Baking is a big fad right now

I was informed by the snotty girl at Whole Foods. I went there to find rye flour as I’d planned to make rye bread (with caraway, sorry mom). Pick N Save did not have it nor did MetroMarket. I was sure that Whole Foods would have it. They have cauliflower flour and cassava flour, in case you’re in the mood to make . . . I dunno.

When I asked at the service counter (it was empty there was no one in the store and I’d already asked a guy stocking shelves if they had it, they do not) why they don’t stock it she told me in an extraordinarily condescending manner that baking is a big fad now. Which—what?! If it’s a fad shouldn’t they have it or are people making bread with cauliflower flour? I was tempted to answer defensively (and equally snappishly), “I’VE BEEN BAKING FOR LONGER THAN YOU’VE BEEN ALIVE.” But I did not. Being mature, I told her they have do have teff flour and chickpea flour. It seems like rye flour is more commonly used than those. (For the record their website has rye flour listed but it has to be ordered. It is not stocked—but in case you need sorghum flour, that’s in stock, FYI). She laughed and we ended on a lighter note. She could not see me sticking my tongue out behind my mask which, yes, immature, so what.

They had it at Outpost. So now I’m making rye bread. More on that tomorrow.

Can someone explain this?

Why do they put this plastic shit on organic bananas? Is it that they just cannot help themselves? Many things organic come in plastic. Is this a mass conspiracy? Oooooh, so you want organic, do you? Well have some damn plastic with it….we’ll show you! Organic romaine comes in zip lock plastic bags where not-organic Bibb lettuce comes loose. Why is this? And which is the better solution for the environment? The plastic bag the organic lettuce comes in or the not-plastic-bagged not-organic lettuce?

I’d like to know the cost/benefit ratio. How many points does this bit of plastic take off the organicness of it? If it had a 75% (Shipping from Guatemala takes a bunch of points off [unless it was brought here under solar power which I am sure it was not] and  it also has the plastic Organic sticker on it, so it cannot start at 100%) Does this little plastic lower it to a 70? 

And so if this little bit of plastic essentially reduces its environmental impact to a 70. What is the non-organic banana without the plastic hat on it? 65? It’s way cheaper.  

I suppose I could google it. OH DEAR GOD….I did and I found even worse…. “At one Chiquita-owned plantation in particular, Finca Santa Rita, workers have suffered wage theft, anti-union retaliation, grueling labor conditions, and ‘have struggled for years to resolve conflicts with management and gain secure recognition of their membership,’ reports ILRF’s US Labor Education in the Americas Project (USLEAP).” [10]

It’s impossible to unknow this. But I can get fair trade bananas at Whole Foods. . . so I guess that’s what I’ll have to do from now on. Goddammit.

Cauchemars de poisson…fish nightmares

Fucking Whole Foods. Days before I settled on serving sole meuniere for French class I made a special trip to Whole Foods to make sure they carried it. They did indeed. 

I don’t get exactly high on the idea of fish but I enjoy a culinary challenge. And so, channelling my best Julia Child, I took a deep breath and forged ahead. Unfortunately on the day of the meal when I went to pick up the sole at WF, they were out of it. I asked the fish person what I could use instead of sole, she said, “nothing.” Gee, thanks for the help. The menu was set there was nothing to be done. I bought cod. 

What a mess. It tasted fine but it looked like hell. Julia would have been horrified. I certainly was the next morning when I woke up and the reek of fried fish assaulted me first thing in the morning. 


Color coded meat

I stopped at Whole Foods where they have their meat labeled with colors that correspond to the general happiness of the animal. In my mind anyway. The orange label means meat with misery attached to it and green label means happy meat that grew up frolicking in fields with dandelions and smurfs.

I was happy to see some jolly, grass fed, green labeled ground beef because I had a hankering for my mother’s meat loaf. 

Twenty years ago I jotted down this very imperfect list of ingredients as my mother’s meatloaf recipe. Somehow I neglected quantities, procedures,  tried to follow it as closely as I could but, I dunno. A cup and a half of milk in a pound of meat? An eighth of a teaspoon of sage? I couldn’t taste that if I ate it by itself. Still I soldiered on.

I do not like mixing this crap with my hands and used a latex glove which is much more efficacious. 

It was good. Not like my mother’s good but good enough. It did not, however, bind together. I used only a cup of milk but I think that’s too much. The original recipe is now long lost and my mother does not remember even making it (this is sad since it was my favorite meal, and the leftovers, my favorite lunch, followed closely by leftover chili and spaghetti sandwiches—those were the days). I am unable to find anything like this on the google, so this may be lost to the ages. Unless I try to perfect it again when I find happy frolicking cows I can eat with impunity. And this time I will write the damn recipe down in full.





Color coded meat

I stopped at Whole Foods where they have their meat labeled with colors that correspond to the general happiness of the animal. In my mind anyway. The orange label means meat with misery attached to it and green label means happy meat that grew up frolicking in fields with dandelions and smurfs.

I was happy to see some jolly, grass fed, green labeled ground beef because I had a hankering for my mother’s meat loaf. 

Twenty years ago I jotted down this very imperfect list of ingredients as my mother’s meatloaf recipe. Somehow I neglected quantities, procedures,  tried to follow it as closely as I could but, I dunno. A cup and a half of milk in a pound of meat? An eighth of a teaspoon of sage? I couldn’t taste that if I ate it by itself. Still I soldiered on.

I do not like mixing this crap with my hands and used a latex glove which is much more efficacious. 

It was good. Not like my mother’s good but good enough. It did not, however, bind together. I used only a cup of milk but I think that’s too much. The original recipe is now long lost and my mother does not remember even making it (this is sad since it was my favorite meal, and the leftovers, my favorite lunch, followed closely by leftover chili and spaghetti sandwiches—those were the days). I am unable to find anything like this on the google, so this may be lost to the ages. Unless I try to perfect it again when I find happy frolicking cows I can eat with impunity. And this time I will write the damn recipe down in full.





When you hefta kefta

The stars were aligned. Whole Foods had freshly ground lamb, I had mint, left over from the biyani, walnuts and the lustrous leftover raita (which, in another country, is tztaziki which you have to eat with kefte) and so I whipped a batch up. 

They were good (and oh that tzatziki) but I may be getting over my North African spice thing. It all begins to taste like chili. Chili with caraway.



Living room picnic

I like the idea of this. Lots of appetizers (now called “small plates” by the same people who brought you “house-made”) and not having to move to the dining room table. (Which is only four feet away but still).

I made my world renowned chip dip and used the luscious waffle cut chips that get loads of dip on them. I had assorted breads and house-grilled pita chips and a good cheese plate with Cambozola, my favorite cheese no longer sold by the woefully inadequate MetroMarket but I found it at Whole Foods. House-made hummus, grilled chicken wings and ribs (ugh) and creole shrimp. I had quesadillas which I fried on the grill in the fat left from the wings…if you want delicious. Then there were chicken skewers and for dessert: chocolates from Belgium.

The four of us never left the couch. Except to get more margaritas.

I LOVE kale chips. Not.

I have heard and read so many people ranting about how easy and great  tasting kale chips are. Not only utterly delicious but good for you. I was checking out at Whole Foods (just before I was asked to give them my bag refund) I spotted a bags of kale chips and asked the pierced and tattooed checker if she’d had them and she said no, but they probably aren’t as good as ho-made. House-made for the snobbier among us. I looked the impossibly easy recipe up on line and there are literally thousands of comments, each and every one absolutely raving about how good and delicious they are. I am imagining the Kale Council has been busy posting these comments.

So I went and bought some. Tore it up and baked it for 10 minutes. Ugh. Seriously?? Not only was it unpleasant and bitter, it is messy. The little flakes of kale get all over the damn place, including, but by no means limited to, in between teeth for a super fun look.

Recipe follows, not.

Whole Foods major annoyance #1

I have issues. 

I also have many shopping bags. Maybe 16 of them. They’re all over my condo, my car, in my office. The one below is one of 12 matching ones that each fold up into tiny balls so I can have them in my brief case and in the pockets of my coats all damn winter long. I am conscientious about having them. I do not want to create any more waste than I already do.

I’m happy to do it. But I am not happy to “donate my bag refund” which is what they ask you at Whole Foods when you are checking out and you have been thoughtful enough to bring your own bag. They do not charge people who do not bring their own bags but instead they enjoin the conscientious shopper to “donate” his or her “bag refund” so that Whole Foods gets to bequeath the saved lucre to righteous causes and thereby demonstrate their goodness and donation-ness, when in reality it is their conscientious customers who are doing the donating. While the people who don’t give a rip about waste or, apparently the environment, breeze through the checkout line with free bags, soon to be land fill, and no donations to charity.

They need to start charging people for bags. They wouldn’t even have to say anything, maybe just put up a little sign. Dump the extra $.05 onto the bills of the lazy and shiftless morons who can’t think to bring a stupid bag and then donate the fucking “bag charge” to whatever the hell charity they’re giving to at the moment.

I have explained this to the check-out people at Whole Foods (in a patient, even cordial, voice) and they listen to me with keen interest, or maybe menacing annoyance. But I realize they aren’t going to do anything about it so now I just grimace and say “No thank you” when I am asked. Charity Shmarity.

Shweeoo. Got that off my chest.