The kid was spending a rare Friday night at home last night so went to the local strip mall for the Chinese buffet (very good) and then rented a flick. We talked Q into watching The Human Stain which is a pretty good movie based on a very good book by Phillip Roth. The main premise, which I won’t reveal, is a little hard to buy because of casting. Anthony Hopkins, Nicole Kidman and Ed Harris are terrific, but Gary Sinise is pretty wooden as Nathan Zuckermann. Beck and I renewed our argument as to whether Nicole is good looking. I’m on the YES side of that one. She conceded that she looked OK in dark hair, she does look very different, I get a young Grace Slick kind of vibe, but still raises my pulse rate.

I went to the grocery store after work last night to pick up ingredients for a chicken stew with polenta that I had at a friends house a couple of weeks ago. I don’t have a recipe but I think I can pull it off, after all I am a culinary genious.

As I was walking the aisles, it dawned on me that a little saffron would go nicely in the stew. Have you ever purchased saffron? It’s $265 per ounce. Luckily it goes a long way. That’s one expensive herb. I decided not to spend $15 on a miniscule amount.

So now for the polenta. Where would you look for polenta in the grocery store? First I looked where I got it last time, in the organic section, pre made in a plastic tube. None. I looked with the rice, beans, filafal etc. None. I asked a clerk. He called and inquired. They told me to look in the baking section under the nuts. I’m thinking that might have been a little inside joke. All that was there were marshmellows. I finally decided that it just must be made from corn meal and I’d make it myself instead of from a mix. I looked at the recipes on the corn meal box. No polenta recipes. Corn meal mush but not polenta. I knew I could find something on the net and of course I did.

This experience brought up some deep philosophical questions. Is there a difference between corn meal mush and polenta? And what about grits? And what the hell is our govenment going to do about the outrageous cost of saffron. No family should be deprived of the wonderful color and taste that saffron brings to a dish simply because they have to worry about their health care costs. Are there tariffs on saffron? As citizens we should demand to know exactly what’s going on in this crucial culinary market.

Edit: I found Saffron here for $30 an ounce.

7 thoughts on “

  1. I believe that saffron has to be hand-harvested from flowers, and it takes like 75 million flowers to get an ounce. But I could be wrong. I find polenta in the ethnic part of the cold section.

  2. Despite all the ways to sell it, Polenta is simply corn meal. For me it’s always been an ultimate cold weather food. I have a vial of saffron that was a gift from a friend who visited India. I guard it jealously.

  3. ugh, i barely made it through that book.  i thought it suuu-diddly-ucked.  you couldn’t pay me enough to sit through the movie version, even if gary sinise is pretty hot, in that understated middleaged way. 

    mmm, sinise…

  4. grits somehow be different. they’re my one red state vice. I think we should invade Kashmire and get control of the saffron supply. Maybe the “neo-culinarys” in the White House can take care of this.

  5. i imagine there are more than two who read here regularly, you just don’t know it.  🙂

    i don’t even know where to begin with the whole culinary/cooking/saffron/cornmeal deal because i hate to cook.  in fact, i’m allergic to kitchens, pots and pans, dirty dishes, and any utensil related to cooking.

    i need a wife.

    But, I do agree that nicole is a lovely creature.  i prefer men, but, she makes my pulse rise too.


  6. After reading your post I am starving. All I have been eating lately is mac and cheese and PBJ, I need some “real” food. How would you guys like a visiter every night around dinner time? It would be quite a drive to make everyday, but hey- at least I would be eating some quality food!

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