Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Aisles Project

Yours truly does the majority of the grocery shopping at our house. This was easier when it was we two. With two lads added to the mixing bowl, things got more intense. I try to make them eat what we eat, but they have palates, minds and 'tudes of their own. Curry does not curry favor with my two sons. Spinach must be ground with chicken and cheese and hidden in the grilled folds of a quesadilla in order not to raise hackles. And so on.

The Aisles Project came to me one Saturday as I made my way up and down the aisles of Reasor's, my local food choice. (No one shop can do it for me, though. Reasor's, while carrying the load, cannot deliver on cheese, salad greens, spices and certain pork products. My shopping days tend to be hours, stretched across days. Yours might be, too, if you added it. Maybe not.) It occurred to me - somewhere near the many mustards - that so much shelf space was taken up by things I not only didn't cook with but also never knew existed.

Behind each label is somebody's proprietary effort. Barbecue sauces and pickled meats. Salad dressings and packaged rice dinners. Soda pops and cereals, and so forth. Much of it is junk, mired in salt or slurried in corn syrup. But not all of it. The point is, I've lost touch, let alone track. I know what I'm after, generally, and routinely pick my spots among the shelves of competition, often leaving entire aisles alone, certainly entire pockets of cans, bags and Pure Paks.

The Aisles Project is my effort to take stock and inventory of the food that fights for space among the shelves of my local grocer. I begin with a jar of Swiss jam.

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