Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Housefrau Hints: Picking Out Produce

I went to the grocery store today! Whoopee!

Now, I realize that, from your point of view, I just did that two posts ago. But on my end, I haven’t done it in nearly a month, so it’s worth noting.

It seems that between the last time I went to the store and now, summertime has occurred, because guess what was way on sale?

Produce! So I bought pretty much nothing but veggies and fruit.

(Side note: I also bought a jar labeled “Vanilla Bean.” It cost ten dollars. Guess how many vanilla beans were in the jar?

HA! TRICK QUESTION, MOTHERFUCKERS! If you paid attention to the lack of pluralization earlier, you’ll see that the answer is clearly one. One ten-dollar vanilla bean. Whatever I cook with it had better taste like a swinging vanilla orgy exploding on my tongue and then getting kind of out of control and maybe some feelings getting hurt, and then the neighbors calling the cops because of the noise and everyone putting on their clothes and the couples getting in their cars and driving home in uncomfortable silence.)

So I thought it was time to share with you, dear readers:

The Hopeless Housefrau’s Tips and Tricks for Picking Out Produce

Even the most seasoned housefrau can feel flummoxed in the produce aisle. All those mounds of melons, piles of peppers, cornucopias of cucumbers! How’s a girl to bring home the freshest, plumpest produce to feed her family? Fret no more, shoppers! Follow these simple tips and you’ll pick out the best specimen every time.

Tip #1: Selecting the best piece of fruit from the pile is simpler than you think. First, pick up a piece of the fruit. Frown a little. Now, PUT IT DOWN! It doesn’t matter what it looks like—the sensible shopper lets everyone know she’s choosy. Now pick up another piece. Kind of heft it in your hand while thinking about the scene in Dirty Dancing where Jerry Orbach is being nice to the knocked-up dancer. That’s the piece to put in your bag.

Tip #2: Don’t be afraid to be adventurous! Even the most meager produce section has a vast array of exotic fruits and vegetables, and with today’s global marketplace, abysmal treatment of migrant workers, and vast stores of chemical preservatives, you can sample a veritable global feast right there in your supermarket any time of year! Consider trying such mysterious items as broccoli, oranges, or some sort of cheese. I think you’ll be surprised at how exciting they can be!

Tip #3: It’s an age-old debate—is it acceptable to graze among the grapes? The fact is, it is absolutely rude to nibble on the produce as you shop. If you are just too tempted to pop a cherry into your mouth, visit the cookie aisle before you get near the fruit. Open up a bag of Oreos and snack on those as you select your veggies to stop the temptation. (Note: be sure to finish the cookies before you reach the check-stand.)

Tip #4: If you can’t find what you’re looking for, chances are, it doesn’t exist. It’s probably something a cookbook author made up as a trick. DO NOT accost the man unloading bananas and ask him if they carry it. Remember, his life is horrible and he doesn’t need you making it worse by taunting him with tall tales of “arugula.”

Tip #5: As Cosmo continually reminds us, the produce aisle is a great place to for sexy young singles to “hook up,” “make a connection,” and “julienne some potatoes.” So if you’re looking for that special someone, let your melons do the talking. When you spy a likely candidate mulling over the mulberries, push your cart up to his, hold up a cucumber, and murmur, “you must be at least this long to board this ride.” In no time, you’ll be dicing up peppers for two! And then doing the dishes for two! And crying alone at midnight into your Ben & Jerry’s for two!

So there you have it, darlings—a sure-fire way to navigate the produce aisle with ease. Happy shopping!


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