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Friday, January 25, 2008

Business with a heart.

The other day I went to Rosewood Market, macrobiotic cookbook in hand. I was in the produce aisle, trying to figure out which yucky looking root was burdock. One of the most excellent and informed employees came over and asked if I needed help. I asked her a few questions about macrobiotic cooking and various ingredients. It is so nice to ask questions in a store and actually get the answers. Last week, I went to the big box office store where my husband bought his laptop. I needed a new charger thingy. The manager had no idea if they carried one that fit. As luck would have it, the two of us were able to sort it out, but what should have taken two minutes took fifteen. Grrr!

So, I'm not naming the employee, because I wouldn't want to get her in trouble for simplifying macrobiotics for me so well. She said it was really just a bunch of whole grains and fresh, seasonal produce. When I expressed my dismay that most of the soups were made with water instead of stock, she assured me that cheating was allowed. She showed me the burdock root and explained several different ways to prepare it and informed me that I should probably skip it, because it tastes gross. When I said I was interested in it for the healing properties, she told me how to make it as palatable as possible. Since we'd been chatting for a while, I felt the need to explain myself.

"I have to admit that I actually have no interest in macrobiotic cooking. Most of it seems really nasty and you know how much I love food."

Someone I love is sick with pancreatic cancer. Although I wish I had more faith, I don't believe that macrobiotics will heal him. I wish it was that easy. I do know that he needs to eat and I was hoping to find a way to make it a little bit healthier. Cheating at macrobiotics seems the way to go. And this is what touched me: I don't know the employee who helped me very well. She knows my name and I know hers, we have a few mutual friends and we see each other around town sometimes. I like her. She said that, knowing my love for food, her first thought when she saw me with the cookbook was, "Oh no! I hope someone isn't sick!" And that is one of the bazillion reasons to shop local.

She also showed me which cookbooks were best for tofu, because I have all these pesky pescetarians in my house*. She even went to the trouble of looking up and writing down the name of an out of print vegetarian cookbook she thought I'd like. I'd say it was a much better experience than the computer store, but I didn't ask the manager there about food, so I guess I shouldn't compare the two.

I bought the burdock and a bunch of other stuff that was vaguely macrobiotic-y. When I got home, I decided to make cabbage stew, because I read that round vegetables are considered to be good for the pancreas by macrobioticists**. And I didn't use plain water, I used some turkey stock I had made and frozen a while ago. The vegetables I used to make it were organic, though. Do I get points for that?

Namasté, y'all!

* My kids. We are not vegetarians, but they are. This came about gradually, but the deal was sealed when O read Chew on This, by Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation. The slightly less puritanical X-Man soon followed in his much admired older brother's footsteps, but has recently declared himself "the kind of vegetarian that eats saucisson." That's my kind of vegetarian.

** Did I just make a new word? Oh, it would appear not, as a quick Google provided me with a few hits, thirty eight, to be exact.


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