Curious Cook: An explanation, of sorts


I have been visiting my new favorite grocery store every Wednesday and aside from always ordering some pizza we’ll have for dinner later, I have two “TO DO” lists.

One: I have a grocery list that varies, but usually includes produce, sometimes yogurt, and more prepared meals than it should.

Two: I visit certain products the same way I would if TJ Maxx or Talbots started carrying Chanel or Louboutin: keeping my hands behind my back I gaze wonderingly and dream.

As one enters, the first of these demonic triggers materializes before my tired, hungry eyes.

A square table far in the distance is turned diagonally and can be viewed from almost the second I walk through the door. Its contents are equally visible.

It is stack after stack of boxes of their chocolate chip cookies that are probably better than I could make. Then they went ahead and doubled the chocolate chips and added some kind of demonic chocolate shards.

But it’s the bright white strip on the prow of this ship of desire that makes me weak in the knees. It is to me what Kate Winslet was to hordes of tweens coming of age in the mid-90s.

It is a sculpture which almost literally brings me to my knees.

It is tubs of their very delicious buttercream.


To my equal parts pride and shame, I’ve never left with one of those tubs ‘o love.

Then I walk past the wall of cakes. I guess they have three or four or six other cakes, but my gaze is always locked on their white cake. More of that soul-destroying buttercream covering and thickly dividing what eats like angel’s food but with just enough structural integrity to support the buttercream.

I buy nothing, I can’t afford the calories.

After ordering the pizza, I eventually wander over to the premade stuff, including artisan sandwiches, delicious food from all around the world, glorious, gorgeous salads, and perfectly prepared diner classics.

I usually pick up a couple, but limit my purchases because they can quickly become a drain on my wallet that I can’t afford.

Then I reach the most perfidious portion of the store.

In the back corner waiting for me after just about every temptation has tried my soul beyond human endurance.

I see you, Job. The struggle is real.

After all of that, I come to the area which shelter the boutique butcher and the cheese nirvana.

I come to this modest little square pink meat about the size of a child’s wooden block. It’s hermetically sealed and a pound of it is, at last check, two hundred twelve dollars per pound. $212.

It’s the Japanese beef that comes from cattle that are living their best lives. Each muscle fiber is accompanied by an equally-sized strand of fat. It makes the beef a very pale, but healthy and delicious scarlet.

The Kid and I once went to a dinner and were served Wagyu carpaccio. Slivers of beef that were silky and ridiculously, spellbindingly flavorful. The salty, iron flavor of organ meat was tempered and made luxurious by all that amazing fat.

Finally, one Wednesday night after a pretty good week at work, I succumbed and purchased a cube for a pre-dinner treat.

So, I planned to do a specially plated, hopefully attractive photo shoot.

I sliced it, and sprinkled a couple with large, flaky finishing salt.

And the next think I know I’m standing in the middle of the living room, looking at an empty plate and licking my fingers.

…and that’s why, Gentle Reader, there are no photos this week.

Thanks for your time.


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