Alison Berkley Margo: The Princess’s Palate
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado
“What, are you pouting just because we’re broke-ass honkeys?” Ryan asked as we drove home from Costco the other day.
My stomach rumbled with all the free samples the people with hairnets and rubber gloves gave us in those little plastic cups: the Chinese chicken salad and the quinoa and the Annie’s organic soup and the yogurt smoothie and the chipotle corn crusted halibut and the pasta with organic marinara sauce. Name another occasion where you might chase down a whole-wheat blueberry pancake with chicken dumplings. I dare you.
And we totally fell for it. Rather than creating a list of things we actually needed, or considering whether two people who live in a 620-square-foot, one-bedroom condo with no storage really need a 3-foot-tall bag of paper towels, we just meandered around the towering aisles with our Cadillac-size shopping cart, pulling things off the shelf that seemed appealing.
On the drive home, I turned down the radio and put my head in my hands.
“I mean, what are we going to do with all this crap?” I said. “What can we even make for dinner tonight – potatoes and rice with spaghetti sauce? I’m really curious to see just how long 75 rolls of toilet paper and 45 gallons of Tide will last us.”
“It’s going to take us all night to unload the car,” I said, putting my feet up on the dash.
“We probably should have just bought that 20-pound bag of rice and that’s it. And maybe a few other things we really needed,” Ryan said.
“And why would we need a 20-pound bag of rice? If we lived in the middle of the jungle like my brother did and had no grocery stores nearby, maybe. But I don’t even eat carbs!” I knew it was a straight-up lie, but I said it anyway. “Anyway, I’m so sure I definitely needed that 3-pound bag of dried cherries.”
That made Ryan laugh. “Yeah, and I just had to buy that 10-pound box of bull penises for George.”
“You bought George bull penises? They don’t really call it that, do they?”
“No, I call it that.”
We played this little game all the way to Glenwood. “I’m just glad we have enough chicken breasts to last us the rest of our lives. Like, if there was some kind of major disaster, we’d be totally set in terms of lean protein,” I said.
“Even if we had no electricity, we could survive on that 3-pound bag of raw almonds for at least a week.”
“Don’t forget the six boxes of rice crackers we got. We could survive and be gluten free.”
Not to mention bulk is never a good idea for someone like me who is constantly trying to battle the bulk, the bulge or whatever you want to call it. When I lived alone, I finally figured out how to lose weight. It’s called “not buying any food” so even when you are hungry, there is nothing to eat.
My fridge was bare but for a drawer full of raw vegetables and some coconut water. If I really wanted a special treat, I’d cook up some of the powdered miso soup in my pantry and add some of the veggies to that. If I was still hungry, I’d either go to yoga, drink coffee or smoke a cigarette. I lost 25 pounds and was down to a size 2. I kept the weight off for, like, over a month, so don’t even tell me that doesn’t work because it does. And yes, I kept some cut-up cantaloupe on hand for those nights I came home wasted. Of course I was going to slip and fall off the wagon! I knew that, and I was prepared.
Now our refrigerator has a 10-pound block of pepper jack cheese, not to mention other various items of man food that were there before this horrific shopping trip, like hot dogs and mayonnaise, which you know isn’t mine because Jews hate mayo and we hate deviled eggs, too. Just so you know.
I’m actually really glad we bought that 5-pound bag of trail mix. Instead of counting calories, I can just count how many pounds of food I ate.
The worst part was I knew we’d have to pay cash even though Ryan insisted they now accept credit cards. I was dumb enough to go to the ladies room as he was going through the checkout line, and of course I ran into someone from Aspen on my way out of the rest room.
“I better get back out there and make sure my husband uses the right credit card,” I said, excusing myself.
By the time I walked up to the checkout line, Ryan had already paid and was standing there holding the receipt with this cat-who-ate-the-canary look on his face.
“They wouldn’t accept Visa, so I used the joint-account debit card,” he said, shrugging his shoulders.
“How much was it?” I wasn’t sure I even wanted to know. “Three hundred and 27 dollars? That’s more than we even had in that account!” As soon as we were out the door, I was madly transferring money around on my iPhone, trying to spare us any more overdraft charges.
Of course Ryan managed to turn our little financial crisis into a comedy routine, and by the time we got to Glenwood, my column was already done.
“I’m just not sure what we’re going to do with 3 gallons of marinara sauce. Can you put marinara sauce on rice or potatoes?” he asked.
“I guess, but you’d want to eat some vegetables with it, at least.”
“In that case, we better stop in El Jebel so we can go to the store and buy what we need on the way home.”
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