Like the rest of America, I’ve reigned in my shopping habit — at least when it comes to clothes (and I use the word “clothes” in the broad sense, to include boots and bags and scarves and cosmetics and the occasional have-to-have-it throw pillow discovered on errand for any of the above).
So while my closet has never been lonelier, my pantry has become quite the diverse crowd: I’ve redirected my shopping energy from boutiques to purveyors of food, particularly ethnic. As far as my bank account and far-off retirement is concerned, this is a good thing; rather than dropping $60 on a t-shirt with a jeweled neckline, I’m dropping $2.69 on enough cardamom for a year of Bollywood film fests.
What’s more, I’ve found that browsing the aisles of Lee-Lee (my local Asian market that also has aisles dedicated to Brazilian, Indian and even Scandinavian specialties), list in hand but open to suggestion, still gives me that shopper’s satisfaction: the heart-thrill of the hunt, the sheer joy that accompanies discovery. For example, today I learned that in other countries, bulgur is sold in grades, from fine (#1, for, say tabbouleh) to coarse (#4, for pilafs, etc.).
But, just as I must when clothes shopping, I’m forced to make hard choices: jumbo green favas or smaller brown ones? I can’t just buy it all; there must be limits. Yes, we need to eat in order to survive, but an entire collection of Vietnamese condiments is to nourishment what a certain supple berry-colored leather hobo is to being clothed.
And so I chose, against my curiosity, not to buy the Long Life Buns* in the freezer section. My sister, via text message, talked me out of it. “Want some Long Life Buns?” I wrote. “They’re hot pink!”
“What is a Long Life Bun?” she shot back. “And what had to die for it to be hot pink?”
*Turns out Long Life Buns, also known as Birthday or Peach Buns, are steamed buns served on someone’s birthday and often peach-shaped, and are supposed to bestow long life upon the eater.
Share this Post