Our usual weekend grocery shopping strategy failed us this weekend. We aim to take advantage of early rising children and get to Trader joe's before the mob, but this weekend we had to call out a plumber to fix the U bend under the kitchen sink, which decided to crack open and leak everywhere. The repair took quite some time, so it was afternoon before we headed out to get groceries. Parking at Trader Joes was impossible, backed up cars in all the aisles, parking directors blowing whistles and waving ineffectually as we joined the sea of frustrated Prius drivers. (I love our Prius, but it is not exactly an original choice of car in San Francisco, several times I have accidentally tried to get into somebody else's parked car). So we surrendered, and went instead to "Whole paycheck" (I mean Whole foods Market) to do the weekly grocery shop.
Now, when I was in the UK and in South Africa over the holidays I noticed that the prepared babyfood one can buy at the grocery store is far superior to what I can get here in the US. The typical jar food is available too, but high street grocery stores also sell fresh and frozen organic prepared baby food, just like homemade, in all sorts of delicious varieties (yes I tasted it!). They also sell organic, healthy premade frozen kids meals too, something I have been hard pressed to find in our stores.
I'm afraid I have succumbed to the convenience of this type of meal on busy evenings. But every time I buy them, I feel the judging eyes of the other mothers. I find myself at the check out with geekygirl excitedly clutching her carefully chosen box of "elmo's mac n cheese with gummy worms" (instructions: "remove gummy worms from package before microwaving on high for 3 minutes"), when I would see at the next aisle a fellow mother, also shopping on the way home from the office with an adorable toddler and a baby, buying organic cauliflower, 5 pounds of potatoes and a line caught salmon and I would feel like hiding behind my Us Weekly magazine in shame.
I do plenty of cooking for the kids, but with lives like ours, having something yummy stowed in the freezer is a necessity that I have no shame about. So inspired by the choices I'd seen in the UK, I scoured Whole Foods, and sure enough they do offer a limited line of frozen organic baby food, and also healthy gummy worm free toddler meals, so I stocked up. I do wish that more afordable stores like Trader Joes, or Safeway would jump on this market though, I think there would be a desire for it, just as there is in the UK.
Merchants of the USA, you are falling behind in the convenience food arena, I challenge you to shape up; there are lazy parents out here who want to feel good about throwing something in the microwave to feed our children!