I drive grocers nuts

Since I’ve been around for a while and got dragged along on shopping expeditions when I was a kid, I’m constantly frustrated about the fact the stuff we could buy 50 years ago isn’t on the shelves today.

Most of today’s apples were apparently created in a lab, but nobody carries Winesaps any more. I ask about them, and the produce people haven’t heard of them.

Kumquats – Wikipedia photo

Here in Georgia, we’re next to the country’s number one citrus state (sorry, California, your production is a pittance compared to Florida), but for some reason, we can’t get kumquats. We’re just a few miles up the road, yet our produce departments don’t even know what kumquats are. That’s just bad.

It’s really hard to find endive and watercress these days.

I asked the meat department at Publix this morning for salmon steaks. They don’t have them because nobody buys them. Every one wants filets. I sure as hell don’t.

At least Publix sells radicchio.  Humorously, many of those running the checkout cash registers think I’m buying red cabbage. They usually ask me how to spell radicchio. They’re costing the store a bundle when they charge me for red cabbage.

One day when I was in a bad mood and couldn’t find any real feta cheese, I went to the Publix website and asked why they were labelling cheese as “feta” when it was made with cow’s milk rather than sheep’s milk. They just said that’s the way things are done in the U. S. I said that’s like making a cherry pie with blueberries but selling it as a cherry pie. I think they should call their fake feta cheese “feta-style” cheese, but since I’m not Bobby Flay or Gordon Ramsay, they don’t care what I think.

Frankly, I think grocery stores have dummed down their products, reduced their inventory, and are denying us many of the items that used to be available in every IGA and A&P in the country.

I’ll confess that–in addition to remembering products that used to be common on grocery store shelves–I do watch shows like “Chopped” and “Master Chef” where I see a lot of products my grocery stores have apparently never heard of. Some of those products are disgusting and I really don’t want to see them on the shelves. Some are things we used to see every time we went shopping, yet if you ask for them these days, store managers look at you like you’re crazy.

I may be crazy, but I still like kumquats.




In remembrance of things past: stuff that’s gone with the wind

“I felt once more how simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea. Nothing else.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek

I miss lots of things. Some day, you will, too. You’ll tell your children and others who are forced to listen to your nostalgia about the best of what you had and how nobody cares about it any more.

In no particular order, here’s today’s remembrance of things past:

  • paregoricBeing allowed to purchase paregoric and codeine over the counter at a drug store.
  • Endive (escarole) and watercress in grocery store produce departments.
  • A smaller federal government.
  • A society that didn’t expect parents to monitor their kids’ activities 24/7 and actually allowed them to walk or ride bikes to school.
  • People who came over to dinner who talked to me around the table rather than talking and texting with people who weren’t there.
  • Family doctors who actually treated things rather than sending everyone off to see a specialist who charged a whole lot more money to tell you what you already knew.
  • Bubble gum with baseball cards.
  • endiveBaseball before it had a playoff system prior to the World Series.
  • Weddings that didn’t cost $25,000 to $50,000.
  • A dial tone.
  • Coffee in a one-pound can or sack.
  • Woolworth’s, McCrory Stores, A&P, Foremost Milk, and Grapette.
  • Neighborhoods where people didn’t own automatic weapons for whatever reasons they own them now.
  • Vent windows in cars.
  • McCroryThe Atlantic when it was called The Atlantic Monthly and published fiction and poetry rather than being a quasi-political magazine.
  • Book review sections in most major newspapers.
  • Reporters who didn’t find ways to get their personal opinions into their stories.
  • The Hardy Boys.
  • Cameras that used film.
  • Young people who didn’t expect to have (right out of college) the kinds of houses, cars and furnishings their parents took a lifetime of hard work to acquire.
  • Christmas decorations that weren’t put out before Thanksgiving and weren’t thrown out before nightfall on December 25th.
  • A restaurant entrée that included meat, several vegetable side dishes and a salad rather that a slice of nearly raw meat perched on top of sautéd greens and a swipe of colorful sauce across the plate prepared by a food stylist.
  • twistedclawcoverPlaying outside with old toys and a lot of dirt.
  • Clean rivers.
  • Multiple varieties of U.S.-grown apples.
  • Stuff in stores that wasn’t encased in hard-to-remove clear plastic.
  • Route 66.
  • Airports without TSA.
  • Seeing a movie in a theater for $1.00.
  • Buying a candy bar for 50₵
  • Having a ₵ sign on my keyboard.
  • Silver dollars and $2 bills.
  • Catalogue, Hallowe’en and Doughnut rather than Catalog, Halloween and Donut.
  • Getting a margarita without an act of Congress to have it served without ice, without goofy flavorings and with salt around the rim of the glass.
  • A wedge of lettuce with thousand island dressing with the blue plate special at the lunch counter.
  • City streets before texting.
  • Gas stations where the attendant pumped the gasoline, washed the windows, checked the oil and water, and swept the car floors with a whisk broom.
  • A Walmart-free town.