Sometimes the place I feel the most foreign in this world is the grocery store. I want so badly to be fluent in the language of taste, but instead I stand there looking at 86 different kinds of rice thinking "What the fuck is 'Basmati'?" I cook no-frills, and hence I eat like a hostage. Some days, I like to pretend this is part of some great existentialst suffering, like I have too much on my plate to care what the broccoli tastes like - "People are dying, man!" But in reality, its simply an acknowledgement that I have waaaaaay too many Monkees songs to track down to really give that much thought to what I'm putting in my body.
I've eaten badly for just about as long as I've been cooking for myself. One of these days, I'm going to start renting young children to put in my grocery cart so that when people look down at my purchases, I can just point at him/her and shake my head, laughing, as if to say, "Lady, do you really think I 'm buying all these little Gatorades for myself? And who but a child would buy two boxes of Bacon Better Cheddars when they're not even on sale? And the Fruit Gushers?! Fuckin' kids today!" Then I'll make a big show of asking my rented child why he really needs all three boxes of Cinnamon and Brown Sugar Pop-Tarts.
But I have gotten alot better over the years. I remember the first time I successfully made an omelet that didn't look like it had already been half-digested - I was so proud of myself, you would have thought I cracked the fucking Rosetta Stone. I almost didn't want to eat it. For Christmas this year, I dropped $40 of grandmom's hard-earned money on a Bible-sized vegetarian cookbook, with the goal being to learn how to make two new dishes per week without making myself sick. I cracked it open just long enough to learn that "real" scrambled eggs are supposed to take 25 minutes to cook, and that I'd have to forfeit valuable spatula space to build a spice collection big enough to cook anything the proper way (and I have some primo spatulas, my friend). Needless to say, it quickly became entombed on the top of my dresser, beneath my St. Jude candle and the Christmas card my mom sent me from the dogs.
So for now, my cooking advancements are measured in inches. Why, just yesterday I discovered that if you use cinnamon toast to make fried peanut-butter-and-banana sandwiches, its pretty bad-ass. But don't use rye bread unless its just one of those weeks.
Save that shit for grilled cheese.