Wednesday, April 14, 2010

#7: Regrettable Culinary Coastal Disparities

Here are the four things I miss most about the West Coast, in no particular order:
Mexican food;
In 'n' Out;
See's Candy;
Sourdough bread.

Why are they all food?

I do intend to make sourdough, actually. But you have to have sourdough starter, which means you have to have it at 75-85 degrees for a week, which means I will be waiting until May or June. And also - crap! - I will be gone for seven weeks over the summer (Long Lake Camp extended my stay), which means I will have to have someone feed it while I am gone. Blech. But it will make delicious bread!!! Yay.

Here is another stupid thing about the East Coast: The produce is all packaged. This means I have to get six bananas at a time and they are all at the same stage of ripeness, and because I can't eat six bananas in three days, this means that two to three bananas always get too overripe to eat. Some of them inevitably end up in the trash, because how much banana bread can one person make?

It also means that if I want to make something with mushrooms, I have to buy a whole pound. I don't need a whole pound of mushrooms. I never use a whole pound of mushrooms. I probably could, actually, if I committed to it, but so far, both times I bought mushrooms, I have made what I intended to make and then the rest of the mushrooms slipped my mind (the first time I just forgot about them even though they were in front of my nose; the second time I put them in the produce drawer to make them last longer, but that was even worse, because the produce drawer is not transparent so I forgot about them even more thoroughly) and I ended up throwing them out when they got moldy.

Anyway, the point is, packaged produce means more plastic is produced, means you can't choose individual fruits and vegetables to your own satisfaction, makes it easier to be wasteful, and costs more! I am against it.

Tom says that Whole Foods has individual produce, but who wants to go all the way to Union Square and pay twice as much every time they go grocery shopping? Well, actually, Tom does. But Tom is, of course, a chef. It is enough of an effort for me to go to Union Square to Trader Joe's once a month, and brave the epic lines (why is there still only one TJ's in NY? They would clearly make an enormous profit on a second one), and that is because many things there are cheaper and all of them significantly more delicious than the things at FoodTown, not to mention the wonderful variety, and also I have a gift card (thank you, Ruthy!). But Whole Foods every week for my produce? I don't think so.


  1. As soon as you can let me know what kind of See's candy you like it will be on its way. Sorry I can't supply Mexican or sour dough. As far as packaged food is concerned, I think your aunt Judy is not intimidated and will open packages. I don't know if it will work in nyc but it did in Michigan. Also, I saw lots of Korean Markets and they have produce that is loose- but that is in Manhattan.

  2. Oh wow, thank you! I prefer dark chocolate to milk, and I like anything on the inside except fruit. Truffles and chocolate creams and cafe au lait and mint and nut and peanut butter chocolates are all delicious. Is it easier for you if I am more specific? (I have, by the way, but enjoying the maple candy to its fullest extent. It is only about half gone, because I only eat one at a time, because it is so good!)
    I am terrifed to open packages, because somehow I turned out to be nervous about defying authority. (I swear it wasn't my parents' fault!) But I think I should give it a try.

  3. On its way but no peppermint because the clerk at the See's store said that everything comes out tasting and smelling of peppermint when you send it. Enjoy.

  4. You're welcome. Buy cheese.

  5. Wow, that banana thing really chaps my ass. what a waste!!
    yay california and fresh, unpackaged produce!

  6. lets think of other things you can make with old bananas. or give them to your roommates? or the food bank? or your local homeless person?

    mushrooms are easy - just eat them. or cut them and cook them with whatever you are cooking.
    or saute them and freeze them. with onions. because you had to buy too many onions. and garlic.
    I can bring you sourdough in May. long or round?
    there are mexicans in nyc. but do not ask moses because what would he know from mexican food. look for a mexican grocery. buy lard. cook. hahah

  7. Why are you recommending that Sho buy heart unhealthy lard and cheese?

  8. I already bought some cheddar with the gift card! I am stretching it out, though. A little at a time :)

    Those are good ideas about the vegetables and bananas. I didn't know you could freeze cooked mushrooms and onions. I would love for you to bring me sourdough in May - round, please! For French toast! (Or, if it's not too much trouble on your part, one of each, so I can just eat the long kind!)

    I hear there's a Mexican food truck out on Queens Blvd. in the evenings, at which all the Mexican day laborers eat, so maybe I will try that.

  9. Tom was cooking with leftover duck fat from class for a while. It was soooooooooo good.