Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Lessons Learned: Dietary Improvement

I do not have a car, so I walk to and fro the grocery store. You might notice a slight preoccupation with the weight of foods.

1. Fuji apples are the best apples ever in the entire universe. Unfortunately, they are often placed next to Pink Lady apples, which they resemble on the outside. It is disappointing to bite into an apple expecting that Fresh Fuji Taste and getting an overly sweet kind of mushy Pink Lady. Don’t forget to squeeze the apples!

2. Fuji apples are very, very heavy. Much heavier than Chex Mix® or bon-bons, for example.

3. Mangoes are gross. I do not understand why people eat them.

4. Spaghetti squash is fun food. It looks just like spaghetti! In addition, you must work very, very hard to cut (hack) the squash in half to roast it, which provides additional satisfaction upon eating. A sharp carving knife is useful; a machete might be better.

5. Spaghetti squash just out of the oven is very, very hot. Forks are made of metal. Metal is a good conductor of heat.

6. It is a life-changing experience for a post-modern intellectual child of the Late Technocracy to purchase a root vegetable with mud on it. Mud! Beets really do come out of the ground!

7. Greek yogurt is like non-Greek yogurt, only thicker and tastier. A person cannot have too much pomegranate Greek yogurt. Straining non-Greek yogurt through cheesecloth to make Greek yogurt is a difficult and messy task; however, the yogurt has a pleasing, squishy texture, like fragrant Play-Doh®.

8. Beets are heavy. Bananas are heavy. Milk is heavy. Frozen anything is heavy, but particularly bison burgers.

9. Tofu and tofu-based products are ridiculously expensive. It’s just soybeans!

10. Fennel, which I have had around occasionally as a good-luck household herb, comes in a giant bulb that looks like garlic but with little green stalks growing out of the top. Who knew?

11. Selecting foodstuffs based on one’s reading habits can lead down dangerous paths. Chemoya (tropical fruit) is weird and difficult to maneuver, plantains taste funny and I have no idea how to select a good crop of broad (fava) beans. Madeleines are delicious, though.

12. Carrying food on one’s back in one’s backpack, plus two to three bags in one’s hands, encourages self-sufficiency. Sauerkraut usually comes in big glass jars. Extremely heavy. It’s just pickled, shredded cabbage? How hard can that be to make?

13. Directions on packages and in recipe books are not purely decorative. “Gently slide the scallops into the pan,” means that when the seasoned-with-salt scallops hit hot oil, a considerable excitement of molecules occurs.

14. People are impressed when you say, “I had pan-seared scallops last night, and a winter squash mousse garnished with cinnamon and I made it all!” Translation: tossed some scallops into a little oil in a pan, roasted a winter squash, burned fingers getting the meat out to put it in the blender, shook a little cinnamon on the top and had that for dinner.

15. Cilantro, one of the gods’ greatest inventions, comes in bunches of a size suitable for said gods. Or lumberjacks, if they were into it. Not so good for the rest of us.


  1. The wonderful thing about blogs is, you learn something interesting every day.

    Whatever do you have against mangoes? Once you've got through the hard part, which is cutting it up, it's delicious.

  2. I'm pleased you found at least one (1) thing interesting, vet.

    Oh, mangoes. I don't like the texture and they're too sweet. It's possible I had a bad mango experience, but in general, I favor non-tropical fruits--berries and apples--although I guess oranges might properly be considered tropical, now that I think about it.


  3. It's all interesting, Ruby. I just don't have time to treat the whole thing with the thoroughness it deserves...

    The huge-bunches-of-herbs thing? - that's something I've been quietly bristling about for years. It's the same here, and in the UK. You buy a bunch of (say) rosemary for a particular recipe, and you're pretty much stuck using it on every meal for a week. I can see why the Scarborough Fair Marketing Board approves of this, but I'm not so sure why our friends the supermarkets are so keen to play along.

  4. Mangoes are difficult. Personally, I like them dried, Philistine though I may be.

    Groceries are heavy, but congratulations on not owning an automobile. The products of Mr. Ford and his ilk have robbed me of many thousands of dollars in my long life, and damaged my ecological karma beyond repair.

    Have you looked into delivery? Safeway and some other stores offer this. I wouldn't like it for things I want to pick out carefully, like apples, but it might be nice for your monthly supply of sauerkraut and bison burgers. Jah.

    I'm hungry.

  5. I have nothing to offer that I didn't already say in my LJ-version reply, but I love reading the comments over here and just needed to pop on, offer up a willy-nilly wave of the hand and say, "Carry on." (Ha! Carry on. Get it?)

  6. Food is so fun to talk about.

    Eric, I'd like to say that my not owning a car is out of some deep commitment to ecological principles and whatnot but the fact is 1) I'm a horrible driver, too easily distracted and 2) car go too fast for Ruby to try to compensate for her poor sense of direction. Getting lost walking is fine and sort of fun; getting lost driving is weird and happens to quickly to be fun.

    I do get groceries delivered on occasion but am trying to avoid doing so to save cash. Plus, I feel sort of embarrassed that a relatively young and healthy person descended from sturdy Eastern European stock like myself can't act as her own pack mule from time to time.