Anatomy Of A Trip To Whole Foods


June 2011

I admit to myself that I am powerless over pyramids of overpriced, pretentious produce, and also that I am a cook only in my head, not in real life, which is where all of the food I buy rots away. I swear off Whole Foods forever.

Friday, March 16, 2012 (end of second week at crazy hard new job)

5:30 p.m., leaving work
I need to go to the grocery store. Isn’t there a Whole Foods near here? I feel like I remember seeing one…

No. No. I’ve been so good for so long. I can’t go back there. It’s a complete rip-off, and I know myself: I have no self-control. Remember how that $23 worth of cod spoiled last time, not to mention the crisper drawer full of vegetables? No.

I bet they have fresh artichokes, and I could make a kind of spring pasta with leeks and bacon and… NO.

5:40 p.m.
Oh my god! It’s the day before St. Patrick’s Day — they totally have Irish soda bread. I need to eat some to honor my ancestors. I deserve it anyway after these last two weeks. Ooh, plus some European butter. It’s cultured, just like me.

5:44 p.m. The car is parked.
In and out. Soda bread, food for tonight, and healthy snacks for tomorrow’s paper-writing session, and THAT’S IT.

And some fromage d’Affinois. I can’t find it ripe enough anywhere else.

And some rosemary-and-sea-salt crostini and grapes, but THAT’S IT.

5:46 p.m. I enter the store.
Wow… they have totally expanded this place. Is that an olive bar over there? I wonder if they have those good Castlevetrano olives. I love those things.

I should get a cart, just so I don’t have to carry my purse.

Leeks! Sooo pretty. I’ll get some and make melted leeks to go with… something. I’ll figure it out.

Walk away from the baby artichokes. Walk away. Keep walking, you’re almost through produce, good, good… you made it!

Shit, I forgot the grapes — what the hell? Six bucks for a pound of grapes? Oh well, I’m already here.

Two artichokes. I’ll put them in the yellow bowl on my kitchen table.

5:48 p.m.
I should get some shrimp and make shrimp cocktail. That will be a good treat after this week. And cocktail sauce, plus horseradish and lemon because the jarred cocktail sauce kind of sucks.

Damn, really, $16 for some shrimp? They’re deveined though. It’s worth it. And wrapped with ice!

5:52 p.m.
There they are. My love, my nemesis, my rubicon, Rick’s Pick’s Mean Beans. These mouthwatering yuppie treasures represent my life’s trajectory; in Ohio, people can things unironically and give them to you. Dilly beans are available at every Amish farmstand for two bucks. In DC, I hold this jar in my hands and note that the price has been increased to — wait for it — $8.99. I pretend to weigh this decision, but we all know the truth: I lost the battle with these pretentious pickles and my own douchetasticness years ago, probably the first time I paid $4 for a mocha my freshman year of college and felt thrilled by the opportunity to do it. There is no doubt that when the proletariat rise up, and rise they shall,if the first people in line for the guillotine will be those with cheese histories at cleverly named specialty cheese shops, but the next group will be people with $9 jars of pickles in their refrigerators.

Well, as long as the revolution doesn’t happen tonight, I’m okay; this jar usually only lasts me a day.

5:53 p.m.
OK, C, you’re losing focus. Grab a roasted chicken and some cheese and crostini and get out. Oh, and soda bread. Apple cake. A mini-baguette, for the cheese. Oh! San Pellegrino Aranciata! A bargain at any price; I love that stuff.

5:54 p.m.
Check-out line. Moment of truth. Do you… need a bag? The cashier is judging me. Listen, lady, I tell her coldly. It was a spur-of-the-moment trip, and at these prices, surely Whole Foods can spare me both a bag and your condescension.

Of course I don’t say that. Rule #1 of being a good member of society: F-ck not with members of the service industry. You will go straight to hell, where you will wait eternally to be served while the people who would otherwise be serving you smoke cigarettes and fornicate in heaven (That’s all people do in heaven, FYI. That and play with puppies.)

In reality I nod, because I do need a bag. I practice my Jedi mind trick of not looking at the total until she’s rung the last item and… fail. Epic fail. $126 bucks and everything I bought fits in one judgmental bag.

5:55 p.m.
Wait. They valet your groceries to you here? You set them down and go to the garage and someone just appears with them? This makes me very uncomfortable.

And also kind of… aroused?

I wonder if they are judging me for driving an SUV. It’s compact, I want to tell the valet guy. I bought it used.

5:56 p.m.
I admit that I am powerless over my addiction to Whole Foods, and that my relationship with the produce section is unmanageable.

One day at a time. It’s almost Mt. Rainier cherry season, and they’re really hard to find.

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image – miamism