Saturday, November 23, 2013

Searching for age and wisdom in the grocery aisles

Working from home the other day, I took a quick break to zoom to the supermarket. It was a rare rainy day in Phoenix. All I really needed was some Diet Coke. So $122 later I also had juice, cleaning supplies, light bulbs, brownie and blueberry muffin mixes and everything I needed to make a house-warming pot roast.

Sometimes when I'm roaming the aisles trying to make up a menu in my head or remember a recipe, imagining how flavors will blend, I look for an older woman to chat with. They know their stuff for sure and they usually know the answer to the question, "Where the heck does this store keep Maraschino cherries?"

Before I hit on the idea of cooking a pot roast yesterday, I bumped into an older couple standing in front of the raisin-craisin, dried cherries and dates shelves. By older I mean early 80s, by dried fruits I mean 123 choices in very similar packaging.

"What are you looking for?" I asked.

"Dried candied dates," the woman replied. Luckily, I saw them right away.

"This it?" I asked.  The price was right so she picked up two.  As she put them in her basket, I asked, "What are you making with them?"

"Date nut bread," she beamed. "I make it every year."

"You making that again?" he finally spoke up and then turned to me. "I hate it. Don't like it. Won't eat it."  She ignored him, smiling at her dates, and we parted ways.  

A few minutes later, after picking up a pot roast, I returned to the vegetables for potatoes, carrots, onions. And I wondered, "What would a pot roast be like if I put in sweet potatoes rather than white potatoes?"   Hmm...   started looking for an older woman to run this one by.

I spotted a friendly looking woman in the right age range near the celery and approached.  "I'm making a pot roast and am wondering about using sweet potatoes rather than white ones," I started. She looked up, sort of interested, but she made a quick sidestep, putting her cart between us. It was a move I hadn't seen since training for my black belt. I took a half step back but continued, "Perhaps I'll mix some new potatoes with a yam... "

She kept her distance, but cocked her head and said, "I haven't done that. I bet they'd cook faster."

"Hmm.. you're right. I could put them in a little later or not use too many. I'll try it."  

She nodded, "Yes, it might make the roast sweetish."    

And it did.  Sweet potatoes cook much faster than the new potatoes I also used.  And the beef was a little sweet. And the house was warm all night.   ~  Robin, Phoenix


Lori Lavender Luz said...

What a deliciously perfect post! Warmest of all are the human connections you manifested in the produce sections.

Yum -- I'm going to have to try that!

(I did a pork loin with whole cranberries, orange juice, brown sugar and cinnamon sticks in the crock pot this week -- my own intuitive recipe. Yum as well!)

Robin J Phillips said...

So glad you liked this story, Lori. The beef was 'sweetish' and the sweet potatoes were very well done. Next time I might pull the sweet potatoes out and mash them.

I'm not a pork eater, but I bet your concoction would be great with chicken or even turkey.

Here's to human connections all day long.

Northern Star said...

Yummy pot roast! And what a delightful trip to the grocery store, full of perfect moments of connection. Happy Monday!

Hazel Lee said...

Oh my gosh, your pot roast looks so yummy! I'll have to try your idea! Maybe for Christmas! LOL, I'm so excited to try this! Thanks for sharing your perfect moments! =)

Robin J Phillips said...

Hi, Hazel & Northern Star.
This was an awesome pot roast. And today, on the following Monday, it made great shredded beef which I heated with salsa and wrapped in a warm tortilla.

Top that! Have a great Thanksgiving. I'm thankful for the grocery aisles.

Geochick said...

Sounds yummy!

Heather said...

Hi Robin! I'm Heather and I was wondering if you could answer my quick question about your blog! If you could email me at Lifesabanquet1(at)gmail(dot)com I would greatly appreciate it!

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