Against the grain

Posted August 4th, 2010 by Penny Wise

Aug 4, 2010

I'm in shock! Now do be honest and tell me if you think I am overreacting with regard to this small matter. I mean, in the big scheme of things it is absolutely miniscule I know, but to me it really goes against the grain. I think I've mentioned before that Noel has been chief grocery shopper for some time now. It makes sense as he is always on the road and can take advantage of wherever the best specials are. On the whole he does a wonderful job and I'm extremely grateful to him as it saves me a lot of time and hassle. However nothing could have prepared me for his most recent visit!

I unpacked the groceries as usual on his return home and was gobsmacked to find two jars of Chicken Tonight amongst the shopping. 'Eek, what's this?' I asked, genuinely horrified. 'They were on super special so I got two!' Noel said proudly. 'But - but we don't EAT this stuff!' I protested, trying not to sound too ungrateful. 'Look, I just felt like it, alright? If you don't like it you can do the bloody grocery shopping yourself!' he bristled. I knew when to shut up and said no more but I was still mortified. No doubt you're wondering 'What on earth is she making such a fuss about a couple of jars for?' I know, I know, it's hardly the end of the world but to me it represented the complete opposite of what I had spent the last five years taking a stand against. You see, back in my Sad Sally days we ate like that all the time. We lived off jars of Chicken Tonight, Kantong and Dolmio sauce and it never occurred to me that there was a way to make my favourite dishes such as Chilli con Carne and Honey Mustard Chicken from scratch.

It was only when I stumbled upon Simple Savings that it opened my eyes to real cooking, using real food and that was the very first change I made. I vowed I would never feed my family out of a jar again and I never have; not once in the last five years. For someone who picks up and drops so many new habits as the mood takes her, this is one I have stuck to religiously and have never wavered, or even thought about wavering. I have prided myself on being able to make everything myself. I did try explaining this to Noel but he still couldn't see what the big deal was. However, where he saw a quick, yummy, creamy dinner, all I saw was 'ARTIFICIAL' slapped across the front of the jar. I said no more on the matter but decided we would have to eat it the very next day. There was no way I was going to leave that fake stuff sitting in my pantry for everyone to see!

So I got some chicken out of the freezer the next morning and apologised profusely to it for intending to cover it in what looked like mushroom flecked wallpaper paste. I then forgot about it until later and got on with my day. Unfortunately that afternoon I was taken ill with a bladder infection and had no choice but to curl up in bed for the rest of the day. 'Don't worry, I'll take care of dinner for you!' Noel said cheerfully. 'Did you have anything planned?' 'Chicken Tonight', I told him, wrinkling my nose in disdain. 'Oh, you didn't have to use it already!' he said. 'Oh yes I did!' I replied. Still, wallpaper paste or not, as it turns out on this occasion I was immensely grateful that Noel didn't have to go to a lot of trouble to cook dinner on my behalf. I'm not going to lie, it did taste horribly artificial compared to the creamy mashed potatoes and green veges which accompanied it but I survived! And another bonus (if you can call it a bonus) was that Liam, who detests mushrooms more than any other food on the planet, didn't recognise the dark flecks as mushrooms and ate the whole lot! One thing's for certain though - the next time we have chicken in mushroom sauce it will be made entirely from scratch, by yours truly!

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