After years, decades of feeding teenagers and/or extra mouths at mealtimes, as of August 2021, I’m left with cooking for just my husband and I. How in the world do you slam on the brakes about food? How many habits are ingrained into my culinary system regarding shopping and preparation? So much to learn.
· Make the freezer your new best friend
Organization was never a strong suite. I was never the woman who cooked all day Sunday and had prepared meals for the rest of the week. Or created large batches and froze ahead. I looked in my freezer and saw a couple of two-pound packages of hamburger. Good grief, they looked huge, like frozen turkeys huge. Before one package made a meatloaf or casserole for a meal and I never worried about leftovers for long. Maybe squeezed an extra lunch or so from it, but not often. I’m learning to use a lotta Ziploc baggies and Sharpies. I may be late to the party of freezing, but here I am, ready and willing.
· Online grocery shopping
Whether pre-pandemic or post, using an online grocery service is a great way for empty nesters to minimize the number of groceries purchased and teach better control of impulse buying. Make a list of what perishables and produce will or could be consumed during the week. Check the pantry and freezer and adjust your list accordingly.
Many familiar stores today have their websites set up to order online and pick up in a designated area and a scheduled date and time. Many also offer home delivery, usually at an additional cost. Keep in mind what is the price of your time and transportation? I am finding I am sitting in front of the computer more often. For years, my only form of consistent exercise was pushing a shopping cart up and down the aisles of the local supermarket. Heaviest days were during sales of Diet Coke. You can burn quite a few calories lugging a pyramid of 12 packs. We’re not coffee drinkers, our form of caffeine comes in muscle-creating packages. By shopping online, I maybe not be using up calories, but my wallet is much happier.
I’m breaking the subject of cooking for two into segments, as it is one of the largest areas of noticeable change once you have an empty nest. It’s a learning curve. I’ll share the adventures and angsts with you.