Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Hot off the Grill (and a Little Hot under the Collar)

Yesterday I stopped at my neighborhood Jewel on the way home from work to pick up a few things, one of which was strawberries. I have grown quite fond of slicing them up and serving them with my late night treat of fat-free French Vanilla yogurt. The way they had them displayed in the store (they were on sale), the packages were stacked in a high narrow pile between an equally high pile of cantaloupes on one side and pineapples on the other. In addition, there were boxes of pineapples stacked waist high on each side of the floor. There was a woman there before me, slowly and laboriously reaching for a package, inspecting it closely, then just as slowly putting it back and reaching for the next one. The way the strawberries were arranged, it was impossible for more than one person to get to them at a time. There was another woman standing just to the side of the woman, who was obviously waiting her turn to get at them. I had no idea how long she had been there, but she gave an impatient little shake of her shoulders and wandered off just about the time I walked up.

Now I am all for checking out your produce before you buy it, or anything else for that matter. Certainly you want nothing but the best. But this woman checked out each and every box of strawberries, slowly and deliberately, and was taking her time about it. She seemed oblivious to the fact that there was someone there, obviously waiting for her to finish. For every five or six boxes she inspected, she would put one in her cart. Did I mention that she moved agonizingly slowly as she reached up, grabbed a box, put it close to her face, and then just as slowly reached up, put it back, and moved slowly over to the next box?

After about 5 minutes (that felt like 20) I just couldn't take it anymore. I was sure she was finished after she had put the fourth box in her cart but no, there she went again, reaching for yet another one.

I couldn't help myself. "Jesus," I said, to no one in particular. But she heard me, turned her head, and said "Do you have a problem?" All sorts of possible responses circled in my head, and I'm not terribly proud of the one I chose. "I was just wondering if you were ever going to finish," I said as I walked away, hearing her say "Looks like someone is having a bad day" as I pushed my cart away from the strawberries. "Yep," I said, and pushed on.

And immediately felt bad about it. Certainly she had the right to spend as much time as she wanted inspecting her food before she purchased it. Lord knows I'm picky enough about that kind of thing, although I will say that if I notice someone else hovering around the same section, I will try to accommodate them so we both can get at our desired product.

So I felt kind of bad as I went off and bought the other things on my list before going back to the strawberries after she had gone. And I had little pricks of shame as I caught glimpses of her as I worked my way around the store.

And found myself being extra super nice to everyone else I ran into for the rest of the evening.

It has taken a couple of false starts, but I think I'm finally getting the hang of my George Foreman grill. It's not quite as easy as the "set it and forget it" philosophy of the Ronco Showtime Rotisserie, but it comes pretty close.

I mentioned in the previous post that I have already been successful with a lamb chop. Tonight I'm getting some burgers ready to see how well that goes. My only real disappointment so far is that all of my research has shown that it is not a good idea to try to grill chicken legs, or the breast with the bone in for that matter. But it's a minor setback because otherwise I am quite pleased and looking forward to exploring the possibilities even further. Grilled pineapple, anyone?

Last night I grilled zucchini. I cut each one into three lengthwise strips, seasoned them with salt, pepper and Penzey's Sunny Paris spice blend, and grilled them in two batches of three each. About six minutes per batch, and they cooked just right. I'm especially thrilled that it worked so well with the zucchini, because it is a difficult vegetable to cook properly. It has so much water in it that it goes from raw to mush in seconds flat. It held up just beautifully in the grill. Tender but not mushy, it definitely had some substance.

Of course, this may just be a passing fad, but I plan to enjoy it. Do you, or does someone you know, have a George Foreman grill? What kinds of things can it do?

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