Wednesday, January 23, 2008

If I Were In Charge Of Food

I hate food shopping. I think I choose boyfriends based on their ability to food shop, and so far I've been lucky. They've all loved to do it except for The Doctor Howard, who had housekeepers do it. When you're born you should automatically be assigned a housekeeper who food shops. I seriously think this was an oversight on God's part and I don't understand why I'm not in charge of things like this. Believe me, no one would take my name in vain.

I should have taken a camera with me this morning so someone could have snapped a photo of me lying in the aisle crying.

The problem is that I get bored eating the same foods over and over. One week I'll want German food and will eat sauerkraut, potatoes and black forest ham. Then I'm on to spicy shrimp sushi without so much as a backwards glance at German Week. I've been around the food track a zillion times and I keep landing back on START, because maybe you didn't know this but they do not invent new food. Ever.


I can lay part of the problem squarely on the shoulders of my mother. (Who else?) Going to Europe every summer since I was 5, my sister and I were dropped into a lot of homes where people cooked food we'd never eaten before. Our mother explained that it's considered the height of rudeness to turn down food, especially since in many countries, they may not have a lot of money or resources and if we were in a village in Africa we were going to eat that gazelle OR ELSE. And when your mother says OR ELSE, well, you know what that means. Although based on our obesity rate, I don't think Americans turn down a lot of food. Anywhere.

As I got older I traveled more and ate fabulous exotic foods and was glad that my mother had opened me up to a level of sophistication I wouldn't have found just swapping Twinkies with classmates in Junior High.

Once my sister and I were in Marrakesh and were guests of a Moroccan emir. We were told in advance to honor the eating customs of the country because the host was part of the King's entourage. As brave as I am, I didn't know if I was up to eating something I didn't recognize that might still be alive and crunchy. We sat on the floor with the others and an enormous couscous in a huge wooden bowl was brought out. My sister and I looked for our silverware while everyone else used their right-hand fingers to eat, as is the custom in many cultures. We did the same.

My sister deviated from this plan one year because she had given up meat. So she brought a huge Chilean sea bass to her then boyfriend's house for dinner. On Thanksgiving. His parents had cooked a huge turkey and were insulted by my sister's gesture and the guy broke up with her two days later. One year I gave up dairy food (not realizing cheese and ice cream were in this category) and some old friends I hadn't seen in a while threw me a cocktail party and served French cheeses in honor of my background. I ate the cheese. They didn't break up with me. I went back to eating dairy food.

So this morning I was standing in aisle One million D wondering what I hadn't eaten in a long time and waiting for my eyebrows to fall off my face. One hair at a time.

And then it came to me. Scungilli.

End of chat.


  1. I recommend a good white wine with your Scungilli. Maybe a chardonnay. That would be nice.

  2. Why is it not appropriate to throw ourselves down and cry wherever we want? For that matter, why can't we just lie down on the ground and take a nap wherever and whenever we want?
    What is Scungilli? Will it go with Pinot Grigio also?

  3. Jay, I don't drink but back when I did, I was not a fan of white wine.

    gm, scungilli is conch. And you should ask Jay if the Pinot goes with it. And yes, we should all be allowed to throw ourselves down and cry WHENEVER WE WANT. Ditto the nap.

  4. Anonymous3:32 PM

    Well I love food shopping almost as much as eating. They opened the largest Safeway in Hawaii last November, and we were there on a Satursday night. So many older couples were there on "dates." It was fabulous. Now we're getting our first Whole Foods in March. I am so psyched. Oh and do you pronouce your scungilli as "konk" or "conch?" In the Cayman Islands it was "konk." But here it's a "conch" shell.

  5. mj, I pronounce it 'konk' but I know it's also pronounced conch.

  6. I love food. I love every kind I can get my hands on. The wierder the better. If I were to make a list of what I don't like, it would only have like 6 things on it. And right now, I can't even think of one.

  7. I go to grocery stores for entertainment and stress relief. I especially like the produce section, but ethnic foods is interesting and I like the meat counter. I hated shopping when I was raising children. I often wish I had married a man who would grocery shop.

  8. Don't get a personal food shopper. Look what happened when Mary-Kate Olsen's food shopper took her job too far and didn't just go food shopping for Mary-Kate but starting eating for her, too.

  9. Pom Not5:43 PM

    Since my husband doesn't 'work' he loves to go to the grocery store to shop and run into people and gossip. He also keeps buying Worcestershire Sauce and microwavable mashed potatoes which are piling up. Did you know you can make a yummy trifle using Twinkies? I also saw a Twinkie wedding cake! Bon Appetit!

  10. boxersgalore7:31 PM

    I can relate to this post more than most... I'd rather eat dog poop (With special spices of course) or take a beating (with a soft silk whip) than to go to the damn grocery store... I Hate buying food. I know we need food to survive but what the hell, you have to go to the store, try to decide what you want to eat for the week, choke at the rising prices at the check out, have to spend precious time cooking only to have to waste more time flushing it all down the toilet. I hate it and I'm with you girl, I feel your pain!!

  11. We gleefully stuffed ourselves with conch in the Bahamas last year; I think we ate it every day. Its one of those things that still tastes good even after you've seen it naked.
    I live in Redneck Heaven, so, no conch for me now! But I've been wanting kicky ginger-based marinades and lean beef. I think I shall seek out the green onions and marinade something.

  12. I honestly didn't mind going to the grocery mega store when I lived in SB. Ralphs, Trader Joe... they all carry booze! Yay!

    In TN, your hardpressed to find cold beer in the store and are banished straight to hell for even thinking wine or Jack should be sold there.