Monday, March 5, 2007

The Whole Truth

I've been promising my sister for a long time that if she ever got married, I'd freeze mint leaves in ice for the drinks for her bridal shower. Well, she got engaged, and I found myself requiring mint leaves.

Mint grows naturally in my yard, but given that it is March, and Maryland, I didn't want to disturb its hibernation. So I decided to go to Whole Foods. I also needed some dill.

Problem: I didn't really know what mint ended up looking like once pulled from the ground and put in the grocery store. Would it be a basket of leaves? The whole plant? And I had no idea what dill looked like when it was fresh. I do not cook. Dill, to me, comes neatly chopped in little McCormick containers.

Problem: Whole Foods intimidates me. I do not like to look stupid in Whole Foods.

Whole Foods sells good food. Not good as in 'mmmm, how tasty...' (although much of it does, indeed, taste yummy). Good as in, 'You steward of the environment you. You healthy, responsible person who actually uses your gym membership, you.' Whole Foods is for people who do not realize that most area McDonald's recently remodeled.

Not that I know firsthand. I saw the remodeling signs. But I digress.

So I troop into Whole Foods, with its shiny wood floors, unfamiliar packages, and rich, healthy clientele. Me, with my ten year old car and belly full of hamburger and all the hormones injected into the cows which made it. I decide the best course of action is to pretend to be slowly browsing the vegetable section until I see either a sign or something green which looks like mint or dill. I will not ask if they sell mint or dill, or where it is, because I want to look like I come here all the time, and not just before dinner parties. I put on my Trader Joe's Shopper face, the one which belies the fact that most of my food comes from the BJs warehouse. The one which says I am a hip, cool, new fangled grocery store client, thank you very much.

Luckily for me, both the mint and the dill are clearly labeled and located next to each other. I pick up one of each. In my haste to not look stupid, I stupidly forget to grab a plastic produce bag, and march to the checkout counter with my dripping wet vegetables in tow.

I do not notice I am dripping until I get to the pristine, shiny conveyer belt and notice that no one else is dropping soppy wet food onto it. People get in line behind me and start unloading their natural sugars, organic chicken and no artificial flavor snacks. I stand, dripping mint and dill juice onto the floor.

I do not belong. I do not belong. They are going to send me back to Safeway.

I was saved by a woman who wanted to argue that the white asparagus was on sale, right along with the green. I did not even know there was a such thing as white asparagus, which I admitted to the woman, who explained the subtle flavor differences to me as a manager trooped all over the store to confirm the price. The woman was now holding up the line (and quite terribly) and no one was paying attention to my veggie juice drips. The cashier discreetly took them from me and put them in plastic bags, and all was well.

I emerged from Whole Foods victorious. I shall go back, and soon. Right after several more economical, practice runs at Trader Joe's.


Tulips said...


I can't hear about Whole Foods without wanting to call it Whole Paycheck!!

Christy said...

hahaha! OMG, I could have written this post about Wegmans last week. I wandered into the gluten free section by accident and ended up buying some really expensive frozen food because I didn't want to anyone to know I was in those aisles by accident. Who me? I shop here alllllll the time. Ahem. Maggie, please stop screaming about how exciting the train is. Do you want us to look like Wegmans bumpkins?