I have to confess to something…. I ordered from Fresh Direct this weekend. Fresh Direct is an online grocer that delivers food to hungry New Yorkers at all hours of the day and night. Prior to a few months ago I have never ordered groceries online. It’s not that I have anything against it, it’s just that I truly enjoy going to grocery stores. In fact, it’s one of my favorite activities. Instead of being addicted to clothes and shoes, I am addicted to grocery stores and farmers markets. I don’t even necessarily buy anything, I just like being there and browsing. After all, you never know when you might see an amazing looking nectarine or a new brand of yogurt on the shelves!
However, there is a time and place for ordering groceries online. For example, on some days I don’t feel capable of carrying 2 gallons of milk, a pound of apples, cans, paper towels, etc. all the way from the grocery store to my 3rd floor apartment. And going out of town is also a great excuse, right?? This weekend I was in New Jersey for the weekend and knew that I wouldn’t have time to shop for groceries on Sunday afternoon before dinner. So, I planned ahead! I thought that I was being brilliant. Additionally, I was excited because Fresh Direct had a sale on Wild Alaskan King Salmon, which is rarely available and even less frequently affordable. I also bought a few pounds of fresh green beans, some fresh salsa, and organic mesclun greens.
When I arrived home on Sunday I was excited for my groceries to arrive (probably too excited). Everything seemed okay at first, the green beans looked very fresh and the salmon was beautiful. Things quickly unraveled though as I began to prepare for dinner. I new that I was in for a difficult time when I opened my box of couscous and found small wriggling maggots (or something like it) in the box. I was shocked, appalled, and pretty grossed out! I don’t know how they got there, but after some careful inventory of my cupboard I am fairly confident that the bugs were isolated to my couscous. After throwing out the couscous I began to frantically examine my options. I didn’t have time to cook brown rice and I didn’t feel like eating farro. I settled on microwaving some Uncle Ben’s white rice. I followed the directions on the box and added a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of butter. I turned on the microwave for 9 minutes (that seemed like too long) and prayed for something edible. I have never microwaved rice in my life, but it actually turned out incredibly well. In fact, I recommend it when you are short on time.
The next disappointment came when I tasted my cooked green beans. They weren’t bad per say, but not as sweet or delicious as I expected them to be. They had looked so promising, bright green and crunchy. I guess it was just a flavorless batch? The salmon actually turned out quite well, but it also wasn’t the transcendent experience that I had been expecting.
Sometimes cooking is frustrating and difficult, but does that I mean I will throw in the towel? Absolutely not! Even great chefs have their off days and I learn something new in the kitchen every day, regardless of the final product. For example, yesterday I learned two important lessons. First and foremost, always taste a green bean or two before buying a pound (not necessarily easy if you are ordering online). Second, microwaved rice is party darn good!