Saturday, May 22, 2010


I need walnuts. Such a simple staple that usually sits in the back of my freezer so that they do not go rancid or stale quickly. I am trying to think, however, the last time I used them. The familiar bag from Whole Foods is not there. Maybe I was hungry one night and was lured by the buttery frozen crunch and ate the rest of the bag. Or, I tossed them in with my ice cream because I was out of Chunky Monkey.

Ah, Ben and Jerry's. You are evil to put your frozen confection in such a small container for the price of a Blue Bell half gallon. Your joy always runs out too quickly. But, you wise in your flavors. Half Baked. Fish Food. Cherry Garcia. Oatmeal Cookie Chunk. And, why... oh, dearest why, would you get rid of the Willie Nelson peach cobbler? I used to savor each bite of the cobbler crust bits swirling in peach ice cream... You do have a peach cobbler, but I fear it will not have the blessings of Willie.

Which, leads me to walnuts. Do I now dare go to a mega store that has B&J? I already did my shopping for healthy foods at Whole Foods. Quinoa, eggs, whole milk, veggies, tomatoes, bacon. I have good beer in the fridge. So, no need to really go back. There is an Aldi near, but they are so limited on nut selection and the store concept just weirds me out. I also like to buy in bulk because who knows how long those nuts have sat in the dark, back, wonder world you never see of the grocery store. The mystery land behind the swinging, usually metal with scratched plexi windowed doors that someone helpful will disappear through after saying, "I'll go check in the back" when the grocery shelf yawns in emptiness of the item you desire. You know, like a small can of crushed pineapple, a tube of anchovy paste for puttanesca, or molasses. I wonder how "can you check in the back?" translates into other languages. Do the Over the Pond grocery stores have "a back"? Do they know of its wonders?

The last time I went to WF, they were out of cilantro. Yes, cilantro. The TexMex staple of Texas. At the check out line, I asked the gentleman zapping and bagging my items if they were truly out of cilantro. "WHAT?!? That is like, the most common thing, ever. How can we be out? You sure you looked?" "Um, yeah," I said. You have flat leaf parsley, the curly leaf kind, basil, thyme, sage, mustard greens... of all things... no cilantro." He gets on the phone. "Yeah, um, produce, please. (pause) Hey man, are we out of cilantro? Yeah. I KNOW, right?!? So, find me some. Yeah. She looked. This gal knows her stuff." So, said man, arrives. My jaw drops. Earthy, looks like he rides his bike everyday to work, dancing eyes, nice smile. "So, you need cilantro." I nod. "I'll go look in the back. Okay that it is not organic?" I nod. "Okay... stand over here." I go stand. I stare after. After a few minutes standing by the triple milled soaps on display, surrounded by their happy smells, said man arrives with a small bunch of green bouncing leaves tied together. Plops it in my hand. "Here ya go. And, no worries about paying for it. We are never out of cilantro. Ridiculous, right?" I nod. I say "thanks". Put it in my brown paper bag on top of the bag one of two containing tomatoes, quinoa, chocolates, jug of milk and Kashi. He walks away whistling something unfamiliar.

Good things come from "the back". I will take gal friends there. We need to look for missing items. Or, things we cannot reach. Tisha, you out of canned tomatoes? I am out of limes... oh, and walnuts.