Wednesday, October 31, 2012

See Food

What's more offensive? The frog legs themselves or the fact that they are a product of China yet the freezer holding them proclaims it contains 'Delectable seafood from Southern Louisiana'! Is there deception afoot or has China purchased Louisiana?

  Almost every Saturday I don’t have a chess tournament, I go on an expedition with Kathy to the Salvation Army Thrift Store, the Goodwill Store, and occasionally the Jonathan House thrift store that benefits an orphanage in Sierra Leone. Kathy looks for Christmas candles to add to her collection (700+ and counting) and I just poke around looking at the old books, movies, and music.

  The merchandise from the Goodwill comes to them in a big truck, but the Jonathon House and Salvation Army take donated merchandise from town and sell it in their stores. Every once in a while one of the stores will have a box of music or books that haven’t been put on their shelves yet. Last week I saw a big box of records at the Jonathon House. They were all country music records from the 1960’s and 1970’s. The first record was a Roy Clark album recorded live from the old Austin City Limits TV show (You may remember Roy Clark as one of the guitar playing jokesters on Hee-Haw) and right behind it were country music records from many of the stars of the time. Once at the Salvation Army I saw an entire box of records of easy listening music. Robert Goulet, Rosemary Clooney, Dean Martin, etc…

  Vinyl records are part of a long-ago past (although they are making a comeback of sorts). These records were likely dropped off by the family of someone who had died or had been committed to a nursing home. I often wonder what the owner of a box of 8-track tapes or records would think of them sitting on sale in a thrift store for pennies on the dollars. I have over a thousand records from my younger days and I can’t imagine giving them away even though I haven’t listened to any of them in at least ten years. Some of my records have collectible value (picture discs, 45 picture sleeves, etc.) and I even have the Rolling Stones album ‘Some Girls’ with the original cover that had to be replaced when they were sued by many of the celebrities who graced the original cover without permission. But the fact is anyone who wants my records probably just has to outlive me and then head to the nearest thrift store a few weeks later.

  In between going to the thrift stores we went to the Hy-Vee grocery store to pick up a birthday cake for Ben, who turned 17 on Saturday. After picking up the cake, we walked through the store and there was a freezer labeled as a ‘Cajun Fest’, containing all sorts of goodies from the Bayou. My curiosity was piqued and I wandered over to the freezer.

  The freezer had all sorts of odd meats. I saw breaded catfish, crawfish, catfish nuggets, alligator, and frog legs. I’m not much of a fish eater. The thought of eating catfish and crawfish doesn’t whet my appetite. The idea of reducing the alligator population appealed to me somewhat, but I didn’t enjoy the alligator dinner I had in July so passed on that. Besides, the alligator patty packages mentioned that the alligators were farm raised and having seen Planet of The Apes, I didn’t want to support the idea of some farm raising all these alligators who may escape and take over the world someday.

  That left the frog legs. Kathy had never seen frog legs in a supermarket meat case before and was completely disgusted by the sight of them. I had a plate of fried frog legs in Syracuse at a chess tournament almost 30 years ago and as I recall, they were fairly tasty. I’m no frog expert, but these looked to be very muscular frogs and the thought crossed my mind that they may have been genetically modified. I felt kind of sorry for the poor frogs. They had obviously grown to a healthy size only to be unceremoniously (Maybe there was a ceremony – I wasn’t there) chopped in half, skinned, and wrapped in plastic as part of a Cajun food display. Despite that, I was still thinking about getting the frog legs but then I saw the three magic words – PRODUCT OF CHINA. That did it for me. I decided to make a stand for truth, justice, and the American Way and passed on the frog legs. Shame on Hy-Vee for pitching Chinese frog legs in a freezer meant to celebrate Cajun foods from Southern Louisiana.

Frostbitten Strawberries!
  After we left the Hy-Vee, we made our way south to the Goodwill store and then headed back home, making our final stop at the Hy-Vee Drug Store. The store used to be called Drug Town, but I think they had to change the name when the new to town drug dealers would head there to restock.

  Not only is the Hy-Vee Drug Store a full service pharmacy, it also has a post office, sells lottery tickets, and sells regular food as well as close out food from the Hy-Vee supermarkets. Last year I wrote about how I got apple juice for $1.16 a gallon and 15 stick packs of Wrigley gum for 44 cents there. Every week when we get to the Hy-Vee Drug store, we walk around the store and I always make sure to see how much frost has accumulated on the ancient containers of frozen strawberries.


  As we walked through the store, there was a big display of Chicken of the Sea Coastal Cuisine at the end of one aisle. It is a box with a sealed pouch of rice and a sealed pouch of Tuna mixed with one of four flavors (Tuna in a Teriyaki Sauce, Tuna in Tomato Herb Sauce, Tuna in a Ginger Sauce, and Tuna in a Light Pineapple Sauce). I’d purchased the Pineapple Sauce variety the week before and not only did it taste good, it only took two minutes to make, and best of all only cost a dollar!

  I love a bargain and at a dollar for each meal of 400 to 500 calories, this certainly qualified. I bought eight boxes of Coastal Cuisine, making sure to get some of every coastal flavor. Even though they are a ‘Product of Thailand’, they’re labeled as ‘Coastal Cuisine’ which at least sounds international and not pretending to be from the Bayou.

You don't have to take my word for how easy Chicken of the Sea Coastal Cuisine tastes or how easy it is to prepare. You can see for yourself!