the cantaloupe key test...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

sorry that it has been so long since i updated this blog; it's not that i haven't been in contact with anymore culinary retards, i just haven't had the energy to sit down and write. but this, this was just too good to pass up. this episode happened in the same store that the infamous bread incident happened in. the glorious 'shop 'n' bag' of brigantine, new jersey. i was on a trip to buy onions and garlic for my semi-famous roasted garlic and sundried tomato bisque. i'm walking through the produce section looking for where they hid the whole heads of garlic. (apparently in this town there is not much call for fresh garlic, as it's always hidden and that nasty bottled stuff is everywhere you look! polaner can make me jelly anytime they want, but NOT garlic, thanks anyway.) i got frustrated looking for it and broke down and asked the, and i use this term very loosely, 'produce guy' where i could find it. he gave me a strange look, as if to say 'duh, where else would we keep garlic', it's over by the citrus fruit. silly me, what was i thinking? (in fact i was thinking: what a fucking idiot, i gotta get out of this town.) anyway so i go to the citrus fruit/garlic section of the produce department only to find a woman trying to choose a cantaloupe. the first thing that pops into my mind is: why would you buy cantaloupe in the middle of december - then i remind myself that these people don't know any better. then i'm thinking: this lady is going to be disappointed - no matter how she checks the cantaloupe for ripeness. and finally i think to myself: what kind of microwave environment was that cantaloupe grown in. anyway, let me get back to the 'checking for ripeness' issue; that's where this story get's good (as in entertaining!). in my travels of grocery stores, produce vendors and markets, i've seen people, including proffesionals checking the ripeness of melon in many ways. i've seen sniffing of the skin, molesting of the flesh, knocking for that supposedly 'perfect hollow sound', and in one instance i even watched a guy roll honeydew melons across the floor to see if it wobbled as it rolled. (he said "if it wobbles as it rolls, it means that it's juicy and has a high sugar content!?!?") whatever you say mister. that method seems normal compared to what i watched in the brigantine cantaloupe incident. this old lady is standing there, next to the citrus fruit and garlic, looking for the perfect cantaloupe. she's got a cantaloupe in one hand and her car keys in the other. i grabbed my 5 pounds of garlic and stuck around to watch this new technique. i should have left. if i knew what was about to go down, i would have left. she jabs the melon with her car key, spins it around to make a nice little hole, and then scoops out some of the flesh and tastes it from the end of her key. when it didn't pass her 'test' she put it back on the pile (key hole down of course) and moved on to the next. i watched her stab 5 or 6 melons before she decided on one, put it in her cart and walked away. eventually, she realized that i had watched what she had just done, she looked up at me and all i could do was shake my head and walk away. as i walked away, she said quite loudly "if i'm paying $3.99 for a piece of fruit, i want to make sure it's good!" very unlike me, i didn't say anything, i just continued to walk away shaking my head...



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