A Chance Encounter at Whole Foods

BeefVegans, don’t read this. An animal was killed and eaten as part of this story.

You know that the following narrative is true, because no one could possibly make up something as crazy as this. I also doubted the following quote from Joel Salatin, aka “the world’s most famous farmer,” but now I have incontrovertible evidence that it is true:

The indigenous knowledge base surrounding food is largely gone. When “scratch” cooking means actually opening a can, and when church and family reunion potlucks include buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken, you know our culture has suffered a culinary information implosion.

Hyperbole? Here’s what happened during my last weekly trip to the Whole Foods Market in Mountain Brook, Alabama.

Thrifty person that I am, I play every angle imaginable when shopping, as long as there is no compromise on quality. I rarely buy any meat other than chicken at Whole Foods, as our local butcher, Brickyard Meats, regularly has local grass fed beef and local pork. They were mostly wiped out on my last trip, and all I scored was some slices of fresh ham, which I marry-nated in a Saumure Anglais, which I believe means something like “English brine” or “English pickle.” So if I wanted decent beef, it was Whole Foods or bust. I was headed to the wealthiest zip code in Alabama, and one of the wealthiest in the South.

Apparently I exuded a false air of respectability, as I was picking out a good chunk of beef from the Amazon Prime specials display, because a young woman with a small child trailing behind her, decided she wanted to know what I was buying.

MBH (Mountain Brook Housewife): “What is that?” She was wearing a Patagonia down vest, zipped up to her neck, even though it was sixty degrees outside.

ME: “It’s a chuck roast.” I pointed at the label while I answered her.

MBH: “How much is it?”

ME: “This is the regular price, and this is the Prime price.” I pointed at the two signs that displayed the prices in large numbers.

MBH: “Could I make beef stew out of that?”

ME: “It would make excellent beef stew or a roast. I’m making a roast.” That answer was a mistake.

MBH: “Could I cut it up?”

ME: “Yes.” I was mentally debating whether or not I should make a run for it.

MBH: “Will they cut it up for me here?” Apparently she had a knife-less kitchen.

ME: “Probably, if you ask the people down at the meat counter.” Those poor suckers.

She made a bee line down to the meat counter, and as I walked by, a tall woman with a butcher’s apron was explaining to her that they had stew meat already cut up in the meat display. I decided it was a good time to head to the restroom. Later, I peeked at her cart while she was checking out, from a safe distance away. There was no stew meat in it. In fact, it appeared that she had nothing but prepared, processed food in there. I had to feel sorry for the poor kid.

MBH had just confirmed one of the most notorious jokes about a Mountain Brook housewife. What is the best thing they make? Reservations.

Author: southernfusionfood

Writer, Woodworker, and Happy Eater

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