Unbeknownst to many people, cooking requires as much artistry as poetry. And like most artists, I enjoy visiting the holy temples of art supplies, also known as grocery stores. The beauty they contain rivals the world’s greatest museums.
On this blog, I occasionally write about visits to farmer’s markets, international grocers, and other unnecessary specialty retailers. Today I’d rather mesmerize you with the magic of your typical everyday supermarket. Unfortunately, most people overlook the wonders that await them under the glare of fluorescent lights and screaming toddlers. Forget about those distractions and let the food shine. If you want your culinary creations to sing, you need melodically enhanced ingredients. So pick up any product and you’re sure to find poetry where you thought none had existed. Let’s start with a soft drink label:
oil, and Benzene
Acid rocks! Although you could go all hippie and call this the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, soft drinks taste better during the summer. So let’s say that the Age of Cancer will arrive soon at an unsuspecting body near you. It will be more magnificent than liquor! And it will be smooth like butter! Nice, healthy, natural butter with no added chemicals that melts on your tongue and leaves a warm milky feeling. So maybe a stick of butter will add to our culinary symphony:
reduced! Healthy! Safer than
our regular stuff.
And where there’s butter, you’ll find toast. Nice warm hearty toast. And basic too: grains, water, yeast, and a little salt. However, we need artistically enhanced toast, one that crisps up with convenient speed to a beautiful dark color. I wonder what sort of prestidigitation makes that possible…
Sugar. More sugar.
This bread is not safe for you.
Having lived in Europe, my wonderment never ends over the riches of salt and sugar that the American food companies add to everything. Witness the pageantry of low-sodium canned corn and tomatoes, both of which Mother Nature got wrong by not enhancing their flavor like in the original canned product. And let’s not forget the sugar-free desserts that abound with spectacular chemical sweeteners while maintaining a gloriously elevated calorie count that reveals the aesthetic shortcomings of a basic Italian biscotti. Speaking of all this wonderful processed food, let’s look at a can or two:
Canned bisphenol A:
More cancers, Obesity,
See? You can always improve the classics. Nature’s radiance finds its completion in the laboratory, much like Haiku ascends to unimaginable heights once we eliminate our reliance on a culturally constructed notion of “natural beauty.” And on the topic of natural things, we ought to conclude our supermarket tour by visiting the produce section. There, we can observe a helpful sign above the merchandise, one that kindly transports our minds from dark thoughts of pesticides:
We coat fruit in wax.
It looks shiny, crisp, healthy.
You’ll pay more for it.
But what are a few extra cents for produce compared to the bills for a lifetime of health ailments?