Wednesday, November 17, 2021


 "I never eat sushi...I have trouble eating things that are merely unconscious..." -- George Carlin

Trouble a-brewin' in Sodom-on-Hudson?

As stated previously on this page, the Overlord is something of a food "snob". That is to say, he will not eat anything that is packed in a can, a box, or must be poured from a plastic bag, if it can be avoided.

This is not, I assure you, because I'm some sort of high-falutin' douchebag: it is a result of being raised Italian. The only thing that ever came out of a box in our house was pre-made pasta, and that was only because Grandma didn't have time to make the stuff from scratch.

But my real, food-based pet peeve is reserved for vegetables and fruits. I will refuse to eat them if they aren't fresh.

I may have to rethink this proposition, given the evidence of the past few days.

The Overlord goes to the supermarket about every two to three days, mostly to obtain fresh fruit and veggies. I won't eat them if they've been laying around my refrigerator longer, and when it comes to the canned or frozen stuff, the taste and quality is hardly ever up to snuff, in my opinion.

I want to see the stuff I'll be eating. I want to judge it's quality with my own eyes, nose and hands, and if you hold a melon to the side of your head and shake it, ears.

Same with meat.

So, it has been something of a major disappointment these last few weeks -- even given the difficulties of getting really fresh stuff in the colder months -- that the local supermarkets are essentially bereft of anything I would consider fresh, and even, on occasion edible.

It would appear to these eyes that the Supply Chain Problem is beginning to hit home here in Gotham.

Most of the stuff looks as if it sat somewhere for a spell before it even made it to the market.

Potatoes bearing scabs.

Bell Peppers sporting brown rashes.

Spinach with the beginnings of a fine, white mold on it.

Carrots that might be made of Play-Doh, for the lack of crispiness and firmness in them.

And, of course, when you do manage to find something that passes muster, the price is about a third higher than what it would usually be, even for winter.

I find this distressing.

This is why I've started taking a crash course on how to pickle or otherwise preserve my own fruit and veggies. YouTube is a godsend here.

It's also why I've started watching an interesting YouTube series of videos entitled "Great Depression Cooking" which has some marvelous tips on extending your food dollar, as well as some recipes using substitute ingredients that, honestly, never occurred to me before. I highly recommend it.

I have new-found respect for the resourcefulness and ingenuity of the Depression-era cook.

So, this never-ending quest to obtain fresh perishables on a daily basis has led me into some strange places. 

I have checked out stores I normally wouldn't have walked into, once-upon-a-time; little Chinese vegetable stands; the Bodegas of various Latin origin, but I was directed to one of the strangest places I've even been to by Mrs. Overlord's aunt, who hearing about my travails, recommended I go to...

Trader Joes.

I have never, until this morning, been inside a Trader Joes. I've passed by a bunch of 'em, but never set foot into one. Primarily, this is because the sort of person who "swears by" Trader Joes is typically the sort of person I want to smack with a sledgehammer, massive misanthrope that I am.

I have always associated Trader Joes with what I privately call "Fag Food".

Allow me to clarify that for those who are easily offended, because asshole.

I do not mean to use the word as a vilification of the homosexual community, although, come to think of it, a lot of the people who have recommended Trader Joes in the past have been...go figure...homosexual. As I will state, for the 2,387,904th time on this page, the Overlord doesn't care if anyone is gay.

I have my own problems, thank you.

What I mean is to identify a sort of silly, pretentious, smug, fart-sniffing, effete personality, like the surgically-preserved, chemically-animated suburban hausfrau who stocks up on "box wine" there because the excuse of " came from the fancy store" somehow soothes the raging guilt she feels for being a daytime alcoholic.

Or, the newly-upwardly-mobile shitkicker from Dogpatch who finally moved to "the Big City" and stupidly assumes that this either changes or obscures the facts of their origins, or gives them an aura of cosmopolitanism.

Get real: you're a hayseed. You're now just a hayseed with a Manhattan address. You still smell of pigshit and are confused by fireboxes, crosswalks, and the Subway.

Or, worst human beings EVAH!, the dumbfuck, shit-for-brains, parrot who goes around screaming "ORGANIC IS BETTER FOR YOU!" all day long, because if they didn't ascribe to food snobbery, there would be absolutely nothing interesting about them, and you'd probably eventually end up feeding them piece-by-piece to stray cats.

If organic really WAS better for you, Asshole, then why was it that for centuries prior to the 20th people barely lived into their 40's? All they had was organic...everything...and apparently their health wasn't so great compared to today. These days, thanks in part to genetically-modified, heavily-chemically-fertilized and pesticide-drenched food, we're all living to be grossly obese octogenarians.

But, I digress...

So, I walk into the local Trader Joes this morning, there being one not far from the New, Fully-operational Death Star, and was dumbstruck.

First by the smell of the unwashed Salvadorans stocking the shelves (not Mexicans: you can tell from the dialect of Spanish they're screaming at one another), then by the snooty, showy dress of the already-buying-wine-in-bulk-in-order-to-wash-down-the-anti-depressants nouveau riche (nominally-)female half of a mated pair of Staten Island douchebags.

That is to say, the wife of a "City Worker" who probably earns his union-extorted fortune in the sewers or scraping chewing gum off park benches, bedecked in enough gold to make a pharaoh jealous, and all of it ostentatious and lacking in both class and taste, wrapped up against the cold in a "pillow" coat by some second-rate designer she got for half-off at Target or Burlington Coat Factory (wait until I get started on them!), but only because Sears and K-Mart went out of business.

But, finally, we come to what sits upon the shelves, and this is where things start to get weird, at least for me.

Because while you can hardly get good, fresh bananas at the local Shop-Rite, you can get fresh, imported dates here.

While finding decent celery has become something of a futile quest, you can find something that's-not-quite-celery-but-looks-like-it here, so long as you don't mind washing what appears to be feces off it (I'm guessing: I don't know if it is feces, and if it is, who's it might be. Organic, you know) and pay three to four times what you would elsewhere.

Iceberg lettuce? So passe. Here we only sell Romaine (which is fine by me) and Arugula, which is Italian for "feed that to an animal", Raddicchio (Italian for "what? no dandelions?), Endive, which is why Belgium never became a superpower, and, of all things, Chrysanthemum greens (which are potentially poisonous in large quantities).

So, apparently being an overblown food prig means eating stuff that few people really like and which can potentially kill you as a means of transmitting social status.

And even some of this stuff looked as if it was still here because even the racoons turned their noses up at it.

But the store was still full. Somehow. To judge by all the Lexus and BMW Rolling Daycare Centers of Death parked in the lot and presumably driven by the by-virtue-of-liposuction 98-pound, 4' 8", silicone-injected blondes inside buying wine by the vineyard.

As an aside, I was distracted for a few minutes by one of these said blondes buying uppity rabbit food, who was absolutely poured into her skin-tight jeans this morning. These jeans left little to the imagination: she had the shapeliest caboose I've seen for some time, and the pants more-than-adequately accentuated her very shapely legs. Her hefty bosom was peeking out of her faux-fur Donna Karan coat, and I was thinking that for a woman in her late 40's, this was one prime work of art.

And then you realize the jeans also more-than-adequately revealed the seemingly 6" gap between her thighs and were riding up her vagina in the front and the illusion was shattered.

Even the Salvadorans remarked upon it.

But that's not Trader Joe's fault. I'm sure if you like buying and eating what I would turn my nose up at, that's your business, and it's your wallet. If Walnuts and Jarlsberg, Bok Choi and  Goats Milk at fifteen times the regular price is your thing, then go for it.

Great thing about America is that we all have the freedom to choose to be stupid and phony (and no, it isn't "a lack of sophistication" on my part. Before you met Tony the Garbageman, or moved from Mayberry to Marine Park, Elly Mae, you were a high school dropout who was thisclose to having to ride a stripper pole for your daily bread, so climb down off your high horse, Bitch)

I'm digressing, again...

Lately, we're finding a lot of the things we would normally never have an issue obtaining in the local supermarkets are becoming harder to find than an honest democrat or a unicorn.

In the last few weeks, I've had trouble buying the following things (or, they are available, but not looking very fresh or the price skyrocketed):

Gravy Master
Brown Sugar
Corn flour
Assorted spices (however, you can get all the Adobo you want, which is cool)
(non-boxed) Taco shells/tortillas
Green beans
Bell Peppers
Canola Oil (available, but at twice the price, at least)
Spanish onions
Fingerling Potatoes
Grapes (the ones from Argentina are still available, but price is hefty now)
Fresh Fish (the farmed stuff is available at ridiculous prices, and cod is the only really plentiful fish)
Red Cabbage
Dried Lentils
Dried Split peas

In addition, the supermarkets have empty spaces where there used to be products to buy.

COSTCO has been something of a godsend, particularly for meat. COSTCO gets a bad rap for it's meats, but this is unfair, sez me. They  have some really good meat, but I'm noticing that even the COSTCO meat is being put on sale with stickers that indicate the expiration date is only three or four days away.

Normally, we don't have this problem in New York City. But, it appears as if "the supply chain problem" is hitting the food supply, if not with overwhelming force, with enough scarcity to be noticeable. My one-stop-shopping has now become three-or-four-stop-shopping, and the price of gasoline (I paid $3.59 per gallon yesterday, filled up and still somehow used a quarter tank in an afternoon) is making the stops more-expensive, too.

This afternoon, I will be baking bread. I have to dust my baking skills off.

Because I paid $4.59 for a loaf of white bread JUST THIS MORNING.

Joemala need to be frogmarched outta the White House, pronto.


GMay said...

I'm not sure why I take such a perverse glee in hearing the lamentations of the food snobs, but here I am. It's only slightly less satisfying than the screeching of vegans at a corporate outing that wasn't planned around their eating habits.

Here's to you making it to the other side of this living hell!

(Damn you Google for not allowing me the use of strikethrough text, so that I might properly allude to Conan the Barbarian)

Anonymous said...

Mr. Overlord, sir, once again your observation skills are proven to be impeccable, whether it's Spanish dialects, fungus on veggies or the peekaboo effect of labia majora in certain fashion tastes. It really is a pleasure to experience big city living through your accomplished Sicilian keyboard, and in the midst of America's disintegration, to focus on the little annoyances of Obama's third term, rather than the ones which are so vital to our nation's endurance that it crushes the spirit just to engage the cacophony of Marxist insanities. Who would have ever thought the Weathermen and their ilk would be fully ensconced in every hall of power within our federal government? Manhattan isn't Mayberry, but it is refreshing to delve into the lighter side of society's foibles rather than Brandon's latest attack on civil liberties. Here's a thumbs up to your latest outreach, and as always, a blessing upon you and Mrs. Overlord. Thanks for the latest planetary excursion, and by all means, "Let's go Brandon."
P.S. I ate the rest of my Eggplant Parmesan tonight cold out of the refrigerator with a side of cottage cheese.I closed my eyes and pretended it was ricotta cheese to make it seem more authentically Italian.Until next post...

Matthew Noto said...

Cottage cheese?


Matt the Eyetalian said...

Made this a few times. Awesome.

jixey said...

Okay, I may be more of a food snob than you. Let's just get that out of the way. Friends and family say I'm a gourmet chef and I cook almost everything from scratch.

When I moved from Staten Island to western Montana 28 years ago, supermarket olive oil (the yellow one) was all that was available so I order my Sicilian first press olive oil by the gallon -- usually 4 at a time -- and refill my own containers.

Costco meats are the bomb. Having a freezer, and a vacuum sealer, I shop their sales and save a lot. I particularly like their boneless pork chops which I split in 2 or 3, pound to flatten, and use for cutlets.

The only canned foods I use are Cento San Marzano peeled tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste. I shunned Trader Joe's forever until I tried their canned Giant Baked Beans (cannellini) in tomato sauce and their Grecian Style Eggplant with Tomatoes & Onions.

I can't say how the cost compares but I never use canola oil and prefer grape seed oil. It's lighter and has a higher smoke point.

I totally agree with you on the frogmarching.

JB_Honeydew said...

Heh heh...sounds to me like you should learn a little Southern cooking. While I do agree with the sentiment that fresh is better, we Southerners have been dealing with crap ingredients, or lack thereof, for generations now, and by most accounts we have some legendary food down here. Maybe I'm biased. Anyways, best to you in your culinary endeavors and blessings to you and Mrs. Overlord.

Matthew Noto said...


What part of Staten Island Hell did you escape from?

I typically will use canola for frying, preferring to save olive oil for salad dressings and such.

One of my better olive oil traditions (passed down through the Ancients!) is to fill a glass decanter with oil, add some finely-diced onion and garlic, herbs and spices (typically basil or rosemary, I never use them together, though), and let the thing sit on the windowsill in the sunlight all day.

I them use it in place of butter on bread (preferably warm). Never refrigerate it.

I must admit to having never having used grape seed oil. I will have to check it out. Thanks!

Matthew Noto said...


I used to live in Charlotte. I am familiar with Southern cooking and love it...except for grits. I associate hominy corn with livestock, for some reason.

Yeah, I know...I just haven't had YOUR grits yet, and then I'll supposedly love them.

JB_Honeydew said...

Nah, as far as I'm concerned people can dislike whatever they dislike for any reason that twirls their beanie. And grits are ok, but shrimp and grits (NOLA style for my tastebuds) are where it's at.....I guarontee (hat tip to Justin Wilson).

jixey said...

@Matthew Noto

West New Brighton, just below Castleton Avenue.

Matthew Noto said...

No shit?

I went to St. Peter's Boys HS.

Grew up (from about 13 on) in New Dorp.

jixey said...

@Matthew Noto

Ha-ha! Small world.

My husband says I was an "import item". I was born and raised in southern California. Moved to SI when I married, and lived there from December 1979 to December 1994. To say I experienced culture shock is a real understatement, but we had some nice times there too.

Anonymous said...

Re: Canola Oil...if you think Ewe Tube is a blessing...look up Canola Oil and watch how its made. Its digusting and should not be fit for consumption by anyone or thing. Its also 4 percent plastic. Was invented up here in Can-eh-da in 1974 at the University of Manitoba as an alternative to cooking with lard or grease and what a shame. I remember french fries being prepped in lard and they were the bomb...still are. Throw a chunk of margarine onto the sidewalk and wait and seed how long it stays there...the rats wont even touch it...even your New Yawk rats. Margarine comes from canola oil

Matthew Noto said...

One could say the same about hot dogs, but no one stops eating them.

Canola has virtues which should not be dismissed so easily.

For a start, I DESPISE anything cooked in vegetable or corn oil. I find most things cooked in them to be greasy.

Olive oil burns too rapidly for even cooking when frying foods. Sautee is where it's at.

Peanut oil tends to flavor everything it touches.

Canola, on the other hand, adds no additional flavors. It heats rapidly and maintains temperature better. I find I can time anything fried in canola to the second and find it golden brown, not golden-brown-here-and-mottled-everywhere else.

I also find I need less canola to fry the same amount of food that I would with any other oil. It is economical. I almost never need more than two or three tablespoons, even to fry chops. Which is handy, since I usually only fry meats long enough for the coating to crust up and stick and to start the cooking process, but then finish off in the oven, anyway.

Anonymous said...

I wouldnt touch a mass produced hot dog if you paid me...blech...fucking you go to a proper german, polish or uke deli and yeah...ill buy dogs from them cause they been made properly not the shit the ball park frank etc companies offer...anuses lips tongues eyeballs ground up...even a proper italian deli offering of a good mortadella from Italy will outclass a mass produced north american one from the big meat processing companies...mortadella being the original balonie...who knows what crap goes into regular balogna

vegetable oil is fancy name for canola oil....corn oil is poison too. You can get regular olive oil from Costco Canada thats not evoo that has a high smoke temp almost as good as canola but dont dismiss good old lard or rendered bacon fat. Everytime I cook bacon or pancetta, I pour the rendered drippings into a big bowl and save it up in the fridge; every six months it goes into a deep pan and make a mess of french fries in can feel the cholestrol travelling thru your bloodstream to surround the heart..awesome supper. Most any so called healthy oil is disgustingly made and noooo not gonna touch any of 'em....I will use avocado oil to make my mayo and occasionally will use something called safflower oil to cook with...also coconut oil is fantastic to use for popcorn or pancakes

In my kitchen chops are cooked with no oil just a bit of bacon drippings out of the bowl in the fridge...they got enough fat to render to cook further from there..go to ewe tube and look up bistro pepper steak and learn about cooking steaks in a pan if you dont have access to a gas grill or charcoal bbq in the middle of winter ...(pain in the ass to brush off a foot of snow off of my grill middle of february up here in Can-eh-da). Breaded Chops of pork, veal or eggplant I fry in regular olive oil...not the evoo one... or bacon drippings/lard. Evoo olive oil is good for salad and expensive as hell Ask your Nonna what they did at home to cook before the seventies such thing as canola back then.

Anonymous said...

Further: Regular Olive oil...not extra virgin olive oil, evoo...was offered by Gallo in one gallon tins at the Italian grocery stores here up in canada back in the sixties and seventies...not sure if it still time I go to a big city like Toronto Ontario ill go to Little Italy and see what they still offer...I live in a small town three hour drive north of that shithole...and very happy where I am

Canola is a GMO product that is one molecule away from Rapeseed oil which is unfit for human consumption and used in the painting and arson business for thinning paint and starting fires...respectively

Matthew Noto said...

Yes, I know what it (Canola) is, but my point is I like it better than most other oil for a specific purpose (frying).

Just because something is "a GMO" doesn't make it bad for you. Everything you eat has been modified from it's original, "natural" predecessors, the only difference being that what once took years to accomplish with old-fashioned cross-breeding can now be done in a relative jiffy in a laboratory.

Red Delicious Apples, Beefalo and a host of other things did not occur in nature before someone started playing with their genetics, you know. You've been eating "Frankenfood" your entire life.

Call me an idiot, but I kind of like the idea that we can now grow/buy food that has been genetically engineered to require less fertilizer, fewer pesticides, less water, more-resistant to pest or weather, is more nutritious and grown on a smaller footprint with higher yields with less labor. Sounds like a win all around for the human race.

We used to call this "progress".

If I wanted all my food to taste like bacon, I'd eat nothing BUT bacon. But I get your point: I lived in the South for a time, and the saving of bacon grease and the cooking of everything in it is not a strange phenomenon around here.