Yesterday I spent more on food and for a small party with two close friends than I spent on the bathrobe and new model kits I gave to myself last week. That’s because our friendship is more valuable than terry cloth and polystyrene.
One reason I shop at Schnuck’s is that a my friend MR is a union man, and Schnuck’s is a union supermarket. The other is that Schnuck’s has the best rotisserie chicken I have found in the tri-county area. Otten I pay more there ($2.50 for Campbells Chunky Soup compared with $2.48 at Shon ‘n’ Save) but considering how few groceries I buy (being single and barely employed though I do dress) I value the added dimension of moral imperative which transcends pocket-book imperative.
Stop me if you’ve read this before: the joke about the fellow who asks a dazzling woman at a party and asks if she’d sleep with him for $20,000. She says “Yes, I think I would.” The fellow asks if she’d sleep with him for $20? and she says “Just a minute, you deletable expletive. What kind of a woman do you think I am?” He replies, “We’ve both know what kind of a woman you are. Now we’re just haggling over price.” When it comes to grocery shopping, I know what kind of hummin’ bean I am. I will not haggle over price.
For the Tuessday night gathering, I was intriqued by party platters of sushi in the coolers near the deli. I thought sushi was raw, and “dangerous” even though millions of folks eat it every day. The label said this sushi was cooked. BINGO!
I would either enjoy something for the first time or not enjoy it and let MT and TC have my share.
So, committed to Japanese mode, my next question was, what kind of crackers go with sushi? (Can you see the hayseeds in my ears?) Eons ago, Dad had crackers with his sardines, so I assumed crackers were part of sushi life. I asked the woman behind the deli counter, and she said she didn’t know. I should ask at the sushi counter (the raw suchi counter where other seafood delights twinkle like stars over a freon-fed ocean. The fellow there said crackers aren’t served with sushi.
Okay so I had to something to serve in harmony with cooked sushi, which I intended to be the modest main course of the food element. The answer came to me like the hot kiss at the end of a wet fist (Thank you Firesign Theater). SAKE!
The wine aisle at Schnuck’s seemed the natural place for sake so I started on the left side going south and scanned the four shelves looking for a clue that said ORIENTAL ANYTHING figuring once the alphabet was sighted, I could find the target. I wondered, as I read hundreds of linear feet of Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Chablis, Champaigne, Sangria, Burgundy, Port, and Mogen David if the store even CARRIED sake. I visited the store’s service counter and asked if they sold sake. The woman called the beverage manager who told her over the phone — she relayed it to me: “the end of aisle 8 top shelf on your lsft” — and as I neared the end of the aisle, he came out and walked me to the exact spot. They had two kinds: on in a small container, less than half a pint, and another which seemed about a fifth.
GEKKEIKAN The Finest Sake, $5.95
And on the back label, it included recipies for Sake on the Rocks, Sake Screwdriver and Sake Bloody Mary. How frikkin’ Nihon is THAT? WOW!
It and the sushi (“If you knew sushi like I know sushi. Oh . . .oh. . . . oh what a …”) were the high point of the evening in terms of what came in through the gullet. In terms of what came in through the ears, good conversation topped all, followed by listening to vinyl records of the poetry read by e e cummings and Vachel Lindsay and the Firesign Theater’s Marx-Lennon album. MR set me straight about sake too. It’s a distilled spirit; not a wine. BTW, the hearty red MR & TC were the perfect harmony for the rest of the incredible edibles consumed.
Grocery store sushi and sake expanded my life last night. Sushi nf the uncooked kind will find me for sure in 2009. And I shall likely reaquaint myself with sake as well, heated next time.
May your life be as well blessed as mine was Tuesday night, and may everyone reading these words experience expanded horizons and a happy new year!
Live long . . . . . . and proper