08/11/2021 The Walking Dead…well, sorta

Have you ever just felt really out of sync? The kind of out of sync where you wake up in the morning with a start and just feel hazy and all Jack Sparrow for the next few hours? And when you finally shake that fog, you’re just plain exhausted?

Yeah. It’s like that.

Can’t put my finger on why. I thought it was because we’ve been binge-watching The Walking Dead. I’m not having nightmares or anything, but sometimes feel like I’m channeling the biters, ya know? Just going through the motions, getting from day to day with no real agenda. No purpose.

Best I can guess, they only need to eat and they’re pretty undiscerning in their diet. It just needs to be fresh meat. After that, it can be good, bad, or ugly. Doesn’t matter. And that’s been my diet since this pandemic madness set in.

It started by ordering delivery from the grocery store. Try as they might, the Instacart people just don’t make the substitutions I would make if it were me. They have an algorithm. And if you can remember the “early” days, the store shelves were empty. Who knew there would be such a run on shelf-stable goods like pasta, soup, and toilet paper? (OMG, the survivors in TWD knew!) So being creative and spontaneous, while staying safe, was just plain tough.

And on June 15th, when everything opened back up, we headed back to the grocery store. It was overwhelming to the point of panic attacks for me. I mean, the “Mom, breathe in this bag”, kind of panic attacks. I made smart choices for a while, but then opted for the quick and probably not so good for me meals. I just wanted to get in and out (not to be confused with In-N-Out, though that is always an option in my neighborhood).

And then there was the whole thing about overbuying so you had it on hand. Because you’re going to be good. You’re going to cook everyday. You have great plans. And then…

You don’t.

I learned this lesson while I was in school a few years back. I would work all day, come home, get to working on my studies, and look at the clock and it would be 8 PM and I hadn’t thought about dinner. Everything was frozen and I had finished up the breakfast bars or sandwich bread, and the perishables in the refrigerator had, well, perished.

So I started using meal kits delivered to the front door. Perfectly portioned meals for 2. No waste. Just had to prepare the meal. I tried a few different services. They all had drawbacks. (No, this is not going to be a review of each service I tried, and it’s not an endorsement, paid or otherwise, for the subscription of my choice.) But for someone, like me, who needs a sustainable plan, (and as we look towards another lockdown or two,) this works.

I used those services for 4 years solid, and then another couple years, on and off. Saved my bacon, they did. No planning necessary, other than to choose which meals you want delivered. And no need to have anything in the cupboards, save for olive oil and cooking spray and the occasional roll of tin foil (which we have plenty of around here, being catastrophic thinkers, and all, not to mention donning the occasional tin foil hat when things are going sideways in the world).

I learned a few new things about cooking along the way. New techniques, a few hacks. Enjoyed the entire process. Mom would be proud. Later, I tried to recycle those recipes, but making a grocery list, going to the store, and managing the “leftover” ingredients was a hassle and wasteful. Yes, the meals are a little pricey. But if you factor in the time and waste from leftover ingredients, it equals out. At least for me.

So Home Chef is where I landed. I restarted it this week. Not great timing, as The Kid is out of town so, you guessed it, I have leftovers everyday. No worries there, though. I’m giving them to the neighbor kid. Kid? He’s 30, but everything is relative, I guess.

Now, meal kit delivery services do not come without their problems. But if you can stay cool, and flexible, something I’ve had to relearn over and over again (thank you 12-Steps!), it’s well worth it.

So, for now, I’m back to cooking real meals with a minimum of fuss. No panic attacks at the grocery store. No making grocery lists and freaking out with the inevitable substitutions. Just plan the menu, pay, and unpack it when it arrives. Oh, and prepare the meal of course!

And I’ve also been back with Daily Harvest for breakfast and lunch. Again, pricey, but convenient, and this is much more healthy than grabbing a dozen donuts from Trejo’s Coffee & Donuts and munching on that for breakfast. Don’t judge. You know what I’m talking about! Some of them have cereal or bacon on top! Breakfast, see?

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