Saturday, November 12, 2011

Little things mean a lot!

Thanks Mr. B!
A couple of years ago I wrote a post about my dear Mr. B buying me a new vacuum cleaner. Now scoff if you will but I really was sick of the old machine and just didn't want to go and blow any money on a new one. I really did feel just like a bride easing that new vacuum around the house. Thanks again, Mr. B. (Ed. Note: That machine is dying a dusty death right now. Time for a new one I guess.) A vacuum is not what some people might call a great gift but it was something that made my life that much easier and I didn't have to put up with something that "worked" but not really.

The point to this is that there are some products that we have around the house that we use and are marginally happy with but are just "making do". Take aluminum foil. I use it all the time. It is fine for what it's worth but nothing special. Stuff sticks to it, you can't use it on a lasagna because the cheese sticks to it and the tomato sauce's acid interacts with the aluminum foil making it taste metallic. Ugh! So then Reynolds (Wrap) puts out this new foil that is, as my sainted mother used to say, "Slicker'n snot on a doorknob". I LOVE this stuff. I use it all the time now. If you haven't tried it go and buy yourself some. Absolutely nothing sticks to it!

However the age old problem of the sticky, metallic lasagna remains. The cheese won't stick to it but you still need to put a piece of parchment paper between the casserole and the foil to keep it from getting funny-tasting. And what's the point of using the non-stick foil if you're just going to put a piece of parchment between the foil and the casserole?

Well... not any more!!!   Presenting!!!

I know how silly you must think this is but I think it's great! Foil lined with parchment! Genius! We cooks know what a great idea this is. 

Now if they could only make a foil that washes dishes and makes coffee.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Buying a turkey at Stop & Shop... The Nightmare

I usually like to wait a couple of days before writing about problems I have with a business so I can cool off and get a better perspective on things. But not tonight!

This week Stop & Shop has a sale on frozen turkeys ($0.58/pound). If you buy one of these turkeys and present a coupon from the paper last week you also get 200 points for savings on gasoline (200points = $0.20/gallon saving). I am almost out of gas so I was going to use the points to fill up and bring the cost of my turkey from $8.32 to $5.52. I thought that I would like to take advantage of this but because we have a smaller refrigerator with an even smaller freezer I didn't think it would work. The Contessa di Pomodori suggested asking the butcher at Stop & Shop to saw the turkey in half and freeze the halves. This was a great solution as I didn't want to take up a whole shelf of my freezer for weeks until I was going to use an entire bird. 

I headed down to the local Stop & Shop and selected a nice small (14lb) turkey figuring that was about the largest I could accommodate with my freezer and took it to the butcher shop at the market. A kind of slack-jawed youth came out of the butcher shop and told me he could not cut the turkey in half because all of the equipment had been cleaned. He said the butcher shop was only open until 5pm. Thinking he was just being obdurate I went to the "Courtesy" booth and asked the manager what was up with the butcher shop closing at 5 when so many people shop on the way home from work. She said simply ask the youth to "put the turkey aside and do it tomorrow" and pick it later today. I said to the youth that I would like the turkey sawed in half, wrapped individually and kept frozen until I picked it up tonight. 

I arrived at the Stop & Shop tonight to find that the turkey had indeed been cut in half but it was put on a foam meat tray and loosely wrapped in plastic. The turkey was also completely defrosted (meaning it had been left out somewhere for some time) and as it was not tightly wrapped it was leaking turkey juice all over my hands. The guy in the butcher shop tonight said that this was the only turkey that was cut in half and it must be mine. Needless to say I was completely bullshit about this and took the turkey right to the "Courtesy" booth dropped it on the desk and demanded to see the manager. He asked me if I wanted to go through another stop at the market tomorrow and I said to just forget it. Fortunately they had some hand sanitizer at the counter but that turkey was leaking something shocking and it was all over their desk.

I doubt that I will pursue this purchase again but it is a good object lesson. If you need something done at Stop & Shop you need to write everything down, take names, call several times during the day to make sure your instructions are followed. 

All this for an $5.52 turkey!