” she said. “I asked for guacamole, you got cannoli. We needed noodles, you bought strudel. In the morning, there will be no coffee but plenty of toffee. Finally, dinner tonight will not be low-fat turkey, but a bag of beef jerky.”

I told her I didn’t do this on purpose, that I had simply forgotten to put in my hearing aids, and I must have misunderstood her.

“OK, but at least you got the organic broccoli, just as I requested,” she said. “Did you order it because it’s so nutritious?”

“No, because it doesn’t rhyme with anything.”