Friday, February 10, 2012

How Do These Things Fit Together?

The other night, when my daughter and I were on our way home at around 1:00am, we needed to make a quick stop at the grocery store for two items that we didn't want to wait until the next day for.

A large can of Crisco, and a 12 pack of toilet paper.

Now, maybe that doesn't strike you as humorous at all, but we thought it was pretty funny! We imagined the cashier trying to figure out what was so important about those items that we went to the store at that time of night to get them- and only them.

This goes back to something I used to do when I was a teen. One of my earliest jobs was in a small grocery store. The work itself was not particularly mentally challenging, so I used to entertain myself however I could. One way was to look at the items a person was buying, and try to figure out what they planned to do with them.

Sometimes, it's fairly easy.
Someone buying a bunch of chips, dips, cookies, sodas and beer, is probably planning a party. Or maybe they're just college students.  Who knows?
A birthday cake is a giveaway, as are other holiday-themed items.

But sometimes, you just have to wonder.

There was a woman who came into the store every day or two, and only bought several heads of iceberg lettuce, and a couple of bottles of prune juice. I never saw her buy anything else. To this day, I'm a little concerned about her health.

I still look when I'm in stores, to see what combinations of things people have in their carts, or on the belt. Sometimes, if it's a particularly interesting combination, I'll ask them about it. Some people welcome the conversation; others look at me like I've suddenly sprouted two heads.

I'm not the only one who is intrigued by unusual combinations of foods. There is a show we caught the other night, called "Chopped" that is a cooking challenge show. The competitors are given unusual combinations of ingredients, and have a limited amount of time to come up with something.

Wow. I just tried to find a listing to remind myself what the combinations were the other night, and I found an episode list for all the seasons of the show. It is in its eleventh season! I had no idea. The episode list includes the lists of ingredients. It's very entertaining!

We were watching the first episode of the 11th season, with the following combinations:

  • Appetizer: huckleberries, black beans, green plantains, octopus
  • Entrée: champagne, skirt steak, yuca, coconut
  • Dessert: chicha morada, Cotija cheese, mangos, shoestring potato sticks
Yeah. I don't know what I would have made out of those, either.
The winning dessert was a cotija cheese and mango ice cream, with chicha morada sauce and shoestring potato brittle. Sounds... fascinating.

My family calls such things "California food," meaning a combination of foods that would not typically go together.

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