Wednesday, May 02, 2012

the taste (and smell) of fresh

I have grocery store woes, sometimes. It's such a first-world problem, but I get worked up about it at times. Generally speaking, Bunny and I shop at a discount shop a ten minute walk from home. It has the best produce we've ever seen in a discount store, and it caters to the various cultures in our neighbourhood (there's tons of Asian, Middle Eastern and Indian ingredients that aren't) including a lot of produce I don't often see at bigger stores.

When we shop there, our grocery bill is always reasonable.

I grew up a Loblaws girl, though. Even as a starving student I shopped at Loblaws brand stores. But oh are they too expensive. Every now and then, we end up at our old Loblaws to do a whole shop and the experience drives me a little batty.

It's glorious walking through the produce section; where I don't automatically discard most of the things I pick up. I cringe at the prices, though: the quality is great, but you pay for it. I love the fresh deli counter, and adore picking through all the fresh meats and cheeses. There's a butcher and a seafood counter in the store. Things are fresh.

The aisles ... there are so many more than at the discount store. There are options. There is an entire aisle of the store that carries nothing but different varieties of tea and coffee. At my normal grocery store, there's not much variety. Having so many options means I have to say "no" to myself more. I see more things that I want, and it can be hard nto to buy them. The discount store carries nothing but the basics which is great, because there is no temptation.

I almost cried when we reached the cash register. Everything we picked up was beautiful, but the final total was higher than we are used to paying for a week's worth of groceries. Spending $65 (which is still under our technical weekly budget, by the way) was enough to make me feel uncomfortable and edgy and anxious.

After I put the groceries away, though, I was chopping a red bell pepper for a cheese dip (yeah, I made it again) I was hit with the smell. OMG the smell. Sweet and inviting, I just had to eat some. So I had a bite and just about died. I noticed everything from the perfect crunch to the slight juiciness, to the slightly sweet taste. I can't remember the last time I ate a bell pepper that was so fresh, and good.

Then, I started grating a hunk of parmesan cheese. The real stuff from the cheese counter, not the vaccuum sealed non-Italian variety. The first thing I noticed was the texture. This cheese grated so smoothly, so easily, it seemed impossible that it was related to the old, hard stuff we usually had. The smell attacked next. I can't even describe it. Then, well, I cut off a little chunk and ate it.

After that, I stopped stressing about the grocery bill so much. We paid for the quality, and I know it.

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