Food, wonderful food. I know I’ve already blogged philosophical about my life-long love affair with gastronomy in its myriad forms but, thanks to a field trip to Wegman’s today, I feel moved to do so yet again.
If you have never had the pleasure of strolling the endless aisles of this my favorite grocery store, get thee there ASAP. I’m sad to admit this, but I feel it even rivals my natural foods store at home, for which I harbor a fierce and dedicated devotion. If you knew me personally, you’d probably find this pretty surprising, as I tend to turn my nose up at most chain establishments, offering up the predictable litany of arguments: lack of character, deserting your local merchant for the bigger, cheaper option…
But there is a certain je ne sais quoi about the Wegman’s shopping experience, under which charm I fall every time I am there. Well, all 2 times I’ve been. There is a marked absence of any grocery store akin to Wegman’s in C.T., so I have to content myself with trips when I’m in C.C. (Charm City). As usual, she did not disappoint:
-Gorgeous displays of patisseries that rivaled the most beautiful in France. (I didn’t taste them so can’t attest to that. But they did look gorgeous. Which is part of the point of food well done, right?)
-A plethora of cheese options, which I pushed and prodded in hopes of finding the ripest Camemberts and Bries. After a good bit of agonizing, I finally settled on a French Port Salut and a Swedish”Bishop’s Favorite.” Do you make a round of the Swedish grocery store after Ikea visits? If so, you understand what yummy cheese I’m hoping the Bishop’s Favorite will approximate.
-Rows upon rows of breads: baguettes, foccaccias, bagels, boules. The baguette I chose looks and feels as though it will rival the best that dear old Paul offered up on a daily basis in Paris.
-A dizzying array of prepared foods, representatives of far flung countries and cultures. Since I’ll be at a cookout ce soir, an exquisitely simple looking potato salad won out over the curried cauliflower (next time).
I am counting down the minutes ’til the cookout, greedily anticipating slathering a crispy hunk of baguette with a soft Port Salut and then polishing it off with a bite or three of the Bishop. Maybe a baguette and cheese is not what you think of as appropriate pre-cookout fare, but old habits die hard. If there is one thing I took from my time in France, it’s an intense love for cheese and baguettes.
Actually, upon reflection, part of what draws those of who are drawn to food is the memory it can provide, or create. I’m glad to be living on my home turf again, but I am predictably human in that I want what I don’t have: in France, I miss America, in America I miss France. In France, I feel American, in America, I feel decidedly French. (If either of my brothers are reading, stop rolling your eyes. I know I’m American, really.) I’m hoping the cheese ‘n baguette will quell a bit of the France homesickness I’ve been feeling of late. And If not, I’ll just have to go back (to Wegman’s) and get more. Or maybe splurge on the foie gras I was eyeing today.
Whatever you are eating tonight, I hope you enjoy it. And remember to really taste it. Bon appétit !