You guys my pantry is talking to me again.
And my refrigerator. And my delivery menus. Oh boy. It’s been a long week.
Sometimes I just want to eat. I want to eat a lot of something. And that something is most likely sugar based–the sweet or salty variety will do as long as there’s a carb as the staple ingredient. Popcorn, Cheese-it’s, cookies, toast with butter, toast with cinnamon & sugar, toast with peanut butter. Need I go on? So yesterday when my pantry started calling to me like Lord Voldemort called to Harry Potter, I did the most responsible thing I could think of. I made a grocery list that said things like – arugula, kale, jicama, Brussel Sprouts, apples, fruit. Because apples are different from fruit, right? The point is, it was a very healthy, very responsible list full of foods that would make amazing recipes like Anjali’s Roasted Winter Vegetables with Miso Lime Dressing, The World’s Best Chicken, and Dreamy Mac ‘n’ Cheese Spaghetti Squash. Yes please!
I started in the produce section as I usually do, filling bags of apples, grabbing giant cartons of blueberries and baby spinach. I chose the biggest head of cauliflower I could find. I looted the herbs section taking bunches of cilantro, dill and sage. I even bought a habanero pepper. And a shallot. Both of which wobbled on top of the stack of boxed lettuces at the front of the cart.
And then it happened. Chooooooocolaaaaaaate…..
At my ghetto Vons, they put the candy section right next to the produce section. But at the end, so that after you’ve filled your cart with piles of the good stuff, you can more easily justify purchasing that bag of dark chocolate Hershey’s Kisses (you’ll only eat 3, you swear!). Ghetto Vons, for those of you who are confused by this term, is a regular Vons grocery store located in my neighborhood of Echo Park, Los Angeles, California which has recently been quite gentrified but whose grocery store has not quite caught up with the rest of the neighborhood. Ghetto Vons targets lower class families and therefore has a weaker selection of fruits and vegetables than the Los Feliz Vons which is 2 1/2 miles away. I shop at my ghetto Vons to increase the amount of good produce they sell each week so that they see that there’s a need for healthier faire and stock their shelves accordingly. Ok, off of my soapbox now. Sorry.
“You gotta get outta here!” I said to myself like I was in an Indiana Jones movie. I moved my cart swiftly to the end of the produce section, only to be blocked by the banana cart holding giant amounts of bananas. “Finding everything you need?” asked the young man stocking bananas. “YES! THANK YOU!” I said a little too aggressively, inching my cart closer to the banana cart. When all of a sudden in swooped teenage Vons employee with another cart, blocking my escape! Teenage Vons employees exist at all Vons. You can usually find them walking through the store pretending to do work and asking in the same monotone voice, “Finding everything you need.” There is never a question mark at the end of their droning statement. And if you do ask them for help finding the water chestnuts the answer will probably be, “Uhhhhhhh…maybe in the soda aisle?” There’s that question mark. Sorry, I digress yet again.
Did I mention the peanut butter is next to the candy chocolate section along side the produce? I had to get outta there! I started tapping my fingers on my cart and huffing my breath as teenage Vons employee loped slowly with his cart. “Finding everything ok.” My eyes narrowed. “Yup.” My cart barely missed his ankles as I eeked through.
I pulled it together in the yogurt section. I left my cart at the top of the aisle while retrieving my spices so that I didn’t have to walk by the brownie in a bag section. Lord Voldemort didn’t appear again until the end of my ghetto Vons journey – the frozen food section. And this time he caught me off-guard. Whilst pulling frozen Lean Cuisine lasagnas from their cold cabinets he called to me.
And there they were, Weight Watchers Smart One’s Pancakes at the top of the Diet Frozen Foods section. Calling to me. Yelling at me in a whisper. But if I’m having pancakes I ain’t having no frozen Weight Watcher pancakes. I grabbed my cart making a swift u-turn so as to avoid the ice cream at the end of the frozen foods aisle. I pushed past the – oh no!
Abort! Abort! Get out of here! NOW!
Hopefully I didn’t vocalize any of these thoughts out loud. I’m pretty sure I didn’t. Pretty sure.
I swooped past the man swinging a hand basket with milk and an avocado into lane number 6, the only non-express lane open. Go to the express lane suckaa! Another oddity of the ghetto Vons – always a 3-1 ratio of express lanes to regular lanes, regardless of how many people have cartfulls of food. Sorry. I have a lot of opinions about grocery stores. I piled the contents of my cart onto the conveyor belt. The cheerful, plump check-out lady smiled at me.
“Find everything you need today?” I laughed. “Yes. Yes I did.”