Wishing For Expensive Cheese
by Nicole Freire
Remember I had my tonsils out last month? HAH. As if I would let you forget it. It's the only topic my little brain can think about.
I'm still recuperating -- yes, it is taking forever - but now I'm mixing Western medicine (hello antibiotics and Percocet!) and Chinese medicine (hello weird seeds and aloe juice!) in a last ditch attempt to heal this darn throat before my extended stay at home ends.
See those weird things on the plate in the picture? Before you pour boiling water over them they're about the size of almonds. You put them in a mug, pour water over them, let them steep for five minutes while they grow to the size of golf balls and get all squishy, then TAKE THEM OUT OF THE CUP, and drink the tea. I add about a tablespoon of honey to the tea because I am a gentle flower and have a delicate palate.
The other suggestion from my acupuncturist (besides the weird seed tea) was to drink aloe vera juice. He told me that it tastes thick and soapy and would be unpleasant. But the good news was that it came flavored! I had to go all the way up the mesa to Lazy Acres to get this concoction (I got the mango something or other flavor) and that's where I ran into trouble.
Well, trouble might be an exaggeration. It wasn't so much trouble as that nasty green monster, ENVY.
I don't usually shop at Lazy Acres because, 1) it's way up on the mesa and I live in Goleta and 2) I am not made of money.
I wandered around Lazy Acres with my $14 bottle of organic aloe vera juice, looking for the honey (to add to the weird seed tea) and was feeling very sorry for myself and very poor. Sometimes living in uber-wealthy Santa Barbara can make one feel small and penniless. All around me were tan, thin, and well dressed folks blithely tossing expensive cheese and prosciutto into their carts. Freshly baked bread with rosemary and $30 steaks. Nobody was looking at the sweet potatoes and saying "four dollars? for one potato?".
It was all very organic and very expensive and I felt so out of place. I stopped at the display of fancy kitchen gadgets and tried to talk myself out buying a kitchen timer that looked like a tiny toaster. They also had one that looked like a little espresso maker. But they were also expensive and although very cute, I managed to avoid buying one.
Then I made my way deeper into the store, looking for honey (duh, for the tea). And if you like honey and money comes out of your pores when you breathe, then Lazy Acres is the place to go. There is an entire half an aisle devoted just to honey. And Lazy Acres isn't that big of a store.
So there I was, trying to decide which honey bear was the cutest (and under $10) when I noticed the very thin, very tan woman standing next to me, also perusing the honey display. It was when she reached out for the half gallon of mysterious pollinated, not honey, but bee-related honey byproduct that I felt a sigh of relief pass through my body.
Because she was wearing gloves. In the store. In June. And not sweet white ladylike gloves -- these were big ol' honking gardening gloves. The kind you might wear in Minnesota when you have to go outside for more firewood.
I felt so much better because there was living proof of the flip side of fancy expensive organic grocery shopping -- the crazy side. The super vegan, the obsessive food eater, people who only eat food that was planted during a full moon and washed in bottled healing water from secret springs. People consulting lunar calendars before meal planning.
And as I was standing in the checkout aisle, I felt so much better that I didn't choke when the woman in front of me paid $116 for one bag of groceries. I bet it was all good cheese too.
I may be crazy in my own way and have to pinch pennies at Vons but I don't wear insulated gloves when I do it.
# # # #
Nicole Freire is a freelance writer who lives in Santa Barbara.