After listening to this story on NPR last week, I started to think more about our grocery lists.  What could Hillary Carlip, a Los Angeles-based performance artist who develops characters from discarded shopping lists, come up with based on ours?

There are the “regular” lists, typically scribbled on the back of envelopes or other scraps.  These are often written by both of us.  Adding items as we check recipes or remember something else we need.  Deleting items that we discover hiding in the pantry. We include notations regarding the need for containers for bulk items.  After the shopping trip the list will have the tare and plu of the bulk items jotted next to the item name.  If something on the list isn’t available at the co-op, or prohibitively expensive there, there’s a notation to signify we’ll get that item elsewhere.

That’s just the system.  What would she make of the list’s content?

Spam?  Where the hell does Spam fit on that list?!?  Would she think to attribute the Spam to the fact that my family is from Hawaii and my kids love spam musubi?

(Looks like we were making Thai noodle salad, biscuits and gravy and spam musubi that week.)

Then there are the lists I make to get the kids involved.

I started making cards to take shopping a few years ago.  Lizzie was just starting to read and Joshua wasn’t reading at all, but wanted to “help”.  I doodle some pictures on index cards and then divide them evenly between the two of them.  Must keep everything fair, you know.  It seems to help make the experience less frustrating for all involved when they have a job to do.

If I were smart, I would make a master set.  Ooo, I could laminate them, too!

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