Lisa Scottoline: Go ahead, prepare my dinner for me

FOOD COOKING-TWO 4 SL
Such prepared foods as tomato soup are fun. (But don’t take it too far.)

I’ve succumbed to the siren song of prepared foods.

Don’t tell Mother Mary.

I don’t know why this happened to me, but it did. Maybe because in the summertime, I find myself in the grocery store a million times a week, yet I never know what to make for dinner.

And then I happened to pass a counter that had dinner made for me. Corn was shucked, carrots were chopped into perfect circles, and zucchini was spiralized.

That’s a verb I didn’t even know until I saw spiralized zucchini glistening in the display case, where all of the foods were taken out of their natural containers, chopped, diced, sliced, and wrapped in plastic, already prepared for me.

I used to think this was a bad thing. But times change. And now I’m addicted.

I don’t even know how to cut anything anymore. I’m throwing away all my knives.

And spiralizers.

I don’t own one of those, but I’m going to buy one and throw it right out.

If you had told me that I would buy Brussels sprouts simply because someone else had already cut them in half for me, I would have thought you were crazy. But now I’m the crazy one.

They even have cauliflower minced into such tiny bits that it looks like rice, so they’re now changing vegetables into grains and probably back again. It’s gotten out of control, but I’m not complaining. All I do is pick up the plastic packet, drizzle the stuff with olive oil, and throw it in the oven.

I know, it sounds like a great dinner — for about a week. But then what started happening was that I was getting too lazy even for the foods that you had to drizzle with anything and throw in anything else, so I found myself sidling over to the case with prepared foods, which are displayed in hot or refrigerated bins, depending on your mood. Or temperature.

What a country.

So instead of buying groceries in the grocery store, I was buying complete meals: already-made Caesar salads, vegetarian dumplings, and even sushi. You haven’t lived until you’ve had grocery-store sushi.

Then I noticed my sushi section has something called power lunch, which is a salad with green beans, red and yellow peppers, quinoa, and Tataki salmon.

I don’t know what Tataki means. I’m guessing “overpriced.” Because when I got to the checkout counter, I realized I had bought two power lunches and together they cost almost $27. So I started to slow my roll.

Sushi roll, that is.

Still, I like everything about our new modern way of living, which is that other people live for you, and you just buy it and take it home. Cooking is a great pleasure and all that, but it’s nice to spread the pleasure around, don’t you think?

But it’s a slippery slope, friends.

Next thing you know, they’ll prepare my dinner, chew it for me, and regurgitate it into my open beak. I mean, mouth.

The only bad thing is when it comes to something like watermelon. I’m unhappy about the state of watermelons these days. I don’t know if it’s genetic modification or world domination, but somebody is messing with the watermelons to make them seedless. This isn’t progress.

Let me tell you something: I grew up eating watermelon and spitting the seeds everywhere. It was fun. I even had contests with my brother to see who could spit the seeds the farthest. I won.

I love to spit, and seeds give me an excuse.

Bottom line, seed-spitting is good, clean family time, and nobody should be taking the seeds out of watermelon. On the contrary, somebody should be figuring out how to put more seeds in watermelon. Think of all the fun we could have.

Who said you can’t play with your food? I can, if they let me.

So, to review, I’m of two minds, which is a fancy way of saying I can’t make up my one mind.

On the one hand, I love when everybody prepares food for me, even if it costs too much. On the other, I don’t like when somebody prepares the food so much that it ruins our fun.

It’s all food for thought.

Look for Lisa and Francesca’s new humor collection, “I Need a Lifeguard Everywhere But the Pool,” and Lisa’s new domestic thriller, “One Perfect Lie,” in stores now. Also, look for Lisa’s new Rosato & DiNunzio novel, “Exposed,” coming Aug. 15. lisa@scottoline.com.