Today I did a hard thing. I stopped shopping at Schnucks for the forseeable future. This was not an easy decision. Many years ago, after sampling some of their competitors in the city—Aldi’s, Shop and Save, and an occasional 15 minute drive to Dierbergs—I settled on Schnucks as my main weekly shopping location. I have two reasonably near me, and after a while, I learned their aisles and their product lines. They met my needs, and offered some unique features. I like shopping. I was raised in the grocery business, and I understand the “behind the scenes” operation. I like the idea of a family business growing large. And, while I have basically been satisfied, I have noticed a few changes for the worse from my consumer point of view: products removed from their inventories without any consumer appeal process, B-grade produce, especially fruit, and drawn out store reorganizations. But on the other hand, I recognize that the grocery business is difficult, especially with notorious competitors like Walmart and Target.
It has been more than three years since I wrote a note. I blogged a lot in the mid-aughts, but then acquiesced to the reality that when it comes to writing, I am my biggest and main fan. However, tonight I have a perfectly good reason to write a note. There’s too much snow on the ground, my daily chores are done, and I had a good success in the kitchen this evening. I made chop suey (almost) from scratch, and did it in less than an hour. I know it was a success because Stephen asked for a second helping, albeit smaller.
(Watching Hamlet on Masterpiece Theatre as I write this, so beware the preposterous prose.) And why should you, the blog reader, pay attention to yet another insipid recipe-post in an unknown blog? Here’s why. Stephen—man of few praises—is sharing this repast with me. About three-fourths of the way through the first plate, I say to Stephen, “Well, you haven’t said anything about the new recipe yet.” A significant pause insues, and then, “I think it’s a little triumph,” he says, “Interesting textures, lovely blend of seasonings, healthy, balanced food.” So there you have it, don’t read on at your own peril. Heh.
I have been telling people that I have given up on blogging—because almost nobody reads this blog—and started to contribute my writing efforts to Wikipedia, where what I can do is occasionally useful. And that IS more or less what I have been doing this year. However, tonight, with relatively little effort, I produced from the same batch, one very beautiful (I daresay, perfect) gluten-free pineapple upside-down cake (for dinner tomorrow) and six gluten-free blueberry muffins (for breakfast tomorrow). And I just have to tell you how I did that, and of course brag just a little. I came up eager to tell Stephen that I had missed my calling (as a chef), but he was already snoozing. So . . . finally, ‘nother blog entry.
Now HERE’s a real contribution to the gluten-free dessert recipe collection: a delicious, no wheat or soy in it, rich fruitcake that I would wager you could not recognize as gluten-free. Not eating wheat or soy (and a few other foods) has made a real difference to the health of one of our family members. Naturally, when the holidays rolled around, I googled the title of this blog entry. After perusing several of the results, I was not finding a convincing answer to my question. So I thought, OK, I will do this myself, I will come up with my own gluten-free fruitcake.
It looks like this blog is turning into a recipe blog. Maybe that’s because in this hectic time of mainly caretaking and basically surviving, cooking is one of the things I still manage to do successfully, and occasionally even have a little fun with. For decades now, I have been making a cauliflower quiche that’s to die for. But I hadn’t made it in a while, because the recipe uses a wheat flour crust, and you may remember that in this household we are spending the year gluten-free.
I had a nice surprise this morning. My neighbor, Dayle, lives two doors down the street in the same 1895 six-unit three-story yellow-brick row house building that we live in. She and her husband were one of the first tenants of this building when it was rehabbed in the early ’80s, so she knows all the block gossip. Stephen and I were out at the doctor’s this morning, and when I got home, there was a message from Dayle. She was providing the ingredients and recipe for the entrée to a fabulous supper, and all I had to do was put them together!