2020.03.16

As Canada creeps closer to an official quarantine, I’m thinking about how to feed myself over the next few weeks. My freezer is well-stocked, though my pantry and fridge are bare. (My fridge is regular-sized, but it always feels empty to feed me, a single person.)

I love grocery shopping. I love cooking and baking, but also the eating, too. Growing up in a working-class family, I ate a lot of peanut butter sandwich lunch and ground beef dinners. My mom believed in sitting together as a family for dinner, as well as putting me and my brothers to work in the kitchen. Today, the three of us are all the primary cooks in our households (even though my household is only me).

Grocery shopping is fun, and I stop into my local store often, sometimes just browsing the aisles for something new. That something new for me is Lucky Charms or Chef Boyardee, the kinds of things my mom would never buy for us, no matter how much my brothers and I would beg. Last week, my treat for myself was a jar of Ovaltine. It’s more than $7, and it never goes on sale.

As a kid with my allowance, I loved buying sesame snaps from the school shop. From the corner store, I loved the five cent gummies and frozen chocolate malteds. That’s where my love of malt came from. A hot dog shop, no longer at the Surrey Place mall, was a popular stop when my mom, brothers, and I were out, and they did a soft serve chocolate malt I adored. I miss that place.

The Ovaltine I bought was original flavour–no chocolate was available. I’ve been mixing it in with my coffee some mornings. The other day, I had a glass with just cold soy milk. To me, it tastes like childhood.

More and more these days, that’s the feeling I want: childhood.

I’m heading out in a few hours to teach three classes. I’ll definitely be stopping in at the grocery store on my way home. I need milk, and maybe tuna, but I don’t yet know what this week’s treat will be. I won’t know until I’m browsing the aisles.

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