Monday, November 26, 2007

Spice Odyssey in Northern California

I visited family in Northern California over the long Thanksgiving weekend. The day before Thanksgiving I did some shopping for the meals I was going to cook Wednesday and Thursday. One of the ingredients I needed was marjoram. Dried, not fresh. It's Northern California, so I figured this wouldn't be difficult to find. The first store I went to, a relatively high-end little grocery store with lots of great produce, didn't have any marjoram at all. Hmmm... I wasn't sure what other stores were in the area, but I knew there was a Safeway nearby, so I gave it a try.

The Safeway was packed with frantic shoppers. Scanning the spice section was particularly tricky because there was a guy desperately looking for poultry seasoning. He had enlisted the help of one of the Safeway workers, and together they were scanning the shelves, squinting and muttering "poultry seasoning... poultry seasoning." I too was scanning the labels on the shelves, and found the slot where marjoram was supposed to be. However, there was no marjoram. Instead, there was cardamom. Close, I guess. It does rhyme. Sorta.

I left the Safeway empty handed. My last hope was another Safeway, this one closer to my brother's house. Happily, this store did indeed have marjoram. Victorious at last, I bought a small bottle and headed home. We cooked some excellent food, and had a nice few days.

Perhaps the highlight of my spice Odyssey occurred at the first store. I was scanning the shelf labels to see if marjoram was listed. No marjoram. But there was a label for poppy seeds. Almost. It was misspelled as "poopy seeds." Awesome.


Andrew Campbell said...

Nice to see you got a nice trip away for a few days. While I know it's not your thing, I did make a nice whiskey, maple syrup, chipotle marinade for our bird.

Where in the world is Doreen Stabinsky?


dave said...

Except for the bird part, the meal sounds great. And if you're going to shoot cute birds, you might as well honor them by cooking them well.

Doreen is exploring Bolivia for around a month. She had a sabbatical term this fall, during which she worked full-time for Greenpeace. So she now has time off from both GP and COA. In mid-December we'll meet in Chile and trek around for a few weeks.