It looks like lockdown has turned me into a 1950s housewife. So what’s wrong with a 1950s housewife? Nothing of course, if that’s what you want to be…..
Now that I’m able to get regular on line deliveries with relative ease during lockdown, I find I’m totally obsessing, hunched over the lap-top, trying to decide what we need, forgetting what we need, logging back in and adding what we need, logging out, logging back in because I forgot to order foodbank stuff, logging off, logging back in cos I think…yes, I’m right…I ordered the wrong kind of chicken. Our fridge has become germanically (is it OK to say that?) efficient and food use is streamlined – I find recipes that suit what I have in the fridge, nothing goes to waste. The health and well-being of the ‘family’ is of paramount importance and I feel guilty if we don’t have something available for our 3 meals a day…or if husband is just skulking around hungrily. So 1950s…
I have assumed this role. The health, well-being and smooth-running of the household is an important but often side-lined thing…trouble is, it’s not entirely me. Or if it is, then I have to find a way to do it in a less obsessive manner. I watch the contents of the fridge and store cupboard like a hawk and insist that any item which has run out is chalked-up on the door of the fridge. In fact this isn’t quite right…I insist it’s chalked-up when the penultimate item is used up…so we never actually run out. Germanic…or maybe just manic. I’m guessing this obsession is very much related to having a bit too much time to… obsess. It’s not that there aren’t other things to do…there really are. But this has assumed paramount importance…for the (lockdown) time being. Things are getting serious tho…I just made my own shortcrust pastry.
You know when you’re standing in the queue at the supermarket and you look at the shopping of the person in front and make comments in your head about their food choices? What….you don’t do that? You mean you don’t think…’why didn’t they buy the loose apples..look at all that plastic/all those biscuits/all that horrible non-free-range chicken/salt-filled ready-made meals/litres of alcohol?’ OK….it’s just me then. I know I’m wrong when I’m doing this…cos my own shopping probably looks pretty appalling – not least because, (unbeknownst to the person behind me), I have a veg box delivered – which means my supermarket shop contains very few vegetables. At the weekend, we had our Sainsburys delivery…and immediately I knew 2 things were missing (how could I possibly know my shopping list so well?)…so I checked the list/receipt that came with the delivery….except this list was not ours. I read the list….most of which I repeat here…
- chocolate digestive biscuits
- TV times magazine
- smoked haddock fillets
- white granulated sugar
- carrots, potatoes, parsnips, celery
- anchor butter
- coffee cake
- almond slices
- 3 loaves of sliced white bread
- ‘Nice’ biscuits
- tinned chicken casserole
- tinned beef casserole
- tinned peach slices in syrup.
(Incidently, I didn’t want the numbers in this list, but the new wordpress editor gave them to me anyway)
We like tinned peach slices in syrup…which we occasionally have as a nostalgic dessert. From her list, I’m as certain as I can be of this lady’s age, ‘class’, race, economic standing and possibly even her size!! Of course I could be wrong….but her first name, Daphne, (which was on another piece of paper) somewhat supports my guesswork. I am just fascinated by what we can tell from a shopping list….and maybe that’s why we stare at each other’s shopping in the queue. I’m even more fascinated by why we are so keen to gather information and make judgements about other people and their shopping…why do we do that?
The weather in London has been glorious, but we are now starting to get tired of ‘holiday mode’…and we can hear our neighbours getting that way too (that’s terraced housing for you). Lockdown is easing, and we will be more likely to go into shops, appropriately be-masked…so maybe a sly look at someone’s shopping basket is as much as we’re going to know about them until we can see each other smile again.