2018-03-09 / Commentary

Don’t skimp on the shrimp

I’m just saying...
Julia Rogers Hook

This past weekend, my husband Marty decided he wanted to make one of his signature dishes, Beaufort Stew. For the uninitiated, Beaufort Stew, also called Frogmore Stew and Low Country Boil, consists of shrimp, potatoes, corn, onions, sausage, and sometimes crab legs. It’s all cooked together with special spices and seasoning, and it’s delicious! I, of course, don’t have a clue how to do it, so when Marty wants to make one, it’s always a treat!

He even shops for the ingredients because he doesn’t trust me to pick out the best shrimp after I once mistakenly bought those teeny little “salad shrimp” instead of the ones in their shells. In my defense, the list simply said “shrimp” and did NOT specify size or what they were supposed to be wearing!

At any rate, since he was going to the store anyway, I asked him if he could “pick up a few things” for me. Now…shopping is NOT Marty’s favorite thing and when I ask him to “stop at the store” it can be alarming for him. Ever since an unfortunate incident where I asked him to pick up some of those plug-In air freshener refills around the holidays and he got the wrong kind, he’s been a tad skittish about shopping with my lists.

I had asked for a special brand of the air freshener and a special style as all of the companies make their plugs differently. Some have slide in fresheners, and there are several different types of the liquid kinds which of course, are never interchangeable. But it was the holidays, and I was going for a theme, and my theme called for spiced apples and cinnamon. I wrote it all down for him, I described it in detail and even tore off a piece of the box to be helpful.

He got the wrong ones.

I didn’t take it well.

“HOW could you get the wrong ones,” I squawked. “You SAID air freshener, and I GOT air freshener!” He was firm. “But I asked you to get the OTHER brand!” I was equally unwavering.

“Julia, you asked for apples and cinnamon… you’ve GOT apples and cinnamon. WHAT is the PROBLEM?”

That little drama ended with my going to the store and either buying new dispensers or exchanging the air fresheners. It’s been so long I can’t remember, but from that day on, Marty has avoided shopping for me as much as possible.

When I asked him to “pick up a few things” for me this weekend, he still looked apprehensive. He checked the list several times and made little marks beside certain items.

“What are those marks for?” I was curious.

“Those are the ones I’m taking pictures of,” he said while aiming his camera phone into the refrigerator and snapping away.

“Pictures?” I was a little baffled. “What are you taking pictures of?”

“Coffee cream, mineral water, and deli meats,” he replied checking his phone to make sure he had the correct shots.

“Seriously Marty? Now what is so hard about a bottle of coffee creamer, mineral water, and some sliced chicken?”

“What’s so HARD about it? Nothing is HARD about it Julia…but you always want a certain KIND of each of these things, and far be it from ME to keep you from having the kind you WANT! So I’m taking pictures of ALL of them to make sure I get the RIGHT ones.”

It was obvious he was still bitter about the air fresheners.

“Now Marty…”

“Oh nooooo…..don’t ‘now Marty’ me…you NEVER just want ‘coffee creamer.’ Oh no…not you…you want a certain brand and a certain flavor of the coffee creamer… caramel macchiato is what you want. NOT caramel…oh nooo….caramel MACCHIATO with the little picture of the frothy coffee on the front and caramel dribbled over it….that’s what YOU want.”

He was right. That was exactly what I wanted. I was proud of him.

“Okay...I get it…I do. But mineral water is mineral water and chicken…”

“Do NOT even GO there,” he interrupted me. “There are at least half a dozen kinds of mineral waters, and that’s not including the soda water which is the same thing but noooo….you want a specific brand, and you DO NOT want it in glass bottles…you want the recyclable plastic bottles. And no flavored ones…nope…no flavors for my Julia! Plain and in the green plastic bottles. That’s you!”

After all these years, he was learning. I was delighted my years of tutelage was paying off.

“Oh honey…” I was gushing. “That’s so sweet you remember all that! You’re the BEST!” I embraced him and planted a kiss on his cheek. “You know what kind of deli chicken I want, right?”

“Yep…I took a picture of the package. It won’t be a problem.”

“Ok then…have fun. I love you!” I wanted to reinforce our love in case he got frustrated at the store.

“I love you too,” he said as he grabbed his keys and walked out. “While I’m there, I’m going to take pictures of everything that goes into Beaufort Stew so next time, YOU can do the shopping. And maybe THEN you’ll get the RIGHT shrimp.”

I love that man but he sure can hold a grudge.

I’m just saying.

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