Welcome to Top 5 Fun Friday, a regularly-occurring blog feature where I give you a list of pointless shit from my life no one asked for. Why? It’s Friday and it’s fun! This week’s list…
Top 5 Things Always on my Grocery List
I love grocery stores. I always have. They’re just such weird places when you think about them for too long and/or if you’ve recently traveled overseas and compared how they shop to the way we do. You shouldn’t be able to buy that many different types of things all in the same trip so easily. It feels impossible, yet it’s probably the type of place we’ve all spent more time in as a consumer than anywhere else. It’s thoroughly mundane, but totally insane. Insane in the mundane! Insane in the ‘dane!
As a kid, I loved when people would come in from out of town and I’d mention how we needed to go to the King Soopers, and they’d always be like, “King Soopers? That’s what the grocery store is called?!” And it wasn’t until that happened the first time that I thought about just how fucking strange that name really is. “Sooper” is spelled all wrong, and isn’t possessive which means this King is actually last named “Soopers” which is so goddamn weird. Probably once a year I have to Google the name and remember the origin story of it, so here it is. for all of you dying to know. Basically, it’s a combo of the founder’s name Lloyd King and a reference to Archie comics. See? Totally normal!
Why didn’t you just shop at Safeway? You’re probably not asking yourself, but I’m going to answer anyway. My parents were brand loyal to King Soopers, and for whatever reason when I was a kid I took their brand loyalty way too seriously to the point that I viewed rival brands as enemy brands. I also thought the guy on the Kingsford charcoal bag was a drawing of my dad for the longest time. Kids are fucking stupid.
Anyway, I love the grocery store. And like everyone, I have stuff that I feel like I need to buy every trip. This has become exponentially more true since having kids, but since this is my list, I’m going to ignore all the yogurt tubes and string cheeses and pretzels and applesauce in favor of my own self-indulgence. Away we go!
Aw hell yeah, peanut butter. JIF peanut butter, to be exact. They’ve perfected the flavor in my humble opinion, so you can keep your artisan hipster peanut butter to yourself, thank you. Also, many of those dumb pretentious peanut butters you have to store in the fridge and then the oil floats to the top and it’s impossible to spread and it’s a goddamn nightmare hellscape scene that I don’t care to traffic in. I want my peanut butter mass produced and put in a jar with a fire engine red lid. #Merica #ChoosyJonsChooseJif
I’d probably eat this every day (and nearly do), but frequently I’m an idiot who tries to do keto and then gets board of eating like that after a few days and find myself just licking peanut butter off the knife like a Labrador Retriever. When my kids were born, I said to my wife that they can be literally anything they want and I will support them. But if they have a goddamn peanut allergy, we may have to get a second apartment so I can go and eat it in peace. Put it on crackers. Put it on toast. Put it on an Oreo when you’re ridiculously stoned and float three feet off the ground with how delicious that is. Put it on just about anything. Just give me some. I’ll pick you up your own jar because damned if I’m sharing, and I probably need more anyway.
Yep! Sure enough, I need more peanut butter.
When I die of obesity because I simply couldn’t give a fuck anymore, no need to figure out how it happened. The culprits were craft beer and tortilla chips. The call was coming from inside the house all along!
I’m not exactly sure when I started putting tortilla chips on such a high pedestal, but it was definitely in adulthood, almost certainly right around the time I reached my fat shit apex of 225 lbs in 2012 which prompted me to do Weight Watchers and lose 40 lbs. over the subsequent 8+ months. I’ve yo-yo’d somewhere between 172 and 205 since then, which is somehow even less fun than it sounds.
Besides booze, my weakness is Mexican food. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, so if I’m going full fat kid, you can bet your ass I’m getting some damn Mexican food. Enchiladas, tacos, chile rellenos, green chile, fuckin’ give it all to me! And you can bet your ass I want 6 lbs. of tortilla chips with it. Queso, salsa, guac… just don’t skimp on the chips.
I like the chips restaurants make in house and serve warm in a little basket. I also like garbage ass Tostitos or Mission brand served in that weird brown paper bag with a plastic window. I met the guy who founded Elevation Ketchup here in town, and I asked him what he puts their bitchin’ Vindaloo flavored ketchup on. He’s like, “If I’m being honest, I’m probably just at home dipping tortilla chips in it.” I still regret not making immediate friends with this man so we could hang out eating tortilla chips and ketchup together like a pair of disgusting mongrels.
I don’t drink coffee. I have enough anxiety and personal drive that when I wake up in the morning, I don’t need coffee to get me going, just a big glass of water. Hydration is the secret to life and Denver water is goddamn delicious. Caffeine in general makes me feel like my skeleton is going to leap out of my body and run away like a chattering meth addict. I don’t have a hard time going up, I have a hard time coming down. That’s why #weed.
And no, I don’t buy coffee creamer just so I can take shots of it in the morning like I’m Christian Bale trying to gain weight for a movie role or something. My wife drinks a bunch of coffee, and after living with her for 13 years now, I love being in the milieu of coffee. The coffee smells great, and the creamer shockingly sometimes smells even better. Mostly she buys vanilla flavor, but will occasionally mix in caramel or something like it. It’s sweet, rich, and like a shot of pureed birthday cake. Approximately four times a year I’ll get a bug up my ass to drink coffee, and it’s usually just shitty diner coffee that I drink black because I’m an insane person and I like the bitterness. Probably reminds me of smoking cigarettes, which I’ve been completely free of for more than 10 months now, a decision I’m both intensely proud of and that I deeply regret.
Anyway, I gotta try and remember to drink the coffee here when I get that bug up my ass next time. See what I’ve been missing after buying this shit all these years.
Reduced fat Mexican blend shredded cheese
So, I’ve done this goofy diet three times, the details of which I’m not going to bore you with. But in a nutshell, you eat their weird, expensive astronaut food 5 times a day, and cook yourself one “lean and green” meal. It’s highly restrictive, puts you in a state of ketosis and you SHED pounds like you’re vying for the UFC Middleweight Title. One benefit is that it allows you to eat a lot of cheese, and the generic brand reduced fat Mexican blend shredded cheese is very versatile!
I developed such an affinity for it that I buy it even when I’m not doing this ridiculous diet. Put it on a burrito. Put it on a turkey wrap. Grab a pinch while you’re cooking dinner and shove it in your maw as a little amuse bouche for your trashy self. Combine it with some of the tortilla chips above and whatever else you have hanging out in your fridge, pop it in the microwave and enjoy some shitty nachos. You literally cannot go wrong with a bag of cheap, shredded cheese blend in your fridge.
I made a podcast series for the company that invented the custom coupons you get at the grocery store with your receipt when you check out. While there’s a lot about the finished product we produced that I’d like to change, one thing I remember fondly is talking to all the data scientists they have working for them. I learned a lot about consumer behavior, CPG marketing, grocery store layout, customer retention, and big data than I ever could have imagined.
And one term that always sticks with me is “brand promiscuous.” As you’ve probably guessed, that means you’re not loyal to any single brand in a given category and just buy whatever. That applies to me and sparkling water, which I drink a shitload of. In the last three months, I’ve bought LaCroix, Bubly, AHA, generic Kroger brand, Simple Truth, and who knows how many others. I’m down at the sparkling water docks in my sluttiest outfit just waiting for the container ships to come in, ready to put whichever brand is cheapest into my willing gullet.
Yes, they have slightly different flavors from each other. No, I don’t give a shit about them as long as I don’t have to drink coconut, banana, or a handful of other fruit flavors I could really do without. I’ll just buy whatever’s on sale and sort it out at home. Some will get mixed with vodka or gin, some I’ll just drink as-is. Some, like the Kroger brand, are so sweet it’s almost like drinking health-disaster-real-soda, which is something I haven’t drank in nearly three years, so getting a light taste of that is fun again.
I like that Bubly and AHA come in those tall cans, but I’m a gulper not a sipper and consume VOLUME baby, so I need that can to be even bigger. I want like a PBR Tallboy of sparkling water. Or a 40! Fuck yeah! I know many of you picture that and think about it getting warm, but that won’t be a problem around here. I drink a shitload of water, and simply want to make less trips to the fridge for more. Just put some sparkling water in a bucket, and I’ll drink it like a goddamn donkey.
Notably absent from my list: Fruit. I hate fruit. Fuck fruit. If it weren’t for my kids, I’d never buy fruit except for whatever garnishes I need for cocktails ever again, and die happy.
What’s on your list for every trip to the grocery store? Feel free to drop it in the comments.