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A hill of beans and a pot of random [Jan. 4th, 2012|05:19 pm]
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So, it was lamb chops indeed for New Year’s Eve. Staying until the end of the day at work, and then adjourning next door for a couple of commiserative beers with two colleagues who also been stuck in the paddle-less boat all afternoon…well, it did help me reboot, but it did make me…feisty…by the time I got to Gourmet Grocery Store that waves the sustainable banner a little bit more than they deserve, negotiated the parking garage and then the thousand pretentious morons in the store who had also waited until the last minute to get their New Year’s Eve supplies. Although unlike most of them, I didn’t feel the need to bring an entourage with me, and was pretty laser-focused on my needs. I mean, okay, in a way I used to grocery shop professionally. Five plus years of working in one, and then, as a personal chef, beginning each job with provisioning at at least one, if not three, grocery stores, I shop more like a SWAT team member than a normal person. But with my internal editor stuffed under the driver’s seat like an old McDonald’s bag, and my bad attitude riding my shoulders like an irritable arboreal badger, how much tolerance, peace, love and understanding do you suppose I had for people obsessing over the merits of whether the hamburger meat is better to be grassfed or organic, since they were out of grassfed AND organic and while I can understand the mental debate, on the other hand, when you are the first of six people between me and the butcher and you are indulging yourself in this discussion on NEW YEAR’S EVE, and you’ve begun wringing your hands and whining that this is for YOUR CHILD, so this is very important, your child’s future HEALTH…

Well, can anyone fault me for saying “For crissakes, lady, there is NO discernable difference between the two, when it comes to your child’s future health. And the number of days since you sanitized your door knobs will have a far greater impact on your child’s health than one goddamn hamburger. Please stop wasting our time; it’s a holiday and we all have to get going.” ? Certainly my compatriots in line did not. She grabbed both packages and moved off to the side at least to continue her pointless internal debate, and when it was finally my turn, (I was only there because they had no pre-packaged rib chops) the butcher pulled a lamb rack, went in back and cut me four adorable little chops. I didn’t notice until I was at the register that well, let’s just say I didn’t pay a typical price for lamb. Yay for butcherly gratitude! If I hit the lottery tomorrow and never had to work again, I think I would hang out in stores and give unreasonable customers the expletive they’re asking for. I’d probably have to move often.

I’ve been freezing all day – the downside to having your desk right up against a desk to ceiling window in a building that was built with plenty of flashy marble, but cheapass windows. But I’ll deal, because being able to look outside is worth damn near any discomfort. I can wear fingerless gloves and get a heater. I just wish I’d noticed that I have a sweater hanging on the back of my chair earlier than, oh, say ten minutes before I go home for the day.

The scenery I look out onto is nothing to write home about – woods on the other side of the road, but I’m six stories up and mostly look out onto the upper level of the parking garage. Dear people who drive up to the top, nearly abandoned upper deck…and think that if you park all the way at the other end, no one can see you….I can see you. Umm. Get a room.

Now that I live alone, I need to rethink how I cook a bit. I made Hopping John (black eyed peas, ham, rice, Tabasco) for New Year’s, for luck, as is family tradition. But seriously, an entire pound of dry peas? At this rate, I will be eating Hopping John until June. On the other hand, just typing that, I thought “ooh, black eye peas, yum!” so maybe it won’t last that long. Growing up, other than New Year’s Day, the only beans we ever ate were baked beans and lima beans. I feel as if I’ve spent my whole life making up for that impoverishment. When I was younger and a lifeguard at an inner city pool, that was a HUGE insult from one kid to another – “Whatchoo having for dinner, rice and BEANS?” implying that was all the family could afford, and that maybe they weren’t American enough. I, on the other hand, am so easily delighted by rice and beans. The rice is secondary, it’s the beans that rule. A well-cooked bean…sigh. It’s harder than you think – most people overcook them. It’s EASY to overcook them. Oh, that slight resistance to the skin of a well-cooked bean, infused with aromatics…sigh. I remember we had this quirky little dude who sous-chef’d for us part time at FancyPants Gourmet. He was studying to be a naturopathic doctor in his spare time and every move he made was slow, considered and peaceful. Which, of course, made the rest of us adrenaline junkies nuts. NUTS. Steve did not, could not, pick up the pace. Steve did what Steve did at Steve’s pace, whether we had dozens of clamoring customers or not. But we all put up with him. Because, as our Exec Chef would say, “Dude has a way with beans.”

(And by the way...if you eat beans and other fibrous foods on a regular basis, there is NO need for Beano. So, no flatulence jokes, it only reveals your inner six year old, and your poorly trained bowels -- don't make me come by your house and lecture you on your inability to feed yourself properly.)

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[User Picture]From: terribleturnip
2012-01-09 07:11 pm (UTC)
Ooh! Let me put that on my list of things never to contemplate again: your bowels doing tricks.
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[User Picture]From: giantsloth
2012-01-05 01:17 pm (UTC)
I was worried that we hadn't packed any Traditional Superstition Foods for the New Year's trip to Ocracoke Island with my sister and her kids. And then, surprise surprise, it turned out that the sports pub frequented by the locals (one of the few businesses open this far off-season) served Good Luck Nachos. Nachos with ham and cheese and then a liberal topping of black-eyed peas and collards, so good.
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[User Picture]From: sweetpea86
2012-01-06 08:49 pm (UTC)
You may come in my line any time, but preferably behind Self-Important Cell Phone User.

I can't offer you any sort of price break, but I will offer you the gratitude and respect of cashiers everywhere.


ps: lamb rules all
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[User Picture]From: terribleturnip
2012-01-09 07:14 pm (UTC)
Last week at the grocery store, some lady was using the self-checkout, incredibly SLOWLY, because she was too busy on her cell phone. I was very helpful, "Lady, either talk on the phone or checkout your groceries. Unless you're talking someone off a damn ledge, you can probably call them back when you're done. We've all (waving at the people in line behind me) got other places to be."

And she did hang up. Although she called me a bitch first -- "I have to go, some bitch is yelling at me for taking too long." I'm okay with that.
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