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Sunday – no rest for the wicked

August 24, 2009

Sunday morning, beautiful and not boiling hot – the perfect day to be outside.  On the heels of my slip up yesterday I should have exercised or done something non-food related on such a day but I have to make some cookies (Bacon Pecan Shortbread – yes, bacon) for friends of a friend who are kind enough to shuttle two rather large boxes of shoes and clothing as their checked baggage on their trip to Amsterdam this next month.  So, instead of something vaguely athletic or outdoorsy, I went to my own personal playground – the grocery store, more specifically my favorite grocery store.

My store of choice is Trader Joe’s.  For those not in the know – Trader Joe’s (or TJ’s for people who like to abbreviate everything and find all of their actions cute – hint, I will never call it TJ’s) is a California based chain of grocery stores with a sort of renegade hippie pirate aesthetic who search for great deals on produce and goods and offer pretty decent deals on beautiful produce, imported cheese, frozen foods and such.  They are mostly known for their offering of a 2 dollar per bottle wine some years ago.  A vintner, Charles Shaw, had what they thought was a pretty crappy crop one year and sold it to Trader Joe’s in bulk – Trader Joe’s was able to offer it for 2 dollars a bottle and it was pretty decent – sparking the phenomenon of “2 Buck Chuck” – over the years the vintner now makes the wine exclusively for Trader Joe’s and now offers it for 3 dollars – it is now pretty crappy wine with an insane cult following.  Tennessee does not sell wine in grocery stores because they are insane bible belt hypocrites – but it is one less thing to tempt me while shopping.

I got there just as it opened – peering in the windows and checking my cell phone for the precise moment it turned to 9am.  Trader Joe’s is like my toy store, really any grocery store guarantees me a good time, but Trader Joe’s is just kind of fun.  They even offer samples – which is always a good time.  It’s sort of a pre shopping amuse bouche, always appreciated.  I was grateful, however that the hippie children setting up the sample area were slow on the uptake with putting out the samples for the day – most likely they would not be vegetarian, no dairy, no sugar or no white flour.  Thank god for slackers.   I made a mental note to always shop when they have just opened – samples ye shall not lead me into temptation.

The prepared food sample area averted I have to say was providence.  Hello god, it’s me, Kristen and while I am not struggling as to whether I should join the Jewish Community Center or the YMCA or how I will navigate the perils of 6th grade I do, however, have a problem.  God, where is the precooked applewood smoked bacon?  Can you help me with that?  Silence, no bacon.

I like the pre-cooked because you can just chop it and add it straight into the mixing bowl -with  no resulting aroma of god’s greatest miracle, the pig and the pig’s greatest accomplishment, its bacon wafting through the condominium.

I have determined god hates me and that he takes this whole day of rest thing rather seriously or, maybe those rumors are true – maybe he doesn’t exist at all.  One thing is for sure – it’s Sunday, I am having a bacon debacle in Aisle 3. If I buy bacon at Trader Joes then I will have to buy the cook it yourself kind.

I just can’t do this so soon after the cupcake licking of yesterday.  I will take a short walk to the legitimate giant grocery – Kroger because I am certain they will have the pre cooked bacon strips.

They don’t have it – just 6 feet of various types and grades of the cook it yourself bacon lie before me.  It is impossible to me that the wall of deli meats would not contain precooked bacon.  It’s such a ludicrous notion – this precooked bacon.

I used to laugh at its very existence – (a) like it’s difficult to cook bacon and (b) why deprive everyone of one of the greatest weekend morning sensory experiences?  The smell of bacon cooking in the morning is a glorious thing.  The precooked bacon is always a bit anemic looking and really not the best quality, it’s thin and over salty.  It’s kind of the worse bacon experience you could have. That’s why Trader Joes’ precooked was such a revelation – it was uncured, applewood smoked, thick cut AND precooked.  Perfect.

I suppose they don’t carry it anymore because the holier than though hippies who run and/or frequent Trader Joes couldn’t get over the precooked bacon’s stigma, it didn’t sell and they discontinued it.  It could be that or they just got a better deal on different bacon, I prefer to think of this as a consipiracy against my successful completion of Sunday shortbread, though.

Pissed off I turn the corner and am greeted with an endcap of precooked, 4 or 5 brands, several varieties.  Hallelujah and praise the pig for he gave unto me his only son, smoked and cured, pre cooked and ready to add to a batch of shortbread.

The unholy trinity of sugar, butter and bacon will be made manifest and then shipped off quickly to Pennsylvania.

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