Beth Beggs
Beth Beggs
This afternoon, I bought groceries … seriously bought groceries … for the first time in over a month.

I realized the necessity of this excursion when the vacuum caused by the opening of the refrigerator door sucked the fast food wrappers off the bar and into the refrigerator. Whoosh! Before I knew it, my long empty milk carton was wrapped in a foot-long tuna melt wrapper, the egg carton was piled with French fry boxes, and straws and their paper sleeves littered the pathway between the bar and the vegetable bins.

It is after all, time to do some spring cleaning, so I decided to suck out the debris, throw away the moldy take-home boxes with their shriveled chicken strips and decoupage-ketchup. I threw away an eggnog carton from last December, and a slab of petrified cheese that came home from my daughter’s at Thanksgiving. It was time. Three dead lemons, a brown cauliflower, and a rubber carrot had died for the “good diet” cause in the bottom drawer. It seems I buy these items even when I know I won’t have time to cook them, just in case Dr. Oz happens by.

There are some simple rules that even Martha Stewart doesn’t know. You see, she has little people following her around, dating the boxes, rotating the vegetation, and keeping everything safe. So, to those who don’t live like Martha, here are a few tips.

Some foods don’t appear to be bad … but they are. Take the lid off the pickle jar. It may look good from the side, but if the top pickles are pink and growing hair … pitch it. Milk cartons that slosh slowly probably need to be pitched before smelling them. Grated cheese which has a mixture of brown slices is probably not good for the top layer of the casserole. Maybe mixed with a lot of peppers and some sturdy mushrooms on a lower level … but probably not.

Moreover, you should throw away cereal boxes and muffin mixes which your grandmother gave you as a wedding gift. Remember, she had probably had those boxes a long time and knew she and grandpa would never eat them … and she may not have approved of your choice of a spouse.

When the cleaning is done, then it’s time to make a list and go to the store. Today, I broke all of the rules for grocery shopping. I was tired and recovering from a bout of lung problems, but I was hungry and knew I needed sustenance. Don’t go tired. Don’t go sick. Don’t go hungry. Always take a list. I was too tired after cleaning to make a list. I was sure I’d remember what I needed. I needed everything.

But, everything didn’t look good. I got some grapes (which looked cool and sweet). I bought the usual bread, milk, eggs, and some cheese. That’s always on the list. It’s always good to buy some wieners, some bacon and some apples and oranges (remember Dr. Oz). I bought two cans of green beans. My mother always bought green beans. When I got home, I added them to the other 20 cans I’ve amassed over the last year with hopes of eating more vegetables. Those were some pretty good buys. I needed them.

The rest of the bill of groceries was not so well thought out. My throat was dry, so I bought some strawberry sorbet (expensive, but without the milk that might clog up my breather … excuse number 753). I got some chewy chocolate chip cookies so as to not cause coughing. I got some pudding, some fudge bars and a frozen pizza for protein.

I’m pretty sure that as I get to feeling better, and reality hits, I may need to go back to the store, but for now, I’m cool and I’m full … enough said.