Whenever I take my youngest cousin Layla to the Museum of Natural History, we have a little routine we like to follow. We start with the African dioramas, then move to the dinosaurs and finish up in the Blue Whale Room, which is, by far, my favorite room in the museum. Hell, it’s one of my favorite places in all of New York, underneath that Blue Whale. But I digress. At the end of it all, Layla and I walk over to the gift shop, repeating the one clearly stated rule of the entire outing – only one toy.
And then we buy two. Predictably.
I like to think I’m approaching this exercise the smart way. If we walk in there without some notion of restraint, we’d walk out with arms full of toys, balancing a giant, stuffed octopus on our heads. Well, that’s how I would walk out, anyway.
In the same manner, I am rarely allowed into a grocery store without a shopping list. You say buy smoked turkey. I buy smoked salt chocolate caramels, radishes, and a triple cream cow’s milk cheese. Oh, and smoked turkey. I’m like a five-year-old in a toy shop, I just can’t help myself. I put my blinders on, go in, grab what I need, and get the hell out of there.
So, when my mother texted me a list of necessities to pick up from the market, I turned on my tunnel vision and started grabbing. Grabbing, grabbing, grabbing – until I went for the grapes.
The grapes are $3.99 a package, I swore to my mother. I don’t know why they’re so expensive, but they are. Yes or no?
Only, here’s the thing. These grapes?
Well, these were not the grapes I was looking for.
Take a closer look, friends – these here grapes are cherries. Now, I have nothing against cherries. I like cherries, especially Rainier cherries and especially in the summer. What I don’t like is cherries when I wanted grapes. I particularly dislike having cherries when what I picked up was very clearly labeled grapes. And, when I go back to the same market two weeks later and see the cherries still masquerading as grapes, I have to wonder how many other people suffered at the hands of incorrect labeling. Okay, I don’t have to wonder, but I do. Just like I have to wonder – are cherries even in season?
If you’re going to be sticking in your gob, do yourself a favor by checking the labels, amigos.
And try Lou Bergier Pichin (availble at Whole Foods) – it’s an aged raw milk cheese from Italy. It’s also gorgeously creamy and the right amount of stinky to please both sides of the aisle. I like it on toast. I like it on crackers. Mostly, I just like it in my belly.