Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What Kinda Snooty-Falootie Store IS this?

Today begins the holiday cooking season for me. I was raised right. When people invite me over, I do not say "can I bring anything?" I say "what can I bring?" And then I do as I'm told, or if they just assign me a course, that's fine too.

That's how I ended up at the snooty-falootie store this afternoon. Where apparently, I can buy cranberries straight out of the Bog... but could not find a Blood Orange, which I need for the special sauce that goes on my maple-glazed country ham rolls. They are not especially exotic -- even DiscoKroger stocks Blood Oranges, they just don't have any yet this season. (I asked produceMan on Sunday -- but the fancier stores always have them year-round, even though yes, I am firmly committed to shopping seasonally and locally, but sometimes you just have to bite me. I will not be giving up avocados no matter how many book deals Barbara Kingsolver gets out of it, God love 'er.)

The snooty-falootie store also did not have the XoChitl Chips that go with (ahem) my famous guacamole.  They had, instead, blue corn Tostitos (again, available at the DiscoKroger... and for that matter, Wal-Mart).

XoChitl chips and salsa cost about $738., so God knows, I am not above occasionally splurging for anything that delicious-yet-pretentious. But I expect to find these kind of bobo staples when I'm at a specialty store -- that is part of the implied contract they agree to when they decide to charge $432 for a half pint of sour cream. But these stores (at least in this market) seem geared toward suburbanites with more money than sense (hence, the in-store cranberry bog).

Once I got home, I was able to bust out the REAL fancy stuff -- tonight I'm making baby Reubens using my Food Gay's homemade sauerkraut (complete with local cabbage). The only hitch was that, in keeping with his skills as a master canner who doesn't want to give us all what my Mom would call "Tha Ptomaine," that jar was sealed so tight it could clearly withstand the apocalypse. I pounded it on the counter. I rinsed it in hot water. I gave it the firm upside down shake. I banged on it with a knife. Nothing.

Finally I gave in and knocked on the door of the hot-sorority-visigoth neighbors. They're young and lithe and strong and frankly look like they belong on the Swedish volleyball team. (And sometimes they still bake me muffins to make up for the time they accidentally broke in to upstairs hall window... and crawled in.) It still took two of them to wrest this jar into submission, which was pretty entertaining to watch. In my head, I was thinking to myself "Dear Penthouse Forum," because I know that's exactly what every gentleman caller gets into his head whenever he imagines dropping by, and "accidentally" confusing their door with mine. There is a reason mine is painted Elizabeth-Arden-Red.

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