Friday, February 17, 2012

Better eating through chemistry

Continuing on the "adjusting to life back home" series…
Though the cold and snow was obviously the first thing to smack us upside the chin once we exited the airport, the other big adjustments (food, prices, and overwhelming mountains of "stuff") can all be found in one great big interactive museum celebrating the incredible ingenuity, efficiency, and creativity of humankind right alongside its gluttony, vanity, and hubris—the grocery store.

I went for the first time recently (Di is usually our gatherer) and was like a kid in a candy store and a guest at the Holocaust museum all at the same time. It is absolutely jaw dropping what you can find in a North American grocery store. There are fruits and vegetables from all over the world (it's summer somewhere), and packaged food products ostensibly made from or containing actual organic material, and some that are at least honest in branding their product—whatever it's made of, it isn't actually food. (Though "fud" is actually pronounced "food" in Spanish, the speakers of which, you'll notice, are the target of this delicious chew and swallow fud product.)

I was looking down the "snack station" isle absolutely amazed that one side of an entire isle could comprise solely tortilla chips and their dippy accoutrements. But then I looked at the other half and found that, of course, all the other types of chips were forced into another side of the isle (with some bleed over of tortilla chips). An entire 80-foot isle dedicated entirely to chips! If just staring at that makes you thirsty, just hop one isle over for the "beverage" isle. "Beverage" implies that you are to administer these liquids orally. Though it may at first seem silly to you that someone would pay to "quench a mighty thirst" unless stranded somewhere in the Sahara desert, you realize that it is possible to pay even more for water right next to the colored drinks. God help our economy if we all discover faucets.

And given that we are trying to get cash out of turnips these days, we are trying also to limit it's outward flow. And so we are discovering first hand what "environmental justice" means. We selectively buy organic (bell peppers and dairy, gotta go organic…onions and avocados, not so important). But here's what we're faced with.

Catch the price on those (suspiciously fabulous looking) organic peppers? $5 each. Each! OK, kids, enjoy those tasteless, rubber peppers, cuz it's cancer for us tomorrow! And so life back home has, at the very least, taught us to live every day like it's our last.

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