In Time I Walk And Talk In Two

The 5 lb. bag of jasmine rice sees you, you know.

About a week ago, my mom and stepdad sat at Pete’s and my dining room table with earnest looks on their faces. They’d brought a case of empty Ball quart jars and a bag. Mom took a breath, opened a bag I didn’t see before that moment and pulled out a large bag of jasmine rice.

Mom: Do you eat rice?
Tata: We do eat rice.
Mom: I bought this rice some time ago because I thought Jasmine rice would be delicious. I should have that.
Tata: That sounds good. What happened?
Mom: We don’t eat rice. We have it. We just never cook it.
Tata: You could just do that, you know. Just put it in a pot and cook that.
Mom: We just do not.

I stared at her and Tom. They smiled and shook their heads. It is too mysterious for us. Who understands these things?

Tata: I will give this bag of rice a good home and a big yard to run around in. Does everyone feel better now?

Everyone did. This morning, I was home sick and restless in that way one is when about 60% better but still 40% squirrelly from illness, when I remembered that rice and consulted Dad’s cookbook collection. I decided to make rice pudding and maybe actually follow a recipe. Odds were against it, but I thought I’d try. Fortunately, the recipe spoke slowly and used simple gestures even a feverish simpleton could understand. Unfortunately but not at all significantly, I was out of cinnamon and substituted ras el-Hanout.

Terrifying in its homey goodness – I mean, eeeeeeeevil.

Next week, the kids in our tiny town start school. The first week is often hectic and unnerving. If I make individual rice puddings for my niece and nephews’ breakfasts, it’ll be one thing they don’t have to worry about, with peaches.

Sarcasm In the Classroom

Early this morning, I poured five or six ounces of kibble into a bowl for the outside cats. Around noon, I went out to turn over the compost pile and found the kibble bowl empty and a one cent coin from the Netherlands next to it. That coin was not there this morning. Perhaps our squirrel overlords have decided to pitch in.


Yesterday, I blanched, peeled and pitted a case of yellow peaches and stored them in a citrus preserving liquid until I could jar today. I may do one more case of peaches and call it a day. Apple season is starting and I don’t want to miss raspberries.

Obviously, the penny on the right came from the Netherlands. How it came to rest between my compost heap and back porch? Ya got me there.

Where the Chess Players Used To Sell

I am pay-attentiony, so I am aware of stuff and shit, as Dad used to say.

Pete and I grew up in the same town, playing in the same woods, stomping in the same creeks and, when our town finally got a grocery store, walking up and down those same store aisles with our moms. That ShopRite left town and was replaced by another grocery store, which changed companies and names several times and recently moved to another building in the same mall for more, cleaner space. We know this Stop & Shop inside-out and backwards, so we were both perturbed when about a month ago, we found it in an uproar as the staff rearranged it. Last weekend, the stupid partitions, bread racks and crooked handwritten signs were gone, so the current arrangement has a look of permanence. It is our habit to walk in the front door, stop at the Hot Wheels display – because Hot Wheels! – and head right for the natural foods aisle against the left wall. We turned the corner and skidded to a rough stop.

At last, my camera phone captures both angst and ennui. Pulitzer, please!

Ta darling, you’re saying, just because spokesmodel Andrew Zimmern says don’t make it so. Perhaps the perimeter is optional, not optimal. Oh yeah?

The Mayo Clinic:

Picture your favorite grocery store. Chances are the fresh produce section, the meat and seafood departments, and the dairy case are all located around the perimeter of the store. This is where you should concentrate most of your shopping time. Why? Fresh foods are generally healthier than the ready-to-eat foods found in the middle aisles. This helps you better control the fat and sodium in your diet.

Staid Reader’s Digest:

Shop the perimeter of the store. That’s where all the fresh foods are. The less you find yourself in the central aisles of the grocery store, the healthier your shopping trip will be. Make it a habit — work the perimeter of the store for the bulk of your groceries, then dip into the aisles for staples that you know you need.

Doggone, even WebMD:

Stay out of the middle of the supermarket; shop on the perimeter of the store. Real food tends to be on the outer edge of the store near the loading docks, where it can be replaced with fresh foods when it goes bad.

Don’t eat anything that won’t eventually rot. “There are exceptions – honey – but as a rule, things like Twinkies that never go bad aren’t food,” [Michael] Pollan says.

These helpful people agreed strongly enough to make YouTube videos about this topic. Not food, and certainly not natural food, but it is a lie and a very cynical manipulation, isn’t it? Anguished cries of Mommy, HoHos are health food! must rend the air a hundred times a day.

At this point, I was looking for store security but they were probably on their phones, too. In grocery stores, everyone is. Possibly with the Mayo Clinic.

Crossposted to Brilliant@Breakfast.