Do you ever find yourself stuck getting the same old ingredients at the supermarket? Jessica Helfand proposes a solution.
Helfand puts herself forward as the prime candidate for this treatment, as her own supermarket habits have been constrained by early childhood experience:
My mother, who was beautiful and funny and brilliant in every way, was acually a rather distracted cook. She was also thin—naturally thin, the kind of thin where she forgot to make meals sometimes because she didn’t actually appear to think about food very much. Our family lived for many years in Paris, where you could eat extremely well pretty much anywhere without ever setting foot in your own kitchen. Curiously, many of my food memories of Paris that do involve our kitchen are sort of strange, like the time Carmen, our Spanish babysitter, stayed with us for a week while our parents were away, and upon learning that my sister and I liked to eat toast for breakfast, proceeded to torch the entire loaf and put it in the dish cupboard, whereupon we were obliged to eat from the cold, charred pile for the next five days.\n
Surrounded by distracted and eccentric cooks, Helfand finds her own culinary vocabulary frustratingly limited:
I was doomed, it seemed, the minute I hit the market, where I was hardwired to revisit the same aisles, to buy the same ingredients, to make the same dishes, over and over and over again.\n
It was like Groundhog Day, but with cheese.
Visit Design Observer to read Helfand's post, including her imagined "cure"—a cross between a supermarket immersion program, a reality TV-style pantry makeover, and the Supercook recipe engine—and share your own tips for navigating outside of your grocery store comfort zone.
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Image: Price Chopper's international aisle, via All Over Albany.