Larry and I went to P’burgh yesterday to have lunch at Cassie, Matt, and g-baby Claire’s house. Before we left I prepared a big salad for myself since everyone else was having grilled tuna. I’d bought what I thought was romaine a few days before, but when I grabbed it out of the crisper yesterday I saw the twist-tie was marked “escarole.”
Now when I say "big salad," I mean BIG as in "eat it from a 2-quart Purex bowl"-sized salad. That’s a lotta greens, my friends. And while I like escarole, I don’t love it, and certainly not in mass quantities. But I was in a hurry to see the family and didn’t want to waste time running to the grocery store to buy a bag of something else, so I made the big salad with the escarole and we were off.
I should have gone to the store.
It’s a good thing I had a new crown put on a few weeks ago. Chewing down that much escarole takes some solid choppers, that’s for darn sure. And talk about bitter. Yowza. I also had a tummy ache on the way home that I'm blaming on the bitter greens. Yeah, I’m pretty much turned off of escarole for a few months.
Bitter comes in different forms, though, and right now I’m quite turned on to Belgian endive, particularly roasted. Cut off the ends, take off any wilted outer leaves, cut into quarters, put on a baking sheet sprayed with Pam, throw a little pepper and garlic powder on it, spray it with Pam, and throw it in a 375-degree oven for about 15-20 minutes, flipping it halfway through, and you’ll have yourself one mighty fine veggie.
Of course no store around here sells Belgian endive, so we stopped at a grocery store in P’burgh on the way home yesterday to pick some up. That and Fage. And fennel. And string beans. The laundry list of items I can’t find in Podunkville never seems to end. I’m not alone, though. We ran into friends of ours from P’dunkville at the same shopping mall. They were hitting the same stores as we always do – Giant Eagle, Barnes & Noble and of course, the “state store,” the only place sanctioned to sell booze in this silly state. Like us, our friends keep a cooler in the trunk of their car. Glad to know I’m not the only store hopper in western PA. Maybe I should change careers and become a personal grocery shopper…hmmmm….
Anyway, back at the grocery store, I used the self-checkout, and when I got to the endive, I looked for it in the product finder. Nothing under “B” for Belgian, so I tried “E” for endive. It listed regular endive, but not Belgian endive. Regular endive was $2.49 a pound, but I knew the Belgian kind was $4.99 a pound. But there were no Belgians in that computer, so I asked an employee for assistance.
“I can’t find Belgian endive on here,” I said.
“Honey, it don’t matter what country it’s from! Endive is endive,” she laughed. She selected the regular endive and sent my half-price Belgian endive down the belt. I should have corrected her and said it was $4.99 a pound, but I didn’t. She’d walked away, it was busy, people were waiting…Still, I should have said something. Has this ever happened to you?
Food as Solace?
The grocery store is like a lab for human psychology. I sometimes speculate about someone’s mood based on what’s in their cart. I’m not talking about being a snooty b-word who polices shopping carts for Pepsi and frozen tequitos. I’m talking about a cart of comfort and solace.
For instance, a young woman standing in line ahead of me last week held a basket filled with a quart of cherry ice cream, a bottle of Dr. Pepper, two Cadbury eggs, a pack of bubble gum and generic cigarettes. There was something sad about her, like maybe she’d lost her job or broke up with her boyfriend. When she took out her food stamps debit card to pay for her purchase, she seemed overly nice to the cashier, like she was afraid of being judged for buying junk food with food stamps. Maybe this wasn’t the case at all. And whether she was or was not, it made me wonder how many people are turning to food for solace in this bad economy?
I’ve discussed here on occasion my own solace of food. But there’s solace and then there’s tradition
It’s the week before Easter which means….a week of marshmallow bunnies, my annual squishy little treat.
Ever since I began my weight-loss journey in 2005, I’ve bought a six-pack of bunnies the week before Easter and eat one almost every day until Easter. Is it just me or are the bunnies getting smaller and the packaging bigger? I’m thinking yes. The little bunny takes up 2/3 the space of the wrapper and it’s not as easy to get three bites out of my sweet little treats anymore. But I did. In the WalMart parking lot at 10 a.m. this morning. One down. Five to go.
I’m the non-candy Grammy, but this year I might break tradition and share a marshmallow bunny with Claire. Don’t tell her, but her “basket” this year is a kid-sized wheelbarrow that I’m stuffing with sidewalk chalk, bubbles and a bubble wand shaped like Mickey Mouse, a “talking” Elmo book about potty training, and a squeaky little stuffed chick. I’ve got until Thursday when I see her next to think about the marshmallow bunny.
I’m Almost Done!
Wow…that’s an awful lot of jumping, story-telling and speculation for one blog. Sorry about that. But that’s how my mind works sometimes. I can be thinking about escarole and endive one minute and the next be wondering if more people than before are drowning their sorrows in quarts of cherry ice cream and whether I’ll share a marshmallow bunny with my grandkid or not. I’m also thinking I should call the store and explain the endive thing or at least stop by customer service when I’m there next. The only thing I’ve ever stolen (on purpose) in my life was a tampon – one tampon out of a box of 20 – from a convenient store when I was 16 and my friend was in dire need and we had no money. Not an excuse, I know, but just letting you know how I roll.
So…do you have any grocery store/food/marshmallow bunny stories you’d like to share? Or am I the only speculatively nutty food lady out there?