The Results May Vary

Observations from my Mixed Up World

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What’s For Dinner?

So my wife’s Tassimo threatened to explode or at very least, it denied her the afternoon latte she so disparately needed yesterday.  Hence, I was sent to find descaler in an attempt to not destroy the machine with vinegar. ( My in-laws are apparently defying the strict prohibition against vinegar based descaling in order to avoid paying $10 for 3 packages of citric acid.  Poor pensioners risking their lives.)  I needed groceries as well so I opted to get my groceries at Wal-Mart to avoid trips to 2 different stores.  Sigh.  Oh, the extra 15 cents that I saved will surely choke me someday.

It is no surprise to me that there is a standard 80/20 ratio of prepared foods to actual food ingredients in every grocery store these days.  But as someone that actually cooks, it really gets me steamed when all of the fresh ingredients are shipped from thousands of miles away.  Have you tried to get Ontario grown garlic in a grocery store?  Not even vaguely possible.  How it can possibly be more economical to get garlic from China is beyond my understanding and I have a bloody degree in Economics. (My degree is actually in War – Military and Strategic Studies, Politics and Economics)  I went to the Farmer’s Market across from my office today and garlic from Argentina is $6.99/lb and the elusive Ontario garlic is $8.99/lb.  Locavores are apparently rich.  I must be too since I shelled out for 2 heads of the local stuff.

Now in general, the Farmer’s Market is absolutely the place to spend your grocery dollars.  I’ve taken $50 bucks and eaten fresh vegetables and fruit for 2 weeks.  The local produce is better, fresher, lasts longer and sooo much cheaper.  It seems that the only people that understand how much better market food is are the old immigrants.  As I walk through the market, I check out what the grannies are putting in their bags.  If I have no idea what the hell they’re buying, I ask them.  They’re happy to tell me what to buy, how to get the good stuff and how to cook it.  This is how knowledge is supposed to pass from generation to generation.  But there is a huge chunk of our generation that didn’t ever learn from mom and grandma how to cook and they are the ones in the freezer section of the grocery store buying pre-cooked rice.  How friggin’ hard is it to put 1 cup of rice and 3 cups of water, a bit of salt in a pan and boil until dry?  How much time is really saved buying pre-made hamburger patties?  My 5 year old can mush together ground beef, for God’s sake.  I’m not asking you to grind the cow up!

I’m socially conscious and listen to hours of public radio on the CBC, so I hear and empathize with people trying to live on limited means.  Why does no one every say, “Go to the market!  You can feed your family cheaply and they will be healthier than those rich bastards that are eating the chemically altered food from the freezer.”  Does it hurt anyone’s feelings?  Tonight, I cooked Basa (a fish) fillets crusted with a bag of ground up old pretzels, local potatoes with some shredded cheese in them and fresh hydroponic tomatoes with oil and vinegar on them.  Total cost of the meal was about $10.  It fed 4 people and there was enough for 2 adult lunches tomorrow.  Total prep and cooking time, less than 30 minutes.  It took about the same effort as it did money.  It can be done and it can taste good.

Of course, I listened to Maya scream at me because she didn’t want to eat what I put on the table and I am so done with that crap.  I said, “No!  Eat what I made or go hungry.”  She screamed until she fell asleep on the couch or passed out from hunger, I’m not sure which.  But, if she had  eaten it, then she’d have learned that cheap is good.  Also good is the silence this evening.  She can have a good breakfast tomorrow.

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The Insult

Today I was mortally insulted.  In fact, I contemplated punching a woman in the face.  It was outrageous.  I know that I’m no Adonis but really!  I hope she was on commission because she lost out big time.  To explain, we need to start at the beginning.

I was not in the best of moods when I got up this morning.  It’d been a late night and having Maya get up at 6:14am did not help me feel any better.  You must understand that she can’t just watch TV and let me sleep.  She needs to check in with me every 22 minutes which is about 3 minutes after I fall back asleep.  So when 8am finally rolled around, I was feeling pretty punchy.  So after my shower, I threw on jeans and a sweater.  Nothing fancy but not exactly pajama pants and a tank top either.

I was slightly out of sync with the rest of the family who all opted to dress to a stricter guideline.  I was the only one that was not wearing any black.  My wife looked very nice(oops, I just learned that “very nice” is code for ugly so I amend this to read “super hot”), Maya was pretty in a dress and tights and Milo… well Milo decided that today was fashion day.  I’ve got to give that boy credit.  He can pick out an outfit.  He had dark grey straight leg pants, a white turtle neck and a cardigan vest.  Top it all off with the Tommy Hilfiger scarf tied slickly around his neck and wow, the kid looked super.

It was a day out of shopping and as we wandered the mall, I noticed a number of people doing double takes at our little fashionista.  I wore my crooked half smile that said “yup, he for real and he’s mine.”  What can I say, I’m a proud dad.  But towards the end of the trip, in fact in the last store, came the slap of reality that wrecked my day.

My wife had spotted a great top in the window of a store that we passed on the way to lunch.  After Eastside Mario’s tormented us with the thought of food for 45 minutes before making eating a reality, we wandered back to the store to hunt up the top.  It was an upscale women’s store with lots of well groomed sales staff.  When Milo made his entry, there was an excited reaction.  Apparently they’d never seen a 9 year old boy that wasn’t wearing clothes that advertised flaming monster trucks.  Milo ate up the attention and paraded through the store like royalty.  That’s when the 50 something sales woman looked at me and said, “He sure takes after his mother.  He certainly didn’t get it from you.”  I was stunned.  She actually looked me over and told me that I looked like a hobo.  It took a lot not to haul off and drop her right there.

Surely someone that sells clothes can look at me and realize that there’s a real lack of stylin clothes for the short, squat man.  I mean, it’s only 24 inches from my crotch to the ground.  And it’s a lot more than 24 inches around my waist.  So unless I can find Danny DeVito’s tailor (God, that man can dress) I will never have a chance.  But does that mean I should be insulted to my face?  I hope not.

It hurt.  I can only hope that she had a Julia Roberts-Pretty Woman moment later that day.  Bitch.