Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & ...Crest?

I was doing some late-night food shopping the other day. It is the absolutely best time of day for me to go shopping, if it means I can leave the kids at home with Hubby. Because when I shop with the kids it is more of a triage situation, or a Swiss Family Robinson, "quick, let's get everything onto the raft before the boat sinks" type of deal. It is a constant war of Vegetables vs boxes festooned with Action Figures and Cartoon heroes. Yes, I know ideally you simply avoid the animation-laden aisles, but sometimes we need to replenish the crackers. Anyway, I was enjoying my time alone with my cart. Sauntering through produce, admiring the fruits, nuts and croutons. It was so relaxing I felt like popping the incredibly expensive seedless green grapes into my mouth if only I could get a stock clerk to fan me. So I had time to notice a strange sight near the organic vegetables where the fresh spices hang out. It looked like tubes of toothpaste. Very odd! And they weren't even stuck in there at crazy angles, the way shoppers do when they are having Dental Product Remorse and decide to skip brushing once they realize how expensive the bananas have become. Turns out, it wasn't toothpaste at all. It was spices jammed into a toothpaste type tube! Ready to spring out at your dinner with just a little too much pressure applied to the container! Or maybe this great invention has been around for a while and I only just noticed it now. Maybe all of you are out there squeezing cilantro into your culinary creations without a second thought. Maybe you are creating little faces with the ginger as you coax it out into a measuring device. Maybe you are having Basil Wars with your spice tubes if you drink too much wine during dinner preparations. I just don't know! There must be a demand for this sort of thing, right? Maybe not. They just created that viagra-class therapy for widows who have no interest and no one to date anyway. So I suppose demand is inconsequential. But the fact remains, these tubes exist. They are expecting someone to buy them. Probably me, because I like to use fresh spices, and the ones in the tubes are surely fresher than those powders in the teeny tiny containers. I am actually the sort of person (I should say, WAS the sort of person) who would buy fresh ginger root, lop off the bark, and then grind it up so I could use it in a homemade Chinese dish. So ginger in a tube sounds easier to me! That reminds me of an encounter I had with some ginger in this very same aisle a few months ago. I didn't have the energy to deal with the fresh ginger, but I noticed some that came in a jar. So I bought the jar. But when I got it home to use it, the top came right off. Let me repeat that in case you were napping. The top CAME RIGHT OFF. Like back in the olden days before packaging became a science! There was no plastic seal around the lid. No protective foil under the lid. No vacuum sealed "Ploink" sound when the top was removed. I didn't even need appliances to help remove the lid. It just opened. I was probably lucky I didn't hit myself in the jaw and fall to the floor with the amount of pressure I normally have to exert on a brand new lid. It was the culinary equivalent of unsafe sex. They expected me to interact in a nutritional way with Unprotected Spices! Now I remember the Tylenol deaths that resulted when those bottles were tampered with in the 1980s. (Thus introducing the modern era of Impossible to Penetrate Packaging.) And while it is highly unlikely that anyone was tampering with the ginger, it is hard to focus on that when the entire Ukrainian nation is transfixed by the recent poisoning of presidential candidate Yushchenko, who had his soup spiced up with dioxin this fall. If I were still single I would march back to the store with it and say, "Look, you can't SELL food this way anymore." But I didn't have the energy to do it. So I chucked the ginger. Even though there may be un-poisoned people in Africa craving Chinese food. I am ready to try the tubes of spices. They had better have a protective safety seal. I will insist that Hubby squeeze from the bottom. Never mind. He won't be allowed to touch them. He probably won't realize they're spices, anyway. He'll think I'm storing toothpaste in the fridge.

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