We all could use a wee distraction from the world news, so here's another in my ongoing series of quick hit stories from the downtown streets of my hometown.
The Husband and I made our way over to the local grocery store on Saturday morning. (I hope you all saw the fabulous picture of him shlepping our new bundle buggy. If not, I'll re-post it at the end of this missive so that we can all chuckle together.) I will admit that during the summer we have tended to avoid the big name stores only because the fresh produce is so much nicer at the local farmer's markets and we tend to buy the staples we require at smaller, independent stores. But this week, I needed far more than we could buy at those outlets, so we walked the three blocks up to our local Loblaw.
If you happen to live in Toronto and haven't visited the Loblaw on Queen at Bathurst, you really should. It absolutely caters to the downtown crowd, but it is also a wonderful cornucopia of fresh baked smells, cheeses, pastries, and other truly "off-limits but I wish I could indulge" items for me. It also has a small section near the front where parents who are shopping with small children can take a piece of fresh fruit like a banana or a cluster of grapes for free in order to satisfy their kids. As such, the store also attracts its share of street people in search of a bite and the store seems more than willing to help these folks out. I met up with one such woman on Saturday.
As I was searching through the dairy case for butter, this very chatty dame sauntered up to me and said in a truly concerned voice,
Her: "You must really like butter."
I will admit that the four bricks I had in my hands probably set off her alarm bells.
Me: "Not really. I just have quite a bit of baking to do this week and I need the butter."
Her: "Salted or unsalted?"
I should have walked away at that point, but I will admit that my curiousity got the better of me.
Me: "Both. It really does depend on the cookies and the recipe."
Her: (In a most unequivocal and strident manner) "Unsalted. It needs to be unsalted. You need to watch your blood pressure. If you're not careful, all that salt...you could die of a heart attack."
I thanked her for her concern and started back to rejoin The Husband when she called after me.
"Remember what I said. You need to stay healthy."
At the check-out counter, the young man helping us noticed that The Husband had purchased those very wicked and brand new caramel M&Ms. (When we have a bundle buggy to help us carry stuff, we are both far more prone to buy junk food.) This interesting dude proceeded to give me a lesson on the proper way to eat this magnificent candy.
"You need to suck them. You see there is far less shell on the outside and a much thinner layer of chocolate. Suck them and get to the caramel centre. You will not be disappointed."
I smiled, told him that's exactly how I eat them, thanked him for his help and handed him my VISA card. The look of joy on his face was priceless.
As we left the store I realized that this shopping experience was a far cry from the rudeness I used to encounter in the North Jewish Ghetto or even the shithole that is Publix on Hallandale Beach Boulevard in South Florida. These two souls were very concerned with me and my eating experience. But it also occurred to me that if anybody is ragingly pissed off at me for my last couple of posts, you can rest assured that I will probably die of a salted butter induced heart attack while blissfully sucking on caramel M&Ms.
Just like my new friends at Loblaw on Queen told me.
Check out The Husband and his rocking new bundle buggy.