Tuesday, May 17, 2005

not wholesome enough for whole foods

Yesterday, on my last day of sick call, I got pulled again for the PICU. This time, both NPs scheduled to work that day had called out sick. On a beautiful, warm Monday. After a beautiful, warm weekend. Am I reading too much into this? All I know is, most residents would have to actually be dead before they called in sick. Seriously. There's an IV pole in one of the call rooms, left over from a night when one of us, felled by mid-winter gastro, was receiving IV hydration and directing patient care from the bottom bunk. Just like there's no crying in baseball, there are no frivolous sick days in residency.

Anyhoo, we're having our future nanny over for dinner on Saturday, for the purpose of getting to know each other better and hashing out some of the finer details of Cal Care. Joe and I will be cooking, which is a big enough deal in and of itself, but in addition, Georgia (not her real name, but close) is a vegematerian, which involves a little extra planning on our parts. Joe actually used to be herbivorous during his Berkeley days (there's apparently something about the Bay Area that turns you all crunchy and green and eco-freaky--and my apologies to the Bay Area contingent, I don't actually think you're freaks, unless you play hackey sack and wear Birkenstocks WITH SOCKS, and then I'm sure you'd find that consensus is pretty universal that you're Not Quite Right), which has at least left us with a nice stash of vegetarian cookbooks to work with. We chose an Indian food menu, as it was comfortably vegetarian and didn't require the I substitution of bulger or soy gluten chunks in lieu of meat. Why do people do that? Make things that look and (supposedly) taste like meat, but don't have meat in them? Soy products molded into the shape of a turkey just comes out spongy and unnatural. Just eat the animals. Circle of Life and all that.

So anyway, today I was enlisted with gathering up all the stray items that we couldn't order from Fresh Direct. I headed over to the Whole Foods in Chelsea, which I figured was the best place to locate freaky vegetarian ingredients. I had only been in there once before, sort of accidentally (I was on my way home in the middle of a snowstorm and needed a place to warm up), but had never really tried to buy anything there before. But it looked beautiful and gleaming inside, filled with fresh, exotic produce and hip urbanites with various au courant accessories (workout gear, babies in Bugaboos, very large sunglasses and the secretively smuggled small-canine-in-a-bag) so I figured chances were good that I'd be able to find the ingredients that I was looking for.

What I didn't count on was the fact that shopping at Whole Foods would be so annoying. Seriously, for such a big market with the word "Food" in the title, there wasn't actually a lot of actual food in there. I mean, yes, there was food in the supermarket, but they were all these super-pricey organic brands, and not a whole lot of staples. Good luck finding a box of Cheerios in Whole Foods. Crunchy Whole Grain Organic O-shaped Cereal (now with 75% more fiber!) is the closest you're going to get. And there were so many restrictions on the food there. In the bread aisle, where I was looking for a dry ingredient kit for our bread maker (they only had a whole wheat kit, of course, no white bread anywhere in sight) literally half of the products were labeled as "gluten-free." Gluten-free bread mix. Gluten-free pancake mix. Gluten-free muffin mix. Call me ignorant, but...what's wrong with gluten? Does everyone now have celiac disease, or is "gluten-free" some sort of new fad diet that I don't know about?

I finally finished my shopping and was ready to check out when I noticed something else weird about Whole Foods. You know how in most normal supermarkets, the impulse buy rack (usually flanking the line to the register) has stuff like magazines and candy and chapstick? Well, at Whole Foods, the impulse buy rack was stocked with 1.) yoga mats 2.) yoga blocks 3.) yoga magazines and 4.) gluten-free brownies. What kind of strange alternate universe is this? And where are the Skittles?

See, and this is why Fresh Direct is awesome. Just cut out the middle man and the entire supermarket experience. Just get all the good stuff delivered right to your door, and minimize all that pesky human interaction to boot.

Currently reading: "Bergdorf Blondes." I honestly don't know what possessed me to start reading this book, as I abhor "chick lit" and any type of literature that cites more than three brand names per page (see: chick lit). And it's reading pretty much as expected. That is to say, outside of the name-dropping and various tongue-in-cheek observations about the Manhattan socialite scene, there isn't anything in the way of an actual plot. Oh well, it'll be over soon.

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