feasting and snow

Grocery shopping two days before Thanksgiving can be classified as a bit of an adventure. Grocery shopping two days before Thanksgiving as a winter storm looms is flat out crazypants.

I’m fortunate that I’m not hosting the holiday; that falls to my sister-in-law and her husband. They supply the biggies: turkey, stuffing, potatoes, wine, lovely venue, boundless generosity of spirit. The rest of us bring assorted sides. As of last year, this fell into color category. It amused us all so that we’re continuing the tradition. My younger sis-in-law is in charge of orange. I’ve got green. My brother-in-law’s color is ‘pie,’ and my sweetie has chosen ‘cocktails.’ We’re flexible.

So. Back to shopping. Back to green. Brussels sprouts were specifically requested, and since I’m a fan, I am more than happy to comply. I’ve also planned my from-scratch green bean casserole and a salad of mixed greens, apples, walnuts, pomegranate, and shaved parmesan. Simple. Much of it can be done in advance. Monday, my regular main grocery day, was fairly painless. I picked up some of what I’d need: fresh green beans, apples, salad dressings*, and a container of Brussels sprouts for a test run of the recipe I want to use on Thanksgiving.

This morning, I returned. I needed sprouts for the actual day. I needed salad greens. What I really needed was a better finger on the pulse. Chaos had taken hold of my small town supermarket. Parking was fine, though driving through the lot was harrowing. Shopping carts were in scarce supply: none at either entrance, none in the return carrels. I hovered as a woman emptied hers, trying to look simultaneously pathetic and worthy. Seems to have worked. Once inside, I navigated a produce section choked with carts (so that’s where they all were) and people either stopped for casual conversation (talk later! Text them! Just move!) or fulfilling their lists, all focus on that bit of paper (if you walk into me as I’m trying to dodge, that’s on you. Work with me, y’all). From there, I made my way past the cooler cases, three deep with folks choosing their free turkey or roaster or ham. Pretty easy to sail on by, so long as I did all the swerving to avoid collisions. Down the baking aisle next, which also houses spices and kitchen wares. I’m not sure how long it took me to traverse that lane. It’s all sort of hazy. I do, however, now have walnuts, so apparently it was worth it. Parked my cart in the paper goods aisle so I could squeeze through the crowd at the milk case. I just needed a small container of heavy cream. Narrowly avoided an elbow to the face. Grabbed a multigrain baguette as I inched past the bakery area. I could have done without, but a storm is coming. There must be bread.

Made it through checkout with surprisingly little fuss. Donated my free turkey to the local food pantry. Loaded up my car and gave my empty cart to a pathetic-yet-worthy shopper, wished them godspeed, and was off. Once I got home and unloaded the lot, the fretting began. Did I have sufficient green beans? Surely two containers of Brussels sprouts would not be enough. And what about bread? Why did I not buy more bread? I don’t eat a lot of bread, but a storm is coming! A snow storm! Back to the store. Two more containers of sprouts. Maple syrup for my sweetie’s cocktails. Lip balm, because what if I were to run out?

I think I’m all set, that I have everything I need. Refraining from making one last trip tonight, ‘cause I have a sneaking suspicion that now I’m just panic shopping.

Going to take a deep breath, here. Tomorrow, I prep: chop, clean, cook, and package. I’ll probably also shovel, clean off cars, and haul firewood. It’s okay. I’m ready for the holiday and I’m ready for the storm. Even if I can’t handle this with grace and aplomb, I know that I’ll be just fine come Thursday afternoon. How? Two words: Cocktails. Pie.

*not making them from scratch this year. Grade me accordingly.
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